Nintendo 3DS fans gather worldwide to revive StreetPass

Nintendo 3DS StreetPass graphic on a white background
(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Nintendo 3DS eShop may have shut down in March, but loyal 3DS fans are helping to preserve the handheld's social features through events organized on Discord. 

March 31st through April 2nd saw 3DS owners gather at various points around the globe to revive StreetPass, a feature that allowed multiple Nintendo 3DS consoles to link together just by being within close proximity to one another, or by visiting StreetPass relay points.

If you passed another 3DS player out on your travels who also had StreetPass activated, you would encounter their Mii in your StreetPass plaza, allowing you to interact, share in-game achievements, and earn badges.

StreetPass revival events took place in New York, Australia, Ireland, Tokyo, Belgium, Florida, London, Nottingham, and Hawaii to name a few. These events were timed with various fan conventions and events to attract as many gamers as possible and took place in the same month that Nintendo would act on its plans to shut down the online store with "no plans" to preserve its game library.

"I kept seeing people leave comments or make videos about wanting StreetPass to come back, but nobody was working with each other so everybody's voice got lost in the crowd", said Shane Kressley, who played a pivotal role in organising the various meetups.

"I reached out to several community members, YouTubers, and 3DS enthusiasts about how to make something work and came up with this", he said.

Nintendo 3DS

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Preserving gaming hardware is tough at the best of times, and particularly when a manufacturer starts to decommission online services like the eShop for the 3DS, it can become a real uphill battle. Besides emulators that can help to preserve a platform's software library, preserving the hardware itself becomes more difficult as more owners see no reason to keep it around. Shane has luckily received a lot of support from other enthusiasts, and he added "I'm lucky to have made friends that support the event in my place by going to cons and expos with their system.

"We wanna make sure nobody is left out so I tried to cover many different countries in both promos and finding local reps to carry their 3DS there.

"The 3DS is in an awkward spot as a handheld since it's over a decade old but its software and community are still alive and well now. If it weren't for the Switch, we would still have the eShop, but now that the hype has worn off you see more people return to the 3DS and try to preserve its high-quality library.

"We hope this brings more love to the handheld and inspires more care towards preserving it as parts dry up and online services shut down."

When asked if these events would continue into the future, Shane said that with the release of the Super Mario movie this week, thousands of 3DS owners will be taking their handhelds to cinemas in attempts to bond and find tags.

If you'd like to get involved in future 3DS preservation efforts, you can join the Discord that organizes meetups, and follow StreetPassLove on Twitter for broader announcements and plans.

If you want to deck out your current-gen Nintendo hardware, take a look at the best Nintendo Switch accessories, the best Nintendo Switch headset, and the best case for Nintendo Switch.

Duncan Robertson
Hardware Editor

Ever since playing Journey at the age of 15, I’ve been desperate to cover video games for a living. After graduating from Edinburgh Napier University with a degree in Journalism, I contributed to the Scottish Games Network and completed an Editorial Internship over at Expert Reviews. Besides that, I’ve been managing my own YouTube channel and Podcast for the last 7 years. It’s been a long road, but all that experience somehow landed me a dream job covering gaming hardware. I’m a self-confessing PlayStation fanboy, but my experience covering the larger business and developer side of the whole industry has given me a strong knowledge of all platforms. When I’m not testing out every peripheral I can get my hands on, I’m probably either playing tennis or dissecting game design for an upcoming video essay. Now, I better stop myself here before I get talking about my favourite games like HUNT: Showdown, Dishonored, and Towerfall Ascension.
Location: UK Remote