Otakon 2013: Why Can’t I Hold All These StreetPasses?


Otakon is an anime convention but video games have infiltrated it pretty thoroughly over the years. In the last couple years this has been happening through the 3DS, which basically everybody has at the con.

If you’re a 3DS owner living in the US you probably know how hard it is to get streetpasses. Nintendo has had to change the entire way the feature works in this region just to get Americans to use it. This all changes at any event where thousands of geeks gather, Otakon being no exception.

I’ll tell you right now that probably 90 percent of the streetpasses I get all this year will probably have been from the three days I attended Otakon. The worst part is that you literally can’t catch them all. A few minutes into the con I gave up and just decided to grab them whenever I could.

There are so many people walking around with 3DSs that it presents an effectively infinite stream of streetpasses. Any and every time I opened my 3DS within the walls of the convention center I found the Mii Plaza at its capacity of 10 new Miis ready to greet me. Of course this let me blast through the Mii Plaza games.

It’s almost like Nintendo knew people were gonna use Otakon for streetpasses when they decided to release the new Mii Plaza games in the US this summer. I finally finished Find Mii (which I’d started at the last Otakon), blew through all of Mii Force, and got through a good portion of Monster Manor. In the end I think I grabbed something like 300 Miis in three days, but I saw some people who’d done twice that.

A really cool side effect of the leveling system Miis go through when you meet them multiple times is that when I went back to my hotel each night I met more or less the same group of Miis — probably people staying in adjacent rooms, some of which got to around level 5.

The egregious part though was the full 3DS games that used streetpass. I gave up on catching Fire Emblem Awakening streetpasses on the first morning. The game will hold up to 50 streetpasses at a time, but each individual one constitutes a party of NPCs that you can barter with or battle. That’s potentially twice as many battles as the entire main quest. My game was filled to capacity on streetpasses 30 minutes after I got in line on the first morning of the con. I still haven’t touched any of them yet.

Even worse is what happened to me and Shin Megami Tensei IV. I’d basically gotten through the tutorial and decided to take a break on the game, not realizing that in order to activate streetpass you have to reach a certain point a bit further in the main quest. I ended up spending probably half the con trying to burn through the game up to that point. I spent a chunk of Saturday night banging my head against the boss after which you can use streetpass. After all that, I wasn’t even able to get a dozen (the game’s capacity) of streetpasses. People were playing SMT IV at Otakon this year, but in popularity it seemed to be distantly behind Animal Crossing New Leaf and Fire Emblem.

Maybe Nintendo’s new streetpass relay system will work as intended. At least Nintendo’s starting to realize they can’t get the system to work as-is outside of Japan unless you get thousands of enthusiasts together in one building.


  • Legend of Dungeon on Steam looks pretty cool.
  • My custom box art for Dragon’s Crownbit.ly/14KsZ0C
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