Nintendo 3DS StreetPass Feature Inspired In Part By Dragon Quest IX Success

By Ishaan . February 8, 2011 . 10:24am

Nintendo producer, Hideki Konno, is responsible for some of the company’s most successful games in recent years, such as Nintendogs, Mario Kart DS and Mario Kart Wii. Konno’s biggest undertaking to date, however, is the Nintendo 3DS.

Not only is Hideki Konno the producer for the upcoming Nintendogs + cats for the Nintendo 3DS, he’s the producer for the 3DS hardware itself.


Konno was also instrumental in implementing the system’s StreetPass functionality, which allows 3DS systems to share game data with each other in sleep mode, regardless of what game cartridge is inserted into the system.


In a new Iwata Asks interview, Konno revealed that it was the success of Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies that inspired him to pursue the idea of making StreetPass functionality one of the 3DS’ major features.


Dragon Quest IX featured what Nintendo dubbed “Tag Mode” in English — the ability for players to passively exchange treasure maps that led to rare items and monsters with other Nintendo DS systems while in sleep mode. In Japan, the Tag Mode feature turned into somewhat of a social phenomenon, and Nintendo constantly encourage players to use it at video game conventions in the U.S. and Europe as well.


By Konno’s own admission, his son was rather excited to try out Dragon Quest IX’s Tag Mode, while being uninterested in similar functionality built into the original Nintendogs. This was what inspired him to launch his StreetPass “counter-attack” by having Tag Mode functionality programmed into the system itself, so that game data could be exchanged even if the relevant cartridge wasn’t inserted in the 3DS.


In the case of Nintendogs + cats, StreetPass makes a record of other people that own the game that you happened to pass by while carrying your 3DS. You can then meet up with these players — represented by their Mii characters — in an in-game park, and exchange pictures of your pets, or even exchange presents.

  • Cool.

  • Exkaiser

    Understandable and fairly obvious, but still an interesting read.

  • speaking of Nintendogs + Cats, i wounder what you get to do with the cats? watch them sleep on your furniture? or leave you presents in your slipper? or bedside?

    jokes aside the 3ds upper-screen might make that game interesting again.

  • Croix

    This would be better if the DS-to-person-per-sq.-foot ratio was as high anywhere else as it is in Japan.

    • Saraneth

      Yeah, this would give the 3DS a pretty big advantage over the NGP in Japan but seems to have been met by blank stares in the U.S.

      • NeoTechni

        Except NGP does it too… And better…

        • Zero_Destiny

          Except that the NGP isn’t even out yet and you know nothing about it other than what Sony has told you and that it’s a machine that’ll surely cost way MORE than the DS and 3DS. So why bother comparing it to old tech and cheaper tech.

          • NeoTechni

            Cost is irrelevant.
            Why compare? Cause I hate this streetpass crap (or in PSP2’s case, NEAR).

          • Zero_Destiny

            Well whether or not you use the func is your choice but it’s not worth being upset over the fact that it’s added. Some people like stuff like this. I’m not a big fan of it. I hardly ever put my DS in sleep mode but it doesn’t upset me that funcs like this are added to portables now. Besides Nintendo of Europe has already stated that there supporting the spot pass.
            See it here []
            And I’m going to assume Nintendo of America is going to as well. So it’s not like people outside of Japan are going to get screwed over because of how different our population densities are.

        • 1. You posted just to whine about an entirely optional feature that you don’t like? If you do this nonsense again (I’ve seen you do it before), I will ban you.

          2. I don’t believe Sony have said anything about StreetPass functionality with NGP. It has its own equivalent of SpotPass, which it does via 3G. Not everyone will have access to that technology. The two are very different.

          • NeoTechni

            If you can whine about my whining then im certainly allowed to whine
            about nintendo wasting time on nigh useless crap

          • And with that, we ban another unproductive troll.

            (Pro-tip for the future: if you feel like complaining about something, do it in an intelligent and polite way like Croix’s comment above)

          • Croix

            Your point 2 is a whole lot of stuff I seem to have had misconceptions about. Looks like I’ll need to pay more attention to what the NGP is bringing to the table.

            Then again, for any system to do well, there’s on thing it absolutely must bring to the table: games. Like or dislike either of the new portables, at least we know that the 3DS, being a Nintendo system, will have them.

    • Actually, I’ve been having amazingly good luck with Re:Coded’s version of Tag Mode. I know the system generates its own tags if left to its own devices, however the amount of people who have been passing in and around Westminster with the game on – whether it was for an anime convention that was held over the weekend or Chinese New Year or both – has been amazing.

      I don’t predict it will last but it’s been really fantastic to see.

      Of course, it is somewhat frustrating as I’ve been walking around for half a year with DQIX on tag and only garnered new quests from events ~ same with Dissidia’s Friend Card receive.

  • NeoTechni

    Yay for features that will have absolutely no use outside of japan.

    Reminds me of that song sharing feature of the Zune. And how I never met anyone else with a Zune.

    • Zero_Destiny

      When I was in high school we all had Zunes and we swapped music all the time. It was really cool. I was atcually amazed that other people had Zunes though lol I only got mine because it was a solid MP3 player and I don’t care about all those games, and movies and junk. Just want music. That and I hate apple so I didn’t want to buy an iPod. lol Still surprises that everyone had a zune though.

  • Zero_Destiny

    Just another reason why I love my Dragon Quest IX game so much!!!!~ :D Having seen some news about how Nintendo of Europe plans to line-up support to the spot-pass and what not makes me happy. It’s no secret that Japan is a smaller country with a higher population density. I like to think Nintendo of America will try to promote these funcs as well. Another reason to be excited for the 3DS!!!!!!!!

  • My DS is in sleep mode constantly so I like this feature. The 3DS’ battery life however may mean that many people in the west won’t take advantage of this feature so much.

  • Joanna

    Interesting read. I found it funny that this feature came about because his son didn’t want to use the passive connectivity with Nintendogs. “counter-attack”. lol.

    Either way, I hope this feature can increase the usability of passive connectivity in North America and Europe. I love the idea of passive connectivity, but I’ve never randomly stumbled across someone.

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