SwapNote Tribute – The World Wasn’t Ready

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.

8 thoughts on “SwapNote Tribute – The World Wasn’t Ready

  1. This was absolutely beautiful, a great tribute to an underrated and fun to use app. Though I think 3DS Miiverse may be coming quite soon.

    On the other hand, the WiiU cancellations aren’t a bad thing when you consider a) they were probably going to be crap ports to begin with b) never existed because publishers don’t use brains and c) the WiiU exclusives that became multiplats still did better on WiiU.

    It is the Year of Luigi indeed.


  2. Kudos on the great eulogy celebrating Swapnote’s awesomeness!
    …and the only article I’ve seen in the past few days about the matter that didn’t devolve into ranting about how horrible Nintendo is. You think they’d be angry at the people who ruined the service by sending pics of man-junk to children, but that would be the rational reaction…


    1. Ah thanks for clarifying that. A shame that a few twisted individuals can have such an impact, but Nintendo has to protect their position above all else in case some idiot decides to reign down hell on them.


    2. Oh wow. No wonder Nintendo pulled the plug out of the blue. It’s one thing for consenting adults to swap dick pics with each other, but this… is just sick and wrong.


    3. Yeah. Read about that earlier. Amazing out twisted people will use any multimedia device under the freaking sun to violate the laws and well being of society. I mean using Swapnote on family friendly handheld to commit sexual abuse? Simply outrageous.

      Almost as outrageous though is how people are flaming Nintendo. Honestly, the only reason I’d throw ANY criticism at Nintendo over this decision is for not getting an account system in place on the 3DS to make it easier to apprehend wrongdoers like this specifically. Beyond that, you can’t hold Nintendo to this. It’s clearly stated in the box that Parental Controls are designed to keep kids from using features that might put their well being in jeopardy. If anything, this story should serve as a testament to how horrible our new generation is at parenting. My parents were probably a part of the last generation that actually gave nine d^mns about raising their kids right. Back then, we were promptly beaten for doing stupid life threatening things. Nowadays mothers will buy their kids M rated games with sexual intercourse and guns without a second thought. And then when crud like this happens, they have the audacity to blame the companies and not themselves. I’d like to know what the hell those parents were doing when all this crap was going down. Is it so hard to use Parental Controls to lock out Swapnote?

      Back to Swapnote and Nintendo, I perfectly understand what Nintendo has done. They have crucial reputation as a family friendly company to safeguard. It’s a big part of what helps them stand out from Sony and MS towards the masses and they can’t afford to let that reputation get soiled by incidents like this. If Nintendo didn’t take some sort of action, people would have flamed and sued them (unrightfully) over this issue. Funny thing though is that this sort of BS happens WAY more often on way more POPULAR platforms like Facebook, phones, Youtube, Twitter, and tons of other communication mediums but I don’t see any haters flaming them when those companies when this happens. That GOD DARN Nintendo double standard…


  3. *pours one out for Nikki*

    As some of you know, I loved me some Swap Note. Looking back, there some ideas I wanted to put out, but thought I’d have the time to do it. It truly was a innovative medium that won’t be easily replaced. Sadly I lost my swapnotes from early to mid-2012 when I moved from my 3ds to 3ds XL, but I still there’s still enough to go around, and look back from time to time…


  4. swapnote / swapdoodle is new to me, however, i do love me some doodling. Sad that i’ll have to use swapdoodle though, since its a partially paid thing. (sorry for potential bad grammar, typing on a 2ds Xc


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