Somewhere along the way when we were all going about our daily business, the number of StreetPass Mii Plaza games on the Nintendo 3DS swelled from two up to thirteen. I knew that Nintendo periodically added new games to the system, but I wasn't keeping an exact count. Thirteen! That's certainly an achievement. Considering that Nintendo charges actual money for the games beyond the base two which come with each 3DS, how is one to know which of those games is worth the time, money, and tags? The AV Club has taken a look at all thirteen games and ranked them.
Since the launch of the Nintendo 3DS over five years ago, one of its most unique and forward-thinking innovations has been its passive communication system, a feature Nintendo dubbed “StreetPass.” By constantly sending out discreet wireless signals, the handheld shares information with other nearby systems, even while in sleep mode, stuffed in a backpack, and generally ignored for most of the day. Unlike smartphones and the PlayStation Vita, which need to connect to the internet to download information from friends, this passive system is always searching for new data within your immediate vicinity. This means players can come home to find there are suddenly new model homes to explore in Animal Crossing, new guild cards in Monster Hunter, and new ghosts to race in Mario Kart, all from 3DS-carrying friends and strangers they may have walked past at some point.
More than just adding doodads to existing titles, Nintendo has put out an assortment of games over the years that have put StreetPass front and center, directly translating the people you come across into tangible benefits. These are collected in the 3DS’ built-in StreetPass Mii Plaza. Some of these games can be played idly while watching TV or talking on the phone. Others require more focus and attention. With the release of five brand new StreetPass games, I thought this would be a good time to revisit and review all 13 Mii Plaza games.
I was intrigued by the StreetPass games when they were new to me and walking around gaming trade shows and conventions with my 3DS in my pocket is a great way to rack up the tags. It's very unlikely that I encounter other 3DS owners out "in the wild" on my daily comings and goings, so it's rare that I pick up enough tags to be able to do anything worth while with them at a time. Find Mii isn't much fun with only one character available and it takes forever to fill in the holes in Puzzle Swap. I bought the first round of expansions several years ago when I was able to get multiple tags per day on a regular basis, but have held off on the second expansion for now. I'm glad that the AV Club has offered some commentary on all of the games because it's very easy to forget that they exist.