Just recently we brought you an interview with StreetPass Liverpool's Anthony Boyd, to learn a little more about how these events and groups come together to share a passion for 3DS. Now we have a guide from James Parker, who created and runs the StreetPass Metro Detroit group along with other keen gamers.
Shortly after the launch of the Nintendo 3DS, a number of small communities began sprouting up all over the world with the intention of promoting the new console’s social functionality — StreetPass. Despite their lack of affiliation with the gaming giant, these meet ups took off in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and London, no doubt attributed to their dense populations per block. StreetPass features and games work great in major cities, but this posed a problem for people living outside of these locations; StreetPass hits in the wild are just too few and far between.
Feeling left out of the excitement and wanting to build a community of 3DS owners in my town, I decided to be proactive and see exactly what it took to create a community like the one in New York. What I learned can help anyone make their own StreetPass events, and the basics are straightforward and, frankly, quite simple.
Find a Team!
Creating a team to tackle this project will help make things run smoothly. While you could do everything yourself, working alone creates unnecessary amounts of effort and stress and it leaves a lot of room for mistakes. Finding a few people who share your passion for the 3DS and all of its gaming glory will not only make planning the events easier, but can also create a mini StreetPass event every time you meet. Your team may consist of as many members as you desire, but make sure to keep your team as efficient and on task as possible. Your goal is to have fun, but it’s important to recruit people you who you know can be productive.
Location, Location, & Location
Everyone always hears about the location cliché, but it is true nonetheless. You and your team have to decide on a suitable location to hold these meet ups! Venues are everywhere; you just have to know what you are looking for. Seeing as the 3DS is a portable system, you can play it anywhere, creating near-limitless options. When considering your location, take into account the weather, the distance, its operating hours, and whether or not it has loitering policies.
For my first event, I held it at an outdoor mall. I talked to the security desk just to double check if having 20 or more kids in the middle of their plaza would be acceptable. They thanked me for my courtesy, and said that it was not a problem as long as we didn’t impede the shopping of customers. After that first event, I talked to my local library about utilizing their auditorium. The auditorium housed a projector, making it easy for me to hook up my Wii U, allowing guests from the library to join in on the fun even if they didn’t have a 3DS with them! Different venues allow for different set ups, take that into account when deciding where to host your next event!
Date & Time
I wish I could attend an event at the drop of a hat, but not everyone has the flexibility to do that. Giving your attendees a lengthy period of time prior to the event will allow them to take the time off work, or schedule their daily routine around it. Take into account that the majority of people who want to attend will do their best to move their schedules around, but they can only do this with prior notice.
As the brains behind your own event, you must show you are willing to work for this community. Organizing your schedule and planning out work for multiple future events at a time will make it easier in the long run, giving your team much needed time to plan each event in its entirety. Also, making the event worth the drive for some of the attendees is equally important. Driving an hour to a meet up might not be worth it for some people, so it’s important to take your attendees’ perspective into account.
Get People Involved
During the first few events I held, my team and I noticed something disheartening; people tended to stay in their cliques and remain with the people who they showed up with. While this is understandable as it’s not always comfortable to talk to new people, the purpose of these events is to be social! Nintendo is, and will be for the foreseeable future, all about local multiplayer and promoting real life interaction between its dedicated fans; social interaction is a primary feature of the 3DS and is the heart and soul of StreetPass events.
Because of this, it’s important to welcome newcomers with open arms and big smiles! Whether they’re visiting from off the streets or from friendly referrals of regular attendees, you want to make a good impression on first-time visitors. By leading an event like this, you are somewhat of a liaison to the Nintendo fan base, and we all want to look good. Try to break through those social barriers and bring your community closer together.
Rinse & Repeat Steps 2-4
There you have it, the basics of what it takes to run your very own StreetPass event. As stated in the beginning, it is very simple and very straightforward. Once you get the basics down, adding a bit of flare to your events will keep people coming back. Some suggestions include but are not limited to:
- Food & Drink: Food and drinks at your events can make the longer meet ups more appealing. However, providing refreshments for larger crowds can be costly, so try not to let your wallet take the full strain and see if people will pitch in. If not, try to host your events near a food establishment. That way, people don’t have leave your event or at least wander off too far if they become hungry.
- Partnership: This could be through your local Nintendo representative, or establishments in your area. If you can amass a group of people, a business like Dave & Busters, or any other arcade, is a great place to hold a StreetPass event because it is likely people will stay and play games or purchase food. It’s always beneficial for everyone involved if you can form a partnership with a business that shares a common goal.
- Resources: I personally work at a popular game retailer, and during my shifts when it gets slow, I talk up my StreetPass events to customers and co-workers. Go to your local games retailer and try to get them involved; it’s more likely than not they are 3DS owners themselves. However, do not badger people into learning about your events. There is a fine line to walk here and you don’t end up being that creepy person!
- Tournaments: Mario Kart 7, Pokémon X & Y, Super Smash Bros, and some other titles are games that are built for competitive play! This is a prime opportunity to host your very own tournament. Pay-to-play or free-to-play, its up to you how you want to set it up, and the prize pool can be something as silly as a set of trophies you make or eShop games on the cheap! Hosting tournaments promotes healthy competition and keeps things lively.
- It Doesn't Always Have To Be About The StreetPass: You can set up a meet for
any reason anywhere! Take the group to a local museum and pal around there, go to a local charity event, or just hang around the zoo! You are bound to get StreetPasses, but the end goal of everything is to strengthen the community you are in and establish new relationships that are based on friendship. That is the heart of the StreetPass Community and if you lose sight of that, the whole thing falls apart!
- Have a Website/Social Network Page Dedicated To Keeping the Community Informed: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, and Google+ are just a few social networking sites at your disposal. These are a great way to keep everyone up to date with the community and what’s going on. The best part about most social media sites is that they are free to use! If you want to dedicate a website to your community, more power to you, but the sites listed are more than enough to provide what you need and are easily accessible by everyone.
- Be safe: This is a brief but important one. If you are young, make sure you have supervising adults to help you. That goes for attending groups too, make friends with the same common sense that you'd normally show.
As stated several times, it is fairly simple setting up your own personal StreetPass community – you just have to have a vision and some help to get it off the ground. Create your own personal rendition of the StreetPass events, gather some people to kick it off, and make them known far and wide.
I would like nothing more than if a multitude of new communities started popping up. In my opinion, everyone who has a 3DS should strive to make something like this happen in his or her area. Sadly, we do not all live in Japan or New York, where walking around a populated area is a daily occurrence, so having days dedicated to StreetPass is a great way to utilize this unique feature of the 3DS.