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3DS's StreetPass Communication Feature is Tag Mode Done Right

Posted by James Newton

Smart, fast and actually useful

The DS's Tag Mode is an under-used feature of the hardware, with very few games getting the most out of it. That hasn't deterred Nintendo from making it a bigger feature of its upcoming 3DS however, with the StreetPass system taking games social.

It's not just the 3D screen that is 3DS's big revolution: Nintendo is pitching it as a new playstyle, called "Carry Around, Affect Each Other and Something New Every Day." It might be wordy, but it sure is deep.

This video shows the StreetPass system in action, with the systems interacting with each other simply by passing by. What's crucially different about the 3DS StreetPass System compared to its Tag Mode origins is you do not need specific software running to activate it: it's built into the console, which means information about several games can be exchanged automatically no matter what game is in the console.

The video shows Super Street Fighter IV players engaging in a battle without their consoles even being open: the game features a "figurine battle", whereby players can select a team of figures to fight other users they meet using StreetPass.

Loading up the Notification Applet shows users what information has been exchanged, from games to user information. Mii characters make the jump across to 3DS and now act as pseudo profiles: you can check out friends' most recently played games, for example, and see how long it's been since you last interacted. An external indicator light shows when new data has been downloaded from other 3DS users, with the Notification Applet meaning there's no need to load up individual software to see what's new: it'll all be listed seemingly executable, where appropriate, from within the applet.

Nintendo's strategy of "Carry Around, Affect Each Other and Something New Every Day" isn't just an attempt to create bonds between its users: it could potentially answer the age-old question of "how does the company market a 3D console you must see with your own eyes?" If every 3DS owner commits to carrying the console around with them in a permanent Sleep Mode, Nintendo could potentially have its own dedicated street team of gamers ready to show off the console at a moment's notice, and that is a very powerful marketing tool indeed.


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User Comments (29)



Token_Girl said:

Very cool. Will it interact with everyone or only people you've registered as friends (which will hopefully be a simple process involving only 1 friendcode, a username, and/or "tagging" each other in real life.

I don't really want to interact with just everyone, but on the off chance my real life friends get into this too, that'd be cool.



James said:

By the looks of it it'll interact with everyone but knowing Nintendo there'll also be variable privacy settings



RyuZebian said:

Isn't the fact that it has a 3D screen more important? But yes, this could be interesting. Although I ALWAYS show of my Nintendo device anyway! xD It's a great way to start a conversation, either with a gamer or non-gamer: The gamer goes "Wow, you play 3DS? I do too/I wish I did. What games do you have? What are you playing now???" etc. The non-gamer will go "WHAT IS THAT?! And why does it feel like it's moving towards me?" And I go "To answer both of your questions: It's magic. NINTENDO MAGIC."



LordJumpMad said:

Nintendo's Tag mode, been around since the Game boy color.

And they still havn't gave up, on the idea. but this time it alot better. just look at Super Street Fighter 4



Robo-goose said:

I have a ton of ideas swirling around my head that would make amazing use of this. Knowing Nintendo, they probably already integrated most of them.



SuperMarioFan96 said:

So, just to clarify, will the 3DS have somewhat of an "always-on" sleep mode thing as opposed to literally "turning off"? If it doesn't, then does the system need to be on to transfer data? (If the answer to the first question is yes, the second question does not apply).



motang said:

Love the concept of how SSF IV is going to use it, hopefully DoA game will do the same.



James said:

@SuperMarioFan96 It does have on/off modes but it's meant to be kept in Sleep Mode all the time, really. If you want it switched off completely, it won't transfer any data; if you leave it in Sleep Mode, it will.



V8_Ninja said:

My only concern would be if it drains too much battery power. I personally prefer to play games both ways from work instead of just one way.



Delso said:

Dang, Technology, it seems as just last year I was playing the old super street fighter for the SNES! Cant wait



Punny said:

It seems like only yesterday that we got wireless play! Now it's getting way more advanced. They grow up so fast...



PSICOffee said:

Hopefully its more than 3ft away from you when you are in StreetPass. Not everyone in the world lives in a small Japanese apartment, or is crammed into an overstuffed train of an extra 100 people by attendants wearing white gloves, or even walks in crowded streets (unless you're NY) as they'd prefer to drive (hopefully it works with driving). For school this would work I guess, but what about everyone else who doesn't go to school? I guess they could leave their system on in their pocket and hope some customers come in with a system while they work (ala that pocket pokemon thingy). I just don't want this to be as lame as Picto-chat, where you'd never find anyone using it, unless it was with a sibling or with a friend drawing obscenities.



GamesX99 said:

Awesome! But to bad where i live the 3DS wont come to stores probably so ill be the only one with one



Iggy said:

I really like this feature i wonder what it would do to games that you are playing. Like sharing items with other players or getting friend codes from ppl to play with later. All these articles are getting me super psyched for 3DS.



ToastyYogurt said:

Sweet. Hopefully at least a few of my friends and the people around me get a 3DS so I can get some data. Oh, and this is the BEST NEWSDAY EVAH!



IronMan28 said:

Hopefully this is integrated in a way that makes it unobtrusive and will factor into online play. Having Miis imported onto your 3DS friends list without having to deal with friend codes could be pretty cool.



jaw51 said:

I am so excited for this!!!! With this, virtual handheld, and the new "augmented reality" feature the 3DS is going to be awesome!



mjc0961 said:

"The DS's Tag Mode is an under-used feature of the hardware,"

I'd have to say that you're right, because my first thought was "What the &#^@ is tag mode?" I tried to search it on Wikipedia and it's not even mentioned in the DS article. And going to Google just brings up boatloads of articles about the 3DS's feature, like this one here.



James said:

@mjc0961 Tag Mode only works with certain games, like Animal Crossing and Dragon Quest IX. You need to activate it, put your DS to sleep and carry it around with you in the hope that someone else has done the same. Here you don't even need a specific game - just close your 3DS and it should do the rest.

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