My Favourite Nintendo 3DS Feature: StreetPass

I bought my Nintendo 3DS in late 2011 for two reasons. One, Nintendo had recently dropped the price in North America from $249 to $169, which made my wallet happy. The second was that games were on their way, including Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7. If there was a time to get into bed with the 3DS, here it was.

What I discovered with the 3DS was a neat feature that I really had no idea about previously. Although it didn’t click right away, I soon figured out that the 3DS’s StreetPass feature is key to enjoying your time with the system.

If you don’t own a 3DS by now, or haven’t quite gotten the hang of StreetPass, I’m more than happy to lay down the basics for you.

How To StreetPass Effectively:

First off, grab your 3DS – examine it carefully, making sure that it is indeed a Nintendo 3DS (or 3DS XL, or 2DS). You’ve probably already got your own personalized Mii on the system, so that’s good – they’ll be your representative for the StreetPass Mii Plaza.

A look at my Mii Plaza - my Mii is the one whose wonderful Tingle hat is the only thing you can see.

A look at my Mii Plaza – my Mii is the one whose wonderful Tingle hat is the only thing you can see. Yes, there’s a Tingle Hat.

Anyways, take your 3DS and turn it on – now, you can put it back into Sleep Mode by closing the cover. Stick it in your pocket, your purse or backpack – somewhere safe that you can carry it around in all day. To use StreetPass properly, you’re going to need your 3DS with you wherever you go.

Every time you pass by someone else doing the same as you, your systems will communicate and share data, including your Mii and information from games that are compatible with StreetPass. For example, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds uses StreetPass to present players with Shadow Links – computer controlled representations of a player’s Link from their own individual game.

After the StreetPass occurs, these Shadow Links can be found in your A Link Between Worlds game, and can be battled to earn extra rupees. Despite being a single-player game, Nintendo encourages interaction between players, even if they’re not directly aware of the interaction right away.

The biggest way to StreetPass successfully is to treat your handheld system like a handheld system. Don’t just play it at home – take it on the bus, the subway, or wherever you can manage. You don’t even have to be playing a game, you just need to have it in Sleep Mode to interact with other 3DS users.

If you live in a small town, StreetPass does have its limits – you’ll likely be forced to StreetPass exclusively with people you know who have a 3DS. Make sure you set up a proper network and coordinate – things like your Mii’s shirt colour are important when using StreetPass. You and your friends will be counting on each other.

And if you happen to know where special hotspots known as Nintendo Zones are, they are set up to act as relay points for StreetPass and can really help you get passes if you’re able to locate them.

But if you’re lucky enough to live in a decent sized city, you shouldn’t have to worry. And if you have the luxury of going to any sort of gaming or anime conventions, you should be able to rack up a ton of passes. Now that you’re well versed on how, let’s move on to…

Why You Should Be Using StreetPass:

Even if you’re not a social person, and trust me, I’m not much of a social person, you should be taking advantage of StreetPass. It’s simple to use, so I’m going to assume you’ve got your 3DS stuffed in your pocket now. That’s good, but why am I so adamant about this feature?

Let’s talk about the games that run off StreetPass. They’re tucked into the StreetPass Mii Plaza, which you’ll be heading to whenever you’ve collected a StreetPass. You can have up to ten at a time, although your system can store more – you can only meet ten other 3DS users in one go. After exchanging greetings and such, you’ll be in the plaza, ready to interact with them.

Initially, the 3DS had two simple games to play using those you’ve met via StreetPass. We’ve talked before about the importance of mobile games – all of Nintendo’s StreetPass games feel like the closest thing we’ll get to Nintendo making mobile games. One is a puzzle game where you collect pieces from people you meet and complete puzzles related to other Nintendo games. It’s very simple, but I found myself obsessing over finishing panels.

The second game is Find Mii, which is a basic RPG where shirt colours determine what magic a character can use. In addition, the more you meet a specific person, the stronger they become, helping you defeat tougher enemies. Find Mii eventually opens up into its sequel, where combination moves and split paths will add to the fun.

Success in these games is based on who you’re coming across day to day. It’s such a simple concept – Nintendo is rewarding you for simply taking your 3DS with you. Rather than offer something complicated, Nintendo kept the games associated with StreetPass simple.

Then, in July 2013, Nintendo upped the ante considerably by releasing four new StreetPass games as downloadable content. After a year and a half of using StreetPass and loving it, Nintendo had managed to give me more reason to use the feature. These new games try out some interesting ideas, like a 2D shooter, or a haunted mansion game (my personal favourite). The games are very close to a free to play model, something we’ve discussed in regards to Nintendo in the past.

Monster Manor mixes dungeon crawling with RPG style battles and some puzzle elements.

Monster Manor mixes dungeon crawling with RPG style battles and some puzzle elements.

StreetPass is great for covering the lulls in your gaming life. It doesn’t take a lot of time to check your Mii Plaza and play the various games, even if you have the four extra games downloaded (and you should, they’re all fun). And with various hats and special outfits to collect by finishing objectives within these games, you can customize your Mii to suit your mood.

So, get out there and start using StreetPass. In my eyes, it’s a key to enjoying your 3DS and getting the most out of it.

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  1. RogueWatson

    StreetPass is fantastic, and pretty much the main motivation my wife can use to get me to go grocery shopping. I never thought much of it until I figured out the Nintendo Zone thing, now I make sure to swing by those certain areas around me whenever I can and pick up half a dozen Miis in one outing.

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