Commentary
12:30 pm
Thu May 8, 2014

'StreetPass' Boosts Social Gaming

Credit Fletcher Powell / KMUW

I play games on my Nintendo 3DS pretty often. Some games are better suited to portable systems, and the 3DS has a few features completely unique to it.

Maybe my favorite of these is called StreetPass. When your 3DS is off, in your pocket or backpack or wherever, it periodically sends out a ping using its wireless radio. If there is another 3DS in range, it will receive that ping, the two systems will exchange data, and a little green light on the top of the 3DS will light up to tell me I’ve StreetPassed with someone.

Once the 3DS receives the other player’s information, you’ll be able to meet the other player’s avatar, and he or she tells you where they are from and how many times you’ve met. Once you’ve met them, you’ll be able to play a few short games with them. Puzzle Swap lets you share puzzle pieces with others to form 3D pictures from both old and upcoming Nintendo games, while the game Find Mii allows you to gather together heroes you’ve StreetPassed with to battle monsters and ghosts. The more times you’ve StreetPassed with someone, the stronger their avatar becomes.

Many retail games have StreetPass functions of their own, as well. In Mario Kart, you’ll get to race against your friend’s best times around a track. With Animal Crossing, you’ll be able to explore the houses of people you exchange data with. If you StreetPass with someone else who has played The Sims, they will show up as new neighbors in your town.

With very little pedestrian traffic here in Wichita, I don’t get many StreetPasses because I’m just not around people with 3DSs very often. But when I travel, whether I’m walking through airports, on the L in Chicago, or on the Shinkansen in Japan, I’m always sure that before long, I’ll see that green light blink at me again.