Hey, Nintendo... kids can still look at boobs on 3DS without Swapnote

Right now--like, literally right as I write this--there's a picture on my 3DS of a naked woman. I think she might be a model, since she's quite attractive, and the image looks to be professionally shot against a well-lit background. I really can't be sure, though; there's no way to tell. She's definitely naked, though; boobs and all. Her legs are crossed and the image is a little low res (I clicked on the first one I saw), so I don't have a great view of her vagina, but I'm pretty sure it's there, too.

So, yeah, that's on my 3DS right now. If I hit back, go to Google, delete my search for "Naked woman" and replace it with "Penis" (which I'm going to do, for the sake of journalism), I'm met with a slew of erect, veiny cocks. Like, it's a god damn forest of wang on my 3DS's top screen right now. Some are big, some are small, but they're all definitely dicks. It's a good thing internet images aren't in 3D, or else I'd have my eye poked out by now.

I'm not doing this for fun--if I wanted to look at sexy images I have damn near a dozen or so devices within arms reach that do a better job of it. No, I'm doing it because I wanted to see if it would work. The most disturbing thing I could find, though, would come by going to Nintendo's website for Swapnote. There, I'd find something more offensive than all of the dicks, boobs, and niche dwarf-porn in the world: remarkable ignorance.

It's there that I'd find a notice from Nintendo explaining that it would be suspending support for Swapnote, the free 3DS program that allows... sorry, allowed you to send and receive quick doodles with friends. Released in December of 2011, the Nintendo-made program was the closest thing the 3DS had to a messaging service. Sure, it lagged behind the Vita's ability to easily converse with friends, but it included that trademark Nintendo charm. Your friends' notes would literally draw out on the screen like they drew them in real time, coming to life in 3D. It was updated with new stationery and features over time, and while I didn't use it consistently, I'd occasionally find myself jumping back in to read over old notes and send some new ones every few months.

When I'd load it up, I'd always find some new messages from my friends from all around the country. Some would blast out holiday cards using it, complete with photographs of their family and fun sound effects. Others would simply share jokes. When I was away from home, my wife and I would send messages to each other and open them before bed. It was nice--it made the distance feel like less of a hurdle. 

Other people drew penises. This shouldn't come as a surprise; give someone the means to draw something and there's a good chance it'll have a pair of sagging balls attached to it. That's just how the world works, for whatever reason. People will use whatever means they have to be lewd. You know that, I know that, but--apparently--Nintendo wasn't aware.

And because of that, Swapnote as we know it is dead. Nintendo pulled the plug today, cutting off the online portion of the messaging system. Now, you can only send people Swapnotes if you're close enough to stick an actual post-it note onto their 3DS. According to the Swapnote website, "Nintendo has learned that some consumers, including minors, have been exchanging their friend codes on Internet bulletin boards and then using Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in other regions) to exchange offensive material."

Nintendo always lagged behind the competition when it came to embracing the new, connected world, but it looked like that might be changing. It ditched game-specific Friend Codes, added voice chat to Pokemon, released the first console with day-and-date digital sales, and even started to create social network-style things for the Wii U. Swapnote was a great example of Nintendo actually thinking about how people like to communicate with each other. But there are apparently children in the world, and people of them are (or were) using the service that Nintendo supplied in a way Nintendo didn't want (but had to have known would happen) so now we all lose it. 

Why stop at Swapnote? Why not hit the web browser next, removing it from the Wii U and the 3DS. Netflix has to go, too, since a child could always watch a movie with naked people in it. The YouTube app on the Wii U? Gone, obviously, since you're only a few seconds away from watching racist rants or acts of extreme violence. The Miiverse would have to go, as would every other online-connected system. Each of these tools give you near instant access to "offensive material," and it's all a lot simpler than swapping Friend Codes on forums to see a picture of a boob. Because, after all, the children.

So, Swapnote is essentially dead. Thanks Nintendo. And yet, if I open my 3DS, those pictures of dicks are still there. The more pages I scroll through, the more dicks I'll see. It could go on forever...


  • StadanJorings - May 10, 2014 3:37 p.m.

    I think the browser should stay. If minors see those things, that has nothing to do with Nintendo. The pictures depicting nudity were not only being sent TO minors, but being sent BY them. So adults and minors alike were getting photos of children. I know because I was sent a picture of a minor naked through Swapnote. The browser is a way to view the internet, meaning it would be hard to see minors naked. If a kid looks at porn on a computer, it isn't because of Microsoft, Apple, or the creator of the browser, it's the minor. If the browser goes, it would be horrible.
  • ThundaGawd - November 3, 2013 7:51 p.m.

    I really don't want them to kill off the browser. I use it frequently when playing Monster Hunter or Shin Megami Tensei. If I want to craft a weapon or don't know where to go for a particular quest, I can just minimize my game without actually quitting it, zoom off to one of my bookmarked pages and read up on what I need to acquire/where I need to go, provided I have an internet connection (And in this day and age, even certain buses have Wifi, so it's rather convenient).
  • jebug29 - November 2, 2013 11:07 p.m.

