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.