A fresh 3DS firmware update went live tonight, and it added a number of previously unannounced new features to Nintendo’s latest handheld (which has apparently been quite popular recently.) In addition to a handy new feature that allows you to back up the save data from any of your digitally downloaded games, Nintendo has added a lot of new content to the system’s popular StreetPass feature, including four new minigames.
The StreetPass Mii Plaza seems to be the focus of this latest update, as four brand new minigames have been added to the Plaza: besides the original PuzzleSwap and Find Mii minigames (included with the system,) the plaza now features StreetPass Shooting, StreetPass Garden, StreetPass Battle, and StreetPass Labyrinth (note: those are the Japanese titles for these games; the English names for these games has yet to be confirmed by Nintendo.) While PuzzleSwap and Find Mii are still free, it appears that these new StreetPass games are paid downloads, as Nintendo of Japan’s website lists each of the new games with a 500 yen (about $5 at current exchange rates,) price tag.
Nintendo has enlisted some A-list talent to create these new StreetPass games: StreetPass Shooting was developed by Good-Feel (the company behind Kirby’s Epic Yarn,) StreetPass Garden was created by GREZZO (who’s probably best known in the West for developing the Ocarina of Time remake for 3DS,) StreetPass Battle was made by Chunsoft (who previously worked on the Dragon Quest and Mysterious Dungeon series’,) and finally, StreetPass Labyrinth was created by Prope, the independent development studio founded by former Sega producer (and Sonic the Hedgehog creator) Yuji Naka.
In addition to the save data utility and the StreetPass content update, Nintendo says that tonight’s firmware update also added a few more of the usual bug fixes and performance improvements to the 3DS’ OS.
Strangely, while users are reporting that the StreetPass update has gone live in Japan and Europe, it doesn’t look like the new StreetPass games are available on American 3DS’ quite yet. The American e-Shop usually doesn’t update until noon EST on Thursdays, so perhaps Americans will have to wait until then to get their hands on the new StreetPass content.
Since the 3DS’ launch more than two years ago, StreetPass’ ability to quickly exchange game data and user info with passers-by has become one of the defining features of the system. I kind of wish Nintendo had released the StreetPass update before E3 though — I picked up hundreds of new people into my Mii Plaza last week (it seemed like almost everybody at E3 had a 3DS on them,) and the convention would’ve been the ideal location to test out all these new StreetPass features. Oh well, I suppose there’s always PAX.