Nintendo loves to bring people together to play games and has strived to achieve this goal since it started developing video games. A particular fascination at one point was wireless communication, as evidenced by its handheld consoles. From trading Pokémon in FireRed and LeafGreen via the wireless adapter on the GameBoy Advance, to Tag mode in games like Nintendogs and The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass on the Nintendo DS, Nintendo has continuously tried to bring players together. without being overloaded by bulky cables.
Nintendo’s love for wireless communication features, however, extended to the Nintendo 3DS. In revealing the console, Nintendo announced that one of the new features is called “Streetpass”. The players who pass other players on the Street could exchange Miis and other information like items or combat shadow versions of each other! Innovative!
StreetPass was a fun time specifically, and looking back, why don’t we have something similar for the Nintendo Switch?
What is Streetpass?
As we mentioned earlier, StreetPass was a system on the Nintendo 3DS that used wireless communication and allowed people passing each other on the street to participate in games together. The star of the show was StreetPass Mii Plaza. Players could swap out their Mii character with a few details, including what game they were currently playing, their country (or state), their hobby, and most importantly, if they were a dog or a cat. Players could collect the Miis they encountered and fill out a small map, listen to music, collect achievements, and play games.
At the start of 3DS life, only two games were available: Puzzle Swap and Find Mii. In Puzzle Swap, players would swap puzzle tiles with the people they passed, collecting tiles for various panels until they formed a dazzling 3D image. Find Mii sees the player’s Mii Streetpass being kidnapped by monsters, and it’s up to the Mii’s found through Streetpass to free your Mii. Armed with swords and magic determined by the color of the shirt they wear, the assembled Miis must defeat the ghosts and mummies to get to the end.
What I liked about these games is that for people like me who lived in areas where few people had a 3DS, you could use game coins earned by walking around with your 3DS to collect random puzzle pieces or summon a dog to fight in Find Mii. This is a cool feature that takes into account that not all 3DS owners live in metropolitan areas like New York or Tokyo.
As the app received updates, Find Mii got a sequel and more and more games came to the app. These titles included a gardening game, a shoot-em-up, a fishing game, a stock trading game and others. These were sold in DLC packs, with the exception of Slot Car Rivals and Market Crashers, where players could claim either of the two games for free. These games had a lot of charm and gave a certain personality to the Miis picked up along the way.
How did the games use Streetpass?
In addition to the titles offered in the Streetpass Mii Plaza app, many games on the Nintendo 3DS offered some form of Streetpass functionality, with some more involved than others. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate made it easier to trade Guild Cards, let you send Palicos to other Hunters, and helped trade Guild Quests. In The Legend of Zelda: A Link between Worlds, players could battle Shadow Link versions of past players, with an incentive to continue through the achievements. Mario Kart 7 allowed players to race against other people’s ghost data, and Nintendogs + Cats allowed players to exchange gifts and Miis.
One of the more attractive games to implement the feature was Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. Players could visit each other’s secret base, as well as hand out the Eon ticket via Streetpass, which allowed others to catch Latias or Latios, depending on their version of the game. In Animal Crossing: New Leaf, players could view other people’s homes in the Happy Home storefront and order selected furniture from those homes. If you meet a player multiple times through Streetpass, they will give you exclusive gifts like balloons and gifts for your player.
These types of inclusive features were the ones I liked the most. Growing up in the Caribbean, I was excluded from all Pokémon event distributions that weren’t sent over Wi-Fi. The Eon ticket distribution meant anyone could access the event as long as they were he knew someone else who had it, and the event would never expire as it was transmitted continuously via wireless communication. The ability to purchase furniture from other people in the Happy Home storefront was great as some of the event items were available for purchase. People even kept rooms full of event items for others to order through Streetpass.
Nintendo also sent special homes from Nintendo employees like the former Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aimé. These distributions meant that even people who hadn’t had a lot of Streetpass could experience the feature, and it was fascinating to see how Nintendo employees decorated their homes.
Would it have worked on the Switch?
As to whether this feature would have worked on the Nintendo Switch, I really think so. After all, the console’s main selling point was the ability to take console games on the go, with the Nintendo Switch Lite being exclusively portable. While not as small as the 3DS family of systems, it is still small enough to be carried in a bag, so portability obviously wouldn’t be a deterrent. People take their Switch everywhere, including busy places like train stations and airports. With a large catalog of great games, Streetpass would have been the perfect match.
The Switch also has wireless communication, and it has been used. When I attended Gamescom in 2018, people brought both their Nintendo Switch to register and win prizes as well as their Nintendo 3DS systems, simply because conventions were the best way to get tags. and seeing people from all walks of life come together on your portable console was so heartwarming.
I think similar Streetpass implementations could have been incorporated into Switch games. In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, players might be able to view houses like in New Leaf, or collect Nintendo-themed items via fortune cookies. In the sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, players might be able to leave messages and tips for others to read, much like the messages left by Dark Souls players. Of course, you can opt out if you want to go in completely blind, but that might be something to think about.
Players could leave messages and tips for others to read, much like messages left by players in Dark Souls.
I would have loved to see the feature used in Pokémon Sword and Shield, where players could send a Pokémon to help people in raids. It could certainly help turn the tide of the battle, and we wouldn’t be with default players like Martin and his useless Solrock if we tried to do a solo raid. In Monster Hunter Rise, Streetpass could have been implemented by sending Palicoes and Palamutes to retrieve items, perhaps even rarer than those obtained through Argosy or Meowcenaries.
Will the feature ever arrive on the Nintendo Switch? I doubt. But the 3DS ended up receiving substantial updates and content like Miiverse relatively late in its life, so who has a say? With the sales quality of the Nintendo Switch family of systems, Nintendo could certainly take advantage of the large setup base to facilitate an even greater sense of community.
What were your favorite Streetpass games on 3DS? Let us know in the comments!
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