The Nintendo Switch user experience is, for the most part, extremely lacking and unimaginative in comparison to those of its competitors. It has the foundations for what a console should include, but at the cost of personality. For example, Switch launched four years ago, and we still don’t have the option to purchase themes! The Nintendo eShop still looks as bland as it did at launch, with the only exciting addition being the temporary Mario takeover. All of this is made even more disappointing after the 3DS and Wii U, which offered a great user experience. However, two of the most underappreciated features on Nintendo’s previous consoles were Miiverse and StreetPass.
Being able to share your experiences with other Nintendo fans was an exciting concept. Miiverse focused on sharing content online with other players, while StreetPass allowed you to connect with those around you. Unfortunately, Miiverse closed its doors in November 2017, and StreetPass has become a thing of the past with most 3DS owners making the jump to Switch.
However, the portability of Nintendo Switch is perfect for StreetPass, as a lot of people carry their console around with them, especially the Switch Lite. Miiverse would also be perfect for Switch, as the sharing functions on the platform feel a lot more restrictive in being confined to Twitter and Facebook. Both Miiverse and StreetPass deserve another chance in the spotlight.
Miiverse, a social experience like no other
Let’s be honest — Miiverse had a lot of nonsense that circulated in games such as Splatoon. Some posts could include questionable content, particularly due to Nintendo’s poor moderation of the entire platform. Despite all this, Miiverse allowed you to share your love for Nintendo’s games by posting screenshots, drawings, and messages. Each game had its own hub that you could explore, with most Nintendo franchises having an entire area of Miiverse dedicated to them. For instance, when The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was announced, back when fans called it “Zelda U,” the Zelda-related communities were filled with speculation and some excellent fan art.
It was truly a unique experience, something that you can’t really do on other platforms. Yes, Twitter exists, but Nintendo’s approach to a social media setting was a lot more fun in comparison. However, the best part about Miiverse was its direct connectivity with a majority of the Wii U and 3DS’s first-party titles.
Some games had Miiverse-specific features, such as the Tingle Bottle in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, a replacement for the original’s Tingle Tuner. The Tingle Bottle allowed you to send helpful (or useless) messages to other players by placing it in a nearby body of water. This was a fun feature to use, as sometimes hints about items and points of interest could be found. Meanwhile, other games incorporated Miiverse differently, such as Super Mario 3D World, which added a variety of stamps that you could use in your Miiverse posts.
Nintendo Switch’s sharing capabilities are boring in comparison. Although I am able to take screenshots and record short videos, it doesn’t match the enjoyment of sharing my content with fellow Nintendo fans, and social media alternatives like Twitter make it harder to interact with others since they’re not specific to games.
If Miiverse were to return on Nintendo Switch, it should be included as a part of Nintendo’s online service. Miiverse would add a bit more personality to what can be considered a lackluster subscription and give the console a stronger sense of community. It could also be integrated into the Nintendo Switch Online app, allowing you to post messages anytime you want. My only concern would be the moderation of posts, which, to be honest, was nonexistent during the Wii U era.
StreetPass, addictive side activities on the go!
StreetPass was extremely addicting, especially if you took your 3DS outside with you. I carried that blasted thing everywhere. I took it on holidays, car journeys, and more importantly to school (don’t tell my mum). There were all sorts of activities, two of which were included for free, and a variety of paid add-ons. All things StreetPass were located in StreetPass Mii Plaza, a hub of sorts that allowed you to access its main contents. StreetPass Quest was particularly addictive, a mini-game where you use other players’ Miis to battle enemies in order to save your own Mii character. There was also Puzzle Swap, a mode where you collect puzzle pieces by encountering other players. It was a lot of fun, but Mii Plaza wasn’t the only available option for StreetPass.
Just like with Miiverse, a variety of Nintendo 3DS games used StreetPass to offer some unique gameplay opportunities. Not many games used this functionality, as most of the StreetPass content was restricted to Mii Plaza. However, the best example of a game’s usage of the service is Animal Crossing: New Leaf, as you were able to unlock house data from another player if you walked past them. Nintendo’s official website specifically states that this was intended to give players “decor tips” and would allow you to order featured items from someone else’s house. Other examples include Mario Kart 7, which allows you to download player information and ghost data, and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, with StreetSmash — a mode exclusive to the 3DS version.
Bringing StreetPass to Switch would encourage Switch owners to take their console out with them, just like with Nintendo 3DS’s version of the service. With the Switch’s advancements in technology, the system would be able to feature a variety of StreetPass-exclusive games. I would also campaign for Puzzle Swap and StreetPass Quest to return, as I spent way too much time with each of them. Instead of being a part of Nintendo’s online service, a Switch version of StreetPass should be preinstalled on the console, allowing users to connect with those around them immediately. However, similar to Miiverse, Nintendo would need to figure out a way to moderate it, as there have been some interesting posts from its users. On a completely unrelated note, does anyone remember Lonk from Pennsylvania?
Miiverse and StreetPass on Switch: Let’s do it!
Even though it is unlikely to happen, I’d very much like for both of these features to make a return in the future. I was there for Miiverse’s final moments, and it was a heartbreaking ordeal, with its users creating a variety of goodbye posts. And when I got the Nintendo 3DS at launch, StreetPass helped me with the initial long periods between software launches. It provided a different kind of experience to Miiverse and allowed you to experience social-based gameplay in a more indirect manner.
Watching Nintendo remove Miiverse features from the Switch’s Wii U ports was especially upsetting to me, as I was familiar with their original purpose in games such as Super Mario 3D World. It is a shame to see how Nintendo is approaching the Switch user experience, and I sincerely hope that it starts to add more personality to it. What do you think about this? Should Miiverse and StreetPass return on Nintendo Switch?