How Nintendo Made the 3DS Less Useless [Swapnote Review]

So, remember that angry post I made about the 3DS and the fact that I felt cheated? Well Nintendo is finally doing something right.

Last week Nintendo quietly launched a little downloadable app for the 3DS called Swapnote (Nintendo Letter Box for the UK), and since then I haven’t put my 3DS down.

The idea behind Swapnote is to create 3D postcard-like doodles and photos to send to friends registered on your system through the SpotPass feature. You can select a few or all of your friends to send messages to, which will be downloaded to their systems the next time they’re around a wifi connection. Recipients can then respond to messages (either visible to all fellow recipients who are mutual friends, or just the original sender). The end result is community driven fun!

The first day I received about 5 dick drawings (some much better than others), which is to be expected when all but 1 of your 50+ 3DS friends is of the queer persuasion. Unfortunately, no one has taken the initiative to just take a 3D wang shot and blast it out. What’s taking so long, boys?

However, a few very sexy shirtless photos have popped into my inbox, so I guess I shouldn’t look the gift horse in the ass.

There are some drawbacks:

    •  Each recipient is only allowed a single response to any message.
    • Creators of the original message cannot respond on their own messages.
    • Each recipient can only see responses from people who are also registered on their systems (another BS “safety” measure by Nintendo to protect the children).
    • Your response to a message does NOT appear in-line with others. For some stupid reason, your response will sit at the top of the list, even if you sent it last.
    • There is no keyboard for text, meaning everything must be hand-written. This is a huge drawback if you or one of your friends has crap handwriting. Plus, resistive touch screens such as those used in the DS family can only allow for so much accuracy. This means no matter how perfectly straight you draw a line, it’s still going to look squiggly.

    Some of these gripes seem minor, but they put a lot of restrictions on how carry out conversations through the application. This is supposed to be Nintendo’s (long overdue) version of a messaging feature that is prevalent in EVERY OTHER MAJOR CONSOLE. It’s a commendable first effort, but there has to be some changes made, which we all know won’t happen. It just isn’t Nintendo’s style to fix the things they release pre-borked.

    Whatever, it’s still a hell of a lot of fun and even though it has a 3,000 message limit, I’m already approaching 1,000.

    If anyone out there has a 3DS and wants to do some note swapin’, give me an add: 0301-9783-9629. Just remember to leave a comment with your own code, as adding friends has to be mutual.

    Happy swapping!

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    Problem?

    I just can’t seem to keep this thing up, huh? But I do have a semi-valid excuse: work has been INSANE. It seems everyone wanted to get married in July. Weird. That left me with little more free time than what I needed to shower and read a chapter in whatever book before bed for the past 3 months.

    Although, what it has allowed me be is overly frivolous.

    So, yes. I caved. I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 as a birthday present to myself. I’m a generous giver, I know. Too generous, maybe. Though I’ve never had any complaints (*wink-wink, nudge-nudge* Say no more).

    Ahem.

    But the point of the photo is to show this sickness that is geeky tech love. Currently in my bag you will find most, if not all, of the items picture above, depending on what my goal for the day is, of course.

    The phone (HTC Evo 3D) never leaves my side, as smartphones have become a crutch for society. The netbook tags along if I think I might possibly maybe sorta want to do some writing wherever I end up. Though lately, this hasn’t really worked out.

    The 3DS is usually tossed in the bag merely in hopes that I might pass another 3DS owner and exchange game data. That’s happened 5 times so far. Boo. The DSi is just there because original DS games look like turds on 3DS. But it’s rare I take the DSi anywhere.

    Of course, I couldn’t go anywhere without my baby, the nook. I try to read as often as I can and that thing makes it so easy. Absolutely no buyers remorse here, folks. I highly recommend you get one for yourselves.

    And now we add the Tab to the family. Yes, yes, I hear you. “Why,” you ask, “do you need a tablet when you have a perfectly good netbook?”

    Well, thank you for your question. Allow me to elaborate: The netbook, as much as I love it and most all things made by ASUS, is crippled by the forced inclusion of Windows 7 STARTER. Yes, Starter Edition. The mentally disabled stepchild of the brilliant Windows 7 OS. It’s so awful and nearly unusable that I find myself feeling daunted by the thought of turning it on, even just for instant messaging.

