1 / 11 / Year of Luigi,
The Nintendo Postman delivered his final SwapNote.
It was a Friday, the air was warm and relaxed as the weekend drifted into view. Nobody was ready for shocking news, and nobody wanted any. It was going to be a simple weekend of videogames and funny drawings until a shocking announcement changed everything. Nintendo announced the SpotPass feature of Nintendo Letter Box / SwapNote on 3DS had been discontinued.
Despite highlighting Nintendo Europe and America’s inability to communicate by having two different names, Nintendo Letter Box / SwapNote brought gamers around the world together and celebrated expression. For the sake of readability I’m just going to refer to it as SwapNote from now on. Myself and many readers of this site have used SwapNote as an almost exclusive way to communicate since we update so infrequently (sorry about that), and this comes as a hard hit to the communication and liberation of many gamers around the world. The combination of sound + 3d photo + bad drawing has proven to be too powerful in the hands of certain individuals.
We can only speculate the cause as Nintendo’s press release is coated in the vague and ominous flavour they have perfected through decades of disappointments and delays. Could it simply have been boobs and dicks with #yolo and #swag written in 3D? Perhaps a Nintendo postman had a mental breakdown from all the stupid passing through the Letter Box. Or was it a more offensive and specific type of porn?
Maybe it extends further and people were using SwapNote to communicate and organise a threatening event; like a crazy fan campaign to bring Disaster: Day of Crisis to the USA. Perhaps a rival company submitted a circumstantial case to Nintendo and threatened them? Regardless, it appears there was something on Nintendo’s server that they didn’t want there, as the StreetPass function of the software remains.
Nikki’s very first SwapNote. It all started with good intentions, as creative possibilities filled our innocent heads with good vibrations. The software was so inspiring it was voted Game of the Year by Pietriots in our 2011 roundup, and still holds the honour of being the only game to win a Pietriots GOTY award.
“It’s a whole new level of messaging that makes Twitter and Facebook feel boring and empty. It transforms the “complexity” of images, sound and animation all at once, into one of the most natural things.”
Unfortunately, too many people did not give Nikki the courtesy of following this one rule. Nintendo’s decision to shut down the service was swift with no prior warning, and the action has been taken along with Nintendo’s trust in us. In this quarantined time of region-locked Wii Fit U communities, gamers are being pushed further apart despite technological hurdles disappearing. The optimistic shot of energy from a SpotPass notification on the 3DS menu has been replaced with a cold chill of uncertainty. It’s been a tough year to comprehend with Wii U games being cancelled, struggling sales of new IPs, journalists drowning in the Doritocean, companies going under and legendary franchises being exchanged for mobile scrap metal. However, our spirits must remain high in the Year of Luigi. Nintendo trusted us to enjoy the service responsibly and we let them down, the only thing we can do now is be optimistic and set a good example. With multiple Luigi games this year and Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Pokemon X & Y bringing gamers around the world together in an unprecedented way, there’s a lot to be celebrating.
I was going to post some of the best SwapNotes I’ve received, but they are all special in their own personal ways and I can’t do them justice with off-screen single frame photographs. They are best left as memories inside our 3DS. I have hundreds on here I have collected from my friends (you guys) over the last two years, and every single of you brought joy to my 3DS and to my heart. You might think you’re bad at drawing but I can see through that, what’s important is the message and everybody who gave it a go.
Thanks for putting up with us, Nikki. Enjoy your time off, we might see you again in Super Smash Bros when you’re ready to take care of unfinished business. Until then, we must look in the mirror and do what we can to improve ourselves and replace all our bad intentions with compassion and respect.