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Now Presenting: The Nintendo 3DS: A Walk On The Surreal Side
Editorial by 
January 15, 2011, 19:14:46
It's morning. Just after sunrise, and with the cusp of dawn still permeating your eyelids, you arise from your sub-conscience with glee as your little brother awakes you with hopeful news. As anticipated, new data from Nintendo has arrived on your loyal companion, Nintendo 3DS! What could it be? You decide to find out. You open the 3DS...only to gaze at the clock and realize that you need to be on your way out the door! You CANNOT miss this 'appointment'...

...45 minutes later...

... [Unidentified Man] "Oh, heh, there you are! What took you so long? I was just about to leave..."

[You] "Man, I completely overslept. I was playing online last night and ended up dozing off in the middle of the night."

[Unidentified Man] "Oh yeah? Sounds like good times...So did you bring your 3DS?"

[You] "Of course, Jim." Why else would I be taking the scenic route just to meet you here?"

[Jim] "Right, right. So how many coins do you think you've earned so far?"

[You] "I dunno, let's find out...HOLY SHIT, 1302 coins! I think that should be enough to unlock about 12 costumes!...wait, wait, I got a message...Oh wow, it looks like I encountered about 3 people on my way over here."

[Jim] "Really?! Awesome! Let's check their stats."

[You] "We can check them later. Right now I want to see what Nintendo sent me."

[Jim] "Oh, so, you haven't checked yet?"

[You] "Nope, let's see...OMFG!!! Are they serious?!! 3D Video recording!!!!! Like, right now, I can record 3D videos!!"

[Jim] "I know!! This is insane. Let's try it out now..."

The above is a glimpse of the impact that the innovative Streetpass and Spotpass features can have; how blurring the lines between real and virtual universes can positively affect both realms, and how Nintendo is increasingly making entertainment an integral part of our everyday lives. It's almost unthinkable that a game company can be so avant-garde with respect to entertainment products, but that evidence is undeniable.

What I find most interesting about features like Streetpass is that it solves many problems at once. Something called a 'good idea' according to the philosophy of Miyamoto. It encourages people to be more active, it increasing the chances of estranged users sharing information with each other, and most importantly, it keeps gamers in an 'active' gaming state.

Many gamers experience 'lulls', burn-outs, etc. through-out their gaming life. When you have something like Streetpass, it could reinvigorate your interest in a game that you may have previously tired of. Ultimately, it's giant step towards Nintendo's goal of making everyone an 'active' gamer and I think they're that much closer towards achieving that goal, thanks to the Nintendo 3DS.

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Posted: 01/15/11, 19:14:46  - Edited by 
 on: 01/15/11, 20:21:28    
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Interesting, about keeping gamers actively gaming.

It all hinges on people actually carrying around their 3DSes, though, and while that works for the Japanese with long commutes in train who of course will carry it (what else are they gonna do?), over here the chance of trading game data with others may not be enough of an incentive, no? Maybe for us hardcore fanboys, but for people in general?

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/11, 19:35:33
If I had incentive to bring my DS around with me when not playing it, such as the pedometer function and the Street Pass, I would. I look forward to this feature even living in the suburbs. They should pre-load the system with an addictive game that everyone can enjoy on the road, like a Tetris or something, that way people from the start will be inclined to keep it with them. Perhaps that's the point of the pedometer thing.

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/11, 19:49:59

Oh, perhaps I wasn't clear on that.

In case you didn't get the reference in the dialog, I was talking about the pedometer functionality, as the coins you earn from it can be used to unlock game content. I believe that will be pretty good motivation to bring your 3DS with. I probably should have emphasized that in my conclusion.

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/11, 20:03:47  - Edited by 
 on: 01/15/11, 20:05:09
As I have said before, it's going to be very interesting to me seeing the ways people come up with to simulate walking so they can unlock coins without having to actually go walking. But that'll be a diehard minority, the pedometer will be a pretty functional stimulant for everyone else.

Honestly my big thing about carrying stuff with me though is that I feel like any time I bring anything with me, there is a huge chance that I break it. I'm clumsy. So I can't see carrying around a $250? dollar product of mine regularly. But it's a neat feature nonetheless, and could be very interesting for certain big, gamer-friendly events.

