Nintendo's 3DS StreetPass Feature: Hidden Potential
Power-ups and unseen street fights are cool, but developers have yet to unlock the best StreetPass has to offer.
Like many gamers, Nintendo's 3DS StreetPass feature intrigued and thrilled me. The concept of letting systems communicate while in Sleep Mode was a very exciting prospect. It brought to mind Sega's "It's thinking" campaign for the company's ill-fated Dreamcast, except 3DS is actually thinking, busying itself with hosting unseen battles in Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition and exchanging ghost data with fellow Ridge Racer 3D players.
Fast forward nine months later, and we're still throwing invisible fists and beating people's lap times.
The big question is in fact a simple one: why?
Don't get me wrong. I dig opening my 3DS, only to discover that my team of world warriors annihilated someone else's.
I'm also a fan of sharing power-ups in Super Mario 3D Land. Who doesn't need a Fire Flower to get through a particularly challenging stage? Not this guy.
At the same time, StreetPass continues to feel like a gimmick, one of those "oh yeah, 3DS has that" types of features most forget about. It also doesn't help that so few 3DS systems are in the wild. Yes, Nintendo has sold nearly seven million units, but stretch that out across the entire world. At least on the positive side, I live in a densely populated area.
Thing is, there seems to be a lot of wasted potential with StreetPass. Eventually, developers need to stop treating it as an afterthought and do something significant that impacts gameplay.
Granted, an extra Tanooki Suit carries a certain level of weight, but I'd like to see a game that somehow communicates with other machines to complete quests in a role-playing game, or unlock new weapons and equipment, depending on who players come into contact with. How about some crazy zombie game, where 3DS users can use StreetPass to infect other players? All of a sudden, the virus goes from a small town in anywhere U.S.A to Japan, then Russia, then Australia, all while the community tracks its progress.
Point being, there has to be more to StreetPass than the norm, and I can't wait to see what the video game industry dreams up in 2012 and beyond.