    It was for that reason that I started considering the tablet market since you can keep them on and in sleep mode at all times and still get days of use out of the battery. And so far, it’s worked out about as well as I had imagined. But I’ll be honest, I’m still trying to find one real, solid reason to keep it before my return period is up on Sunday.

    Maybe someone out there in the void can back me up on this?

    No?

    Damn.

    I Gave Nintendo $250 and All I Got Was This Lousy 3DS

    Anticipation; it makes fools of us all. We spend months getting all jazzed up, hoarding money like a squirrel in a panicked frenzy before winter, just so we can be one of the first kids on the block with the new toy. That’s right, jerks. You gotta come over to MY house to play.

    Then you get home, rip it open, fiddle around a bit and realize you’ve been saddled with nearly a pound of plastic with a 3D slider-doodle and nothing to enjoy on it.

    It’s been about a month since the 3DS launched and what I once Oooh’d and Aaah’d over (for about a week) now just sits unused and unloved on my desk where it will remain for the foreseeable future. A constant reminder of the money I’m out and all the fun I’m not having.

    Thanks, Nintendo, for jerking my inner child off the floor and booting it out into the yard. I’m gonna go fly my new Buzz Lightyear kite.

    Dear, Nintendo: STFU [3DS]

    Most people will probably try to tell you that I’m a fanboy of sorts when it comes to certain things. Such as Nintendo and their long history video game wizardry. But nay, I say to you. For when it comes to the world of fanboyism, I stand apart from the crowd.

    By definition, fanboys are people who defend the companies they love tooth and nail. They sing praises of their loves to anyone who will listen and come up with creative arguments detailing just why their company is better than yours. And whenever anyone presents them with an example of how said company has screwed up before, the stick their fingers in their ears and say “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!” Or somehow manage to think up a creative justification as to why that was actually a good idea, but the public just didn’t take to it.

    By definition I am most certainly NOT a fanboy. Why? Because I’ll be the first to point out the Fuck-Up Elephant hiding behind the couch.

    Case in point: Today Nintendo (vaguely) announced the next system in the line of DS handheld gaming consoles. The Nintendo 3DS.

    After a quick check of the calendar to be sure it wasn’t April 1st (after which I still didn’t want to believe it) I took a deep breath and yelled “Bull shit!”

    Ok, so let’s be honest. 3D is the big buzzword right now in the tech industry. Everyone is trying to find a way to implement it into their products and every company wants to find a better way of doing it. Glasses, no glasses, polarized this, stereoscopic that. The list is just keeps growing and getting more confusing every week. (Word to the wise shopper, DON’T buy any 3D products for another year at least. There are standards need to be worked out [fuck you, Sony])

    So now it’s Nintendo’s turn to jump on the bandwagon (or off the bridge, if you like) and they seem to feel that this is best done by releasing yet another DS product. Granted, it’s smarter than attempting a 3D Wii, or WiiD (TM, bitches. That’s mine), but is this really necessary?

    Since the release of the DS, Nintendo has produced more versions or upgrades than they ever did for the Gameboy. There was the original DS, DSlite, DSi and now DSiXL. QUIT IT!

    nintendo-dsi Look, Nintendo, you JUST made the DSiXL and haven’t even released it in America yet and now you come at me with this crap? After hocking my DSlite for the DSi I’m now expected to shell out more money for what could possibly be the same damn system, just with some crappy 3D implementation? How do you plan to do this? You say I won’t need glasses, so we can assume the 3D isn’t going to have that much depth to it. I know it can be done, but just google around and you’ll find plenty of articles detailing how much of a strain glasses-less 3D is on the eyes.

    However, if this is truly to be the successor in the DS line, you may have my attention. See, I’ve shelled out the cash for all the upgrades (DSphat, white DSlite, blue DSlite, finally DSi) and I’m a bit sick of it. So yes, I saw the worth in moving from the phat to the lite and I do consider the DSi to be what the system should have been from the very beginning, but if all I can expect from the 3DS is just the nifty inclusion of 3D, then I’m not interested.

    So, listen up, Nintendo. Now is not the time to shovel out another upgrade. The DS has been around long enough to warrant a whole new system with better graphics (GameCube level or better, please), bigger, crisper screens (capacitive multi-touch?) and BETTER ONLINE PLAY (seriously, you’re killing your older clientele).

    Don’t fuck around with this, Iwata. Do it right and do it the first time. Oh, and don’t puss around at E3 this year. It pisses us off.