Because of one application, I’m obliged to bring my 2DS along everywhere I go. And it’s not even something that you can consider as a “game”: StreetPass Mii Plaza.
Before I talk about this application, we need to know what StreetPass is. Basically, StreetPass is a functionality of 3DS applications that make 3DS units (the original 3DS, the 3DS XL, and the 2DS) exchange data via a wireless connection to other 3DS units. This data is used by different applications in different ways. Let’s use the games that I currently own as examples.
Whenever I come across the vicinity of someone who has a 3DS unit on sleep mode and has the StreetPass function for Resident Evil Revelations enabled, our 3DS units send/receive data and we both end up getting an additional mission requirement for Raid Mode, as well as a helpful item that we can use for our single player Campaign. In Mario Kart 7, rather than getting helpful items we instead exchange stats (wins, losses, coins gathered, VR points) and ghost data.
The bonuses mentioned above are good enough, but what really compels me into getting more StreetPass “tags” is StreetPass Mii Plaza, a pre-installed application that gathers Mii data and uses them for mini-games. Before I talk about the Mii Plaza, let me define what Miis are.
Miis are basically avatars of Nintendo device owners, specifically the Wii, Wii U, and the 3DS. Basic Mii data is exchanged via StreetPass, and you get to see this data in StreetPass Mii Plaza which represents a virtual plaza where the favorite Miis of the people you encounter are stored. Here, you get to see how they look, as well as the most recent game that they played and a few more generic information like birthdates and favorite stuff.
There are two mini-games included for free in StreetPass Mii Plaza, the first of which is Puzzle Swap. In Puzzle Swap, you get several puzzles which are divided into tiles, or puzzle pieces. You can get random puzzle pieces by purchasing them using play coins or via StreetPass – you can get a copy of one piece from a person’s collection of puzzle pieces and add them to your own. Also, there are special puzzle pieces, called pink pieces, that can only be obtained via StreetPass.
Once a puzzle has been completed, you can view the completed image. At first I thought the puzzle was going to be a simple image, but I was wrong – completed puzzles become animated 3D pictures when you view them, which look really cool.
The second StreetPass Mii Plaza game is Find Mii. It’s a simple dungeon-crawler style game where the Miis that you encounter become Heroes fighting off different kinds of monsters. Their powers are based on the color of their clothes, and their strength is determined by the number of times that you’ve encountered their owner. The battle system is very simple – your gathered Heroes can either Attack, cast Magic, or move to the back of the line. Later on, they’ll also gain the ability to use potions, or form combinations.
Throughout the game, you can unlock different headgear that you can equip on your Mii. The next time you tag someone, they’ll see your Mii with your current headgear. Some of the headgear can only be obtained after beating the game a couple of times, so wearing these serves as some sort of trophy, showing other people your accomplishment.
The rewards seem very minor – what are completed puzzles and different kinds of headgear going to do to improve my gaming life? Not much, if I think about it. But let me tell you that the entire thing is very engaging, driving me to bring my 2DS almost everywhere I go, whether it be on a short trip to the store or on a date with my girlfriend. And I’m not alone – currently, there are groups of people who organize “StreetPass meets” where 3DS owners meet up, tag each other, and play games. I’m currently a part of one such group which gathers at a nearby mall every Sunday.
And I haven’t even gotten to the other StreetPass Mii Plaza games that you need to pay for before you can play them – I know next to nothing about these games, so let me just rattle off quick descriptions that I got from some of the fellows that I meet up with… There’s Mii Force which is a side-scrolling shooter game in the vein of Gradius, there’s Flower Town where players can grow different kinds of plants and arrange them in gardens, there’s Warrior’s Way which is an army battle simulation, and Monster Manor which is a puzzle game where you find yourself in a haunted mansion that you need to escape.
I entered the world of board gaming and put video games aside because I wanted an activity that involved socialization. When I got my 2DS, I realized that today’s gaming involved a lot of socialization – people are quite active in message boards and in various Facebook groups, talking about their favorite games, doing some trading, and in the case of 3DS owners, planning regular meet ups to exchange Street Pass tags and do some multiplayer gaming. Honestly, it feels good to find people with the same interests and to socialize with them, and while Street Pass Mii Plaza isn’t the biggest reason for this, it’s definitely a contributing factor.