News Article

Swapnote Could Have Been Released on DSiWare

Posted by James Newton

Development detailed

Popular 3DS app Nintendo Letter Box (aka Swapnote) could have been the light of day on DSi, a new Iwata Asks reveals.

Members of the development team reveal the game was originally in the works as DSiWare and had entered the debug phase at the tail-end of 2009, but several limitations imposed by the console's firmware held it back, as director Daiji Imai from Nintendo's Network Business Department explains:

Even then, it was shaping up quite nicely. But it had a few weaknesses. For example, the Nintendo DSi system itself didn't have the Friend List 7, so we put that function into the software. But you could only register 18 friends. Another big weakness was that you had to manually access the server all the time to check whether you have received a diary from others or not. It was unavoidable that sometimes you would think, "Did it come in? Argh! It didn't!"

Programmer Satoshi Takenouchi also revealed that originally the application had more colours and levels of 3D, but these were removed to streamline the software:

We tried various kinds of 3D representation and multiple color pens. If you do that, though, the controls get complicated and it turns into software only for those with artistic skills. So I carefully selected what functions to include and placed emphasis on something that anyone could write easily, send right away, and use comfortably. As a result, I feel like it turned out to be something that many people can use.

Nintendo president Satoru Iwata is a big fan too:

You can exchange Play Coins for stationery. I've never felt so strongly before that I don't have enough Play Coins!

Not such a fan of walking, though.

[via iwataasks.nintendo.com]

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User Comments (20)

dizzy_boy

#2

dizzy_boy said:

i don`t really see why letter box needed so many winter themed backgrounds, but i do hope they add a few nintendo themed ones in with the update being planned.
and you don`t need to be very artistic but a few extra coulored pens would be nice, just to give the option of filling in any silly doodles that you might send.

Weavius

#4

Weavius said:

I'm glad it made it to 3DS. DSi had too many limitations to properly use all Swapnote features.

motang

#5

motang said:

They can still do it, there are million of DSi out there, and it would good to have swap note on it.

DarkEdi

#6

DarkEdi said:

I´m glad it is for 3DS it has a lot of better options. I hope a new update of swapnote (or "pasacartas" in spanish).

LordTendoboy

#8

LordTendoboy said:

@motang

Nintendo wants people to buy their new platforms, so they are slowing down game development for the older DS systems.

Thwiidscube

#9

Thwiidscube said:

Well, I'm glad it's for the 3DS. I don't think it would've looked as good on the DSi...

Dodger

#11

Dodger said:

I don't get why color options would be so complex. Heck, even red, black and blue would be OK like in flipnote studio.

It needs a lot of things still but it is a fun app.

And the play coins thing was pointless. I had 300 because I had nothing to spend them on and so I got all the stationary in one day.

Capt_N

#14

Capt_N said:

Oh wow! I'm glad they did that. My original DS(before I sold it) could not get online, w/ my particular router. Edit: Did the DSi have less trouble w/ getting online? I know the original DS was fussy about certain router hardware brands.

@LordTendoboy: #8 Nintendo could silently include in the Swapnote/Letterbox update code to make it @ least partially function on DSi hardware. I don't own one myself, but I can definitely sympathize w/ the concept of up-to-a-degree still supporting still-in-use/popular last-gen hardware in this case. However, you're correct, & Nintendo probably won't tweak Swapnote for DSi owners.

StarDust4Ever

#16

StarDust4Ever said:

What's really sad was that Flipnote Studio was never updated for 3DS, yet the eShop even featured video previews of previous Flipnote winners, to which current 3DS owners have no access to. Talk about a slap in the face! I seriously doubt the original DSi app would have had any trouble running on 3DS. Quite frankly, Flipnote should be made available in the eShop, irregardless of whether it runs as natively in DSi or 3DS mode.

RaylaxStaff

#17

Raylax said:

Lol; totally agree with Iwata about not having enough Play Coins. Letter Box (Swapnote), Streetpass Quest 2 (Find Mii 2), Puzzle Swap, Sonic Generations missions... so many things, so few coins D:

brandonbwii

#19

brandonbwii said:

This explains a lot when it comes to the limited options of the app actually.

@17
Try playing Shinobi. Like Sonic you spend coins on missions except the quantity is twenty instead of five.

3DSx6iRL

#20

3DSx6iRL said:

Anyone ever get a note on Swap Note that says you can open it until the specified date ? I just got one today but where's the specified date that says when I can open it ??

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