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Could Pokémon Black & White Be Compatible With Nintendo 3DS?



Ever since the announcement of the 3DS and Pokémon Black & White, we’ve wondered if the two would be compatible with each other in any way. Then, not too long ago, Game Freak and Nintendo pulled the curtain back on Black & White, and confirmed them as regular DS games.


However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about how the 3DS could enhance the Pokémon experience. The Nintendo 3DS includes a feature dubbed “Tag Mode,” by which the 3DS can download information either via Wi-Fi hotspots or from other 3DS systems you pass by, while closed. The major evolution here over the DS Lite is that you don’t have to be in any particular game for the 3DS to download data for it — the process happens automatically for every game you own.


Discussing the Tag Mode (around the 3:23 point) with the head of the company’s EAD1 group, Hideki Konno, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata stated, counting off on his hand: “So, if I play Nintendogs, Mario Kart, Animal Crossing and Pokémon, and if all these games support the new functionality, regardless of what game I’m playing, communication can occur for all of them.”


It isn’t a remark that pertains specifically to Black & White, but obviously Nintendo are thinking of how Tag Mode could enhance different games. However, while tech demos for 3DS versions of Mario Kart, Animal Crossing and Nintendogs + Cats were at E3 earlier in the week, Pokémon wasn’t.


Given how close the game is releasing to the 3DS launch, programming Tag Mode compatibility into it would give Nintendo an opportunity to gauge the kind of features that resonate with the Pokémon audience, and build upon them in the next game. Whether or not they choose to go down this route, we’ll have to wait and see.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.