Before writing the introduction to this article, I had fully intended to talk about the 3DS even more and explain the pros and cons of the StreetPass feature. That’s not a broad enough topic though (although you’ll still find a small section about it) and the topic of connectivity was too general. So, this being a weekly feature on a gaming website, I thought that we should take a look at the simple, passer-by type of connectivity – present in online gaming, social networking and even here in the comments section of TSA.
I’m never a few seconds away from loading up twitter or Facebook and seeing what the world is doing, these days. I’ve always got my phone on me and, failing that, I’ll have my laptop or another PC near. Twitter is a superb service; it lets me keep up to date with the people that I know. But every now and then, someone pops up that I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll reply to them, but what about afterwards? I might follow them and talk to them again if I’ve had a decent conversation, although most of the time they’ll just slip back into the folds of the internet. It’s the same situation with many different things and there are a lot of missed opportunities to connect with people.
First, I’ll tell you about StreetPass: it’s a feature of the 3DS that connects your console to other consoles in close proximity whilst they are both in stand-by mode, and it allows you to swap data, such as having your figurines in Street Fighter fight, or collecting their Mii for your Mii Plaza. It’s a great idea and it encourages you to go out and be social in some capacity, but I now have six people that I’ve never met in my life’s Miis living in my console. It’s a nice way of gamers communicating, but it’s never going to go any further unless I quiz everyone in Paisley, Glasgow and Edinburgh about their Mii – I’ll never know who these people really are, will I? I can’t even add them to my friends list or send them a quick message.
See, I like to know about people; I want to know just who they are and why they deserve to have their Mii on my system. This is why I love Twitter: I know a lot more about many TSA members because of it and now they’re a lot more than just a name and a picture, or a Mii and a greeting, if you will. StreetPass is a great idea, don’t get me wrong, but these people that have forced their way onto my system probably don’t know who I am and, most likely, will never know me – unless they can work it out from my greeting of “mynameisblair”; I’d love to see someone that could. This brings the question: where’s the point in being connected to people if you can’t actually connect with them?
See, there’s one example of connecting to others being just too simple. It’s the same for some people that will reply in the comments section of TSA; maybe even to this article – there are some people that I’ll get to know (or might already know), but others will just remain faceless users that spout funny replies now and then, unfortunately. Not that I should get friendly with every one of you; too much of a good thing can be unhealthy. Another place you’ll find this common trait is in the land of online gaming; I fought a guy on Street Fighter earlier named Metal. That’s all I’ll know of him and I doubt we’ll ever speak to each other, but I still managed to play a game and share joy with him (well, until I beat him that is!).
Those thousands of people in the lobbies I’ve been in whilst playing Call of Duty? I might have shared a joyful experience with most of them, but I’ve actually added five, at most, to my friends list. I remember a few of them clearly: complete strangers that I’ve met whilst playing a game. They were more than just a team mate or even an enemy though; they had personality and entertained me with good conversation, so that’s why I added them. Those people that I had connected with were a tiny percentage of the massive amount people I have played games with. It’s incredible really; you wouldn’t expect to go out into the real world, do a task with some people and then forget them straight after it would you? That’s the way of the internet though.
Around two years ago, I decided to stick with TheSixthAxis, rather than be a faceless guest that came here to simply read the latest news and articles. It could have been so different though; I might never have read that post, forum thread or comment that convinced me to sign-up. I’d have missed out on a lot of people that I now consider friends if I had simply sat back rather than integrate myself into the community. If I hadn’t connected with TSA and just been another passer-by I can’t imagine how different things would be.
StreetPass might not give you the option to get to know the people you’ve connected to more but online gaming, twitter and TSA all do. So, go and talk to some people in a game (if they aren’t screaming or playing music), or get to know the interesting people on Twitter. If you’re a guest, sitting there with your chocolate biscuits and cup of tea, reading this article that happens to lie below the message “You are seeing a cache delayed guest version of the site. Log in to get the most out of TheSixthAxis.” then go on, log in and you’ll definitely get the most out of TheSixthAxis.
And now that you all definitely are logged on: Hello! My name is Blair.