I still think Nintendo needs to bring back Cube Club! (Except with a new name... and Wii Club sounds kind of bad.) Nintendo is all about the local, social gaming now, so why not provide a space for it while also also having a space to showcase 3D etc. games that are tough to show off through TV and Internet ads? Win win!

Bring back Cube Club Nintendo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/11, 20:08:36  - Edited by 
 on: 01/15/11, 20:10:32

I've never heard of the Cube Club. What was that?

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/11, 20:12:43
I do think it's a great idea, but I don't know if it's going to work as well in NA as it would in Japan. It may be a regular thing to carry around your handheld system of choice in Japan wherever you go, but I don't think it's that way in NA so much. Plus, Japan has way more population density than NA does so it would be easier for your 3DS to communicate with other systems. Maybe I'm wrong though. I hope I am. I'm looking forward to trying this out though.

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/11, 20:22:39
I am one of those guys who brings his DS literally everywhere, so I'll be doing the same for my 3DS. I'm glad Nintendo is implementing incentive for others to do likewise! I think you're right, casper. This type of forward thinking is going to merge/blend gaming and lifestyle in an excellent way. The Wii already got the ball rolling with Wii Fit, and the 3DS seems to be built around this line of thinking.

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/11, 20:43:07
@DrFinkelstein Back in the Gamecube era Nintendo would hold live events showcasing a lot of their games, both released games and yet to be released games. I'm assuming across the country, although I only knew about the Chicago area one. I only caught the last year they did it, 2002, but it was an epic year. Went with my brother (I think?) and cousins and got to play Metroid Prime, Wind Waker, and Resident Evil 0 before they released, among others. Entered a Mario Party 4 competition too.

The Metroid Prime demo was the entire first space station area. I played through it twice. I was freaking SOLD.

And they gave out swag. SWAG. Well, mostly just free Snapple, but whatever. SWAG.

I'm not sure why Nintendo doesn't do this kind of thing anymore, especially with their newer platforms being stuff that it helps to play hands on to understand, and their attempt to expand their market.

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/11, 20:47:57
I'll give credit where credit is due. Street pass is a good step forward. Still, Nintendo needs to significantly improve its online department, it's like a decade behind in terms of infrastructure.

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/11, 20:47:59  - Edited by 
 on: 01/15/11, 20:48:29

Ha, gotcha. I'm still not convinced in-game rewards for using the pedometer would convince gamers on "lulls" to pick up their handheld when they go out. If at the moment you don't really care about video games, you are probably not going to care about unlocking stuff in them.

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/11, 21:06:46

Good point.

However, the 3DS does have multi-purpose functions and software. Perhaps the user might still be using other software on the system.

The great thing about Streetpass is that it makes several exchanges of data simultaneously. So even though you're carrying your 3DS around for one reason, you may end up being rewarded for another reason.

For instance, you may be carrying your 3DS with you to unlock some content for Nintendogs + Cats, but while you're walking, you come across someone with a 3DS and DragonQuest data. Subsequently, your interest in DragonQuest has suddenly been renewed.

The pedometer credits has got to be one of the most innovative features Nintendo has come up with.

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/11, 22:07:46
I don't really see how this is that innovative at all. It's interesting to be sure and even my interest is piqued to see how it all pans out however nothing about this is imo that cool or innovative. Pedometers are built into pretty much everything from your cellphone to your iPod to your shoes if you so choose. Yes they are rewarding players to have their 3DS on them at all times which is a smart move and encourages connectivity with other players however groundbreaking this is not. Secondly maybe I'm missing something however the "connectivity" portion of this is incredibly gimmicky, imo. I mean can't nearly all of this be achieved by their current online network?

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/11, 22:47:32
@Oldmanwinter In theory they could get rid of street pass and have it work randomly through wifi. But is that nearly as interesting? Not to me. The neat thing about street pass is it holds a sense of discovery that you're just not going to get through wifi. And you have made a specific connection to a specific IRL person... whether you ever find out who they were or not.

Now, it could be taken a step further and let you then interact with whoever you have street passed with, and it probably won't be, because it is Nintendo and they worry about child predators. Still, it's a fun idea, and the pedometer is throw in clearly as an attempt to facilitate the street pass actually happening.

