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

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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.

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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.