    It turns out, Nintendo DID decide to go this far with other software. They killed off the unpaid, friend-shared spotpass feature on the new Flipnote 3D (released in Japan). Absolutely ridiculous.
  • brickman409 - November 1, 2013 11:40 p.m.

    great article, the first two paragraphs are hilarious. That sucks Nintendo killed swapnote, it was like a cool sequel to picto-chat.
  • Eightboll812 - November 1, 2013 8:51 p.m.

    I think how you see this is going to be influenced by whether or not you have kids of your own.
  • SomeOddGuy - November 1, 2013 7:06 p.m.

    I honestly have to toss my hat into this one as I thought rather long and hard(NO! No penis jokes for this comment!) about the plausible reasons why they decided to shut down the service entirely, and honestly, there's only one thing I can possibly equate it to... I'm certain they knew exactly what people would do when they enables people to have a drawing feature with the system(as is evidence that they continued this feature with Miiverse), but I don't believe it has anything to do with the actual creative means the service offers. Rather, I think this had to do with the fact that because minors were actually going to message boards and swapping out info with strangers, that they used the service as a means of exchanging underage pornographic images under a closed network message exchange system with no outside inspection, one I would imagine without the same moderation and control as either Miiverse or other console's messaging systems.(this is a pure guess on my part since I don't remember there being any...) I could understand why they would shut down the service is it's literally the fear of being taken to court over accidentally harboring a service that allowed for (potentially) unmonitored Underage Pornography exchange, though honestly they could have just taken out the ability to attach a photo to the letters to fix that problem since it seems hard to imagine there would be much controversy over exchanged 'explicit' doodles. This of course is just my random guess on why they could have done this... I really liked Swapnotes too... Last thing I doodled to someone was just a random angry face...
  • ultimatepunchrod - November 1, 2013 3:45 p.m.

    "Nintendo has learned that some consumers, including minors, have been exchanging their friend codes on Internet bulletin boards and then using Swapnote (known as Nintendo Letter Box in other regions) to exchange offensive material." THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE DO!!
  • Doctalen - November 1, 2013 2:35 p.m.

    I suppose that they'll also ban the keybord becuase B
  • Doctalen - November 1, 2013 2:37 p.m.

    Didn't realize that tab acts like enter. If possible could y'all delete that? I'll retype it here: I suppose that they'll also ban the keyboard because B equals D.
  • Frieza - November 1, 2013 3:09 p.m.

    See? This is why we need an EDIT BUTTON!
  • Doctalen - November 1, 2013 3:11 p.m.

  • awesomesauce - November 1, 2013 6:07 p.m.

    Next they'll remove the number 0 because pressing it twice makes boobs
  • Doctalen - November 1, 2013 6:21 p.m.

    The horror! Save the zeros! Free the boobies! Save the zeros!
  • GOD - November 1, 2013 12:25 p.m.

    Sooooooo did Nintendo forget that this is what they have Parental Controls for? Don't want your child using Swapnote? Then don't blame Nintendo that your child gave out his FC. Just go into Parental Controls and lock Swapnote. If that specific option wasn't there, then patch that in rather than suspend Swapnote. Duh Nintendo.
  • CurryIsGood - November 1, 2013 9:06 p.m.

    That's actually a fantastic idea
  • JarkayColt - November 1, 2013 11:38 a.m.

    Not to sound harsh or anything, but it kind of serves anyone right for sharing their FCs on the internet with random strangers. If you simply stuck to registering your IRL friends you would know what to expect from them; if they send you a picture of certain unmentionable things or write some sort of sarcastic message then chances are that you know they're like that and it's all a bit of a laugh and a joke. Can't the 3DS tell the difference between somebody you've added locally and somebody you've registered online? Surely it could just block certain data exchanges with "internet friends", like photo sharing. :/ Plus, plenty of people use the service in a considerate manner as much as those who abuse it. Just idiots spoiling things for everyone else again. I hope Nintendo can tweak the settings somehow and reinstate this again in the future. But basically, people shouldn't be sharing their codes on message boards so flippantly. Also I can't find anything on NOE yet that suggests "Nintendo Letterbox" is closing as well.
  • TheFabricOfTime - November 1, 2013 8:34 a.m.

    Well this sucks. Next they'll remove 3DS Flipnote Studio before we even get to play it.
  • Fox_Mulder - November 1, 2013 5:53 a.m.

    This is hilarious, since all I ever get on Swapnote from my 20+ year old friends are crudely drawn 3D cocks. Rest in peace, Dicknote. Or is it Swapdick?
  • TrickyBandit - November 1, 2013 3:34 a.m.

    I keep hoping that Nintendo can come into the future. I love my Wii U and my 3DS XL, but I'm nearly ready to give up on them as a company. My kids and I would use SwapNote all the time while they are at their mom's. They'd write me I love you notes and I'd return pictures of Batman sitting on a toilet while saying "I love you too", but that is completely gone because some minors are sending boobs and dicks? C'mon Nintendo...the camera sucks so it's basically pixelating the pictures for you anyway. Pathetic and uninformed is the only way to describe some of their decisions. Cell Phones and browsers can officially claim that they do what Nintendon't now.

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