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/11, 22:53:02

Putting a pedometer inside of a device in this day and age is not necessarily innovative. However, implementing the functionality in a way that compels users to keep their 3DS on them at all times is very innovative.

Earning currency that unlocks game-content by carrying your 3DS along makes features of other electronic devices completely irrelevant. Not even the great iPhone and all of its marvelous features can compete with it. This is because the 3DS offers something that the other devices do not, and in order to enjoy the benefits of it, you'll have to bring your 3DS with you.

Nintendo has just figured out a way to keep the 3DS immune from the competition of competing devices when it comes to consumers choosing what devices to carry with them, and also increase the penetration of Streetpass due to more people carrying their 3DS' with them. I'd say that's pretty innovative.

Posted by 
 on: 01/15/11, 23:19:01
Yeah, I think Nintendo could include a lot of fun, marginally useful features, like metabolic calculations, health suggestions, and such. The 3DS could be like a personal life/bodily system diary.

I think that StreetPass/SpotPass and the pedometer are probably big factors in the short battery life. Always active wi-fi seems kind of expensive, power-wise.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/11, 00:03:27
Zero said:
@Oldmanwinter In theory they could get rid of street pass and have it work randomly through wifi. But is that nearly as interesting? Not to me. The neat thing about street pass is it holds a sense of discovery that you're just not going to get through wifi. And you have made a specific connection to a specific IRL person... whether you ever find out who they were or not.

Now, it could be taken a step further and let you then interact with whoever you have street passed with, and it probably won't be, because it is Nintendo and they worry about child predators. Still, it's a fun idea, and the pedometer is throw in clearly as an attempt to facilitate the street pass actually happening.

Yeah. Fair enough, like I said it seems like it could be interesting I just don't see this as anything approaching a ground breaking feature. The 3D without glasses is groundbreaking for a hand held. This is, at least from a 29 year old male who lives in the suburbs, something I would never use. Like many have said if you are in a very heavily populated area, and you commute to work via public transportation I can see this being a hit. For the average guy like me though I will get next to no mileage (ba-dum-CHA) out of this.


I don't want to get into an iPhone argument however the iPhone can do exactly what you are talking about and I'm willing to guess there are certain apps that take advantage of the exact same concept. The difference is it's not strictly a gaming platform where very app is built around it.

Waze is a prime example of something similar in a navigation tool. It shows all the other "wazers" around you, lets you talk, collect points, share conditions, see the average speed of others around you, share photos from where you are at, etc. I'm not saying that is anywhere near as "cool" as this, I'm simply saying nothing about a pedometer that gives you points for ancillary costumes and features and such for moving around and communicating with others around you is all that groundbreaking. It's a very minor twist on technology that is incredibly prevalent in most all of our day to day lives.


I'm sure it has something to do with it however that's still really bad if it's 3.5 hours. My iPhone, if I'm online with it all day will still run for like 10 hours and that's constantly using the internet. I can get like a day and a half to 2 days use out of it under normal conditions without a recharge. I'm guessing the dual 3D screens has a lot more to do with it.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/11, 00:28:15  - Edited by 
 on: 01/16/11, 00:32:42

Maybe (hopefully) there will be an option to turn that off?

Apart from some people not wanting to communicate with random strangers, what use is the feature when you're at home or on a long car ride?

If turning off made the battery last longer that would make me real happy. Of course then you may end up with the situation where everyone just turns it off and all the cool features just end up bombing :(.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/11, 01:09:01  - Edited by 
 on: 01/16/11, 01:09:30

No, this is not about what the iPhone can or cannot do. This is about what it doesn't have that the 3DS does have. Similar to how you will never see Mario games being developed for iPhone. For people who want play Mario, they are going to have to play it on a Nintendo platform. That doesn't mean that iPhone developers can't attempt to make a Mario-like game, but it's still not Mario.

Likewise, taking the iPhone with you will not unlock content on your 3DS. Even if the iPhone had the same exact functionality, you would still have to take the 3DS with you to unlock content on the 3DS. In my opinion, any functionality that can create that kind of competitive immunity is pretty innovative.

Btw, I would not merge 'innovation' and 'ground-breaking' into the same definition. They have distinctly different meanings.

Posted by 
 on: 01/16/11, 01:12:58  - Edited by 
 on: 01/16/11, 01:14:24
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