I’ve noticed that although a lot of my friends have picked up a brand new 3DS, they’re not using it to its full capacity, and then they complain that it’s not living up to all the promised features. That’s like getting a new car, leaving it in your garage and complaining that it doesn’t take you anywhere.
Before doing anything else in this article, you’ll want to configure your 3DS online with the Wi-Fi protocols of your choice by going into the system menu and setting everything in there. There are a lot of tutorials on this on the net, so I’m not going to waste my blogging space with the details and instead, I’ll move onto the FUN STUFF:
Create your Mii in the Mii Maker, first of all. Without a Mii to represent you, you won’t be able to add friends, play the included StreetPass games, or take advantage of the Mii features of other multiplayer games. Go into the Mii Maker software and create yourself! It’s pretty quick if you find the idea of character creation a hassle, and it can go pretty in depth if you get into it.
Register with your local friends’ 3DS systems when you visit them. Yes yes, we’ve all heard the complaints about how bad friend codes are, so now you only have to use them if you want to register each other over a distance. You can simply register friends between systems by being near each other and hitting the “Register local friend” option in the friend-list on your home menu. Although you don’t need to even register friends if you want to play against each other in online matches, Registering your 3DS friends on your system will allow you to take full advantage of the online structure, see when they’re online, send them personal notes, and otherwise make a more intimate connection with your closest gamer friends when you can’t see each other in person.
Download the following apps. They’re all free, and you should even receive a notification about them within the first few days of connecting your system online:
SwapNote: This is your messaging app. You can send your friends pictures, comics, voice clips, photos, or just plain ol’ hand written notes, and receive the same, along with their replies. As you write notes to each other, new features will unlock, such as an array of stationery you can buy using play-coins, or 3D ink.
Nintendo Video: this app will allow you to receive four 3D videos on your console at a time, usually with a new video every couple of days. The videos cover stop-motion animation, music videos, comedy, movie trailers, and some current events.
(optional) Pokédex 3D [PRO]: (as of this update, Pokédex 3D, the free version, has been replaced in the 3DS eShop with a “PRO” version, costing as much as your average strategy guide, and containing all the information you would expect from an official strategy guide including moves, stat-growths, natures, a move-dex, but additionally includes pronunciation in multiple languages, animation-sets, a photo-mode, and a quiz-game)
Unless you absolutely abhor the concept of Pokémon, in which case, skip this paragraph. Pokédex 3D turns your system into, well, a Pokédex, somewhat similar to the one from the show. It won’t read out the entries, thankfully. A must for any tournament player, and a nice thing to have for any casual player.
Now onto the actual tips.
Don’t turn the system off! The reason you have to hold the power button in for a second, and then touch a second, “power off” panel on the touch screen to actually power off the system, is that it’s meant to be on all the time. StreetPassing and SpotPass downloads happen constantly. You’ll receive videos, notes from your friends, free DLC for your games, and StreetPass Miis, all while your system is sitting in its charging cradle or travelling with you. If you game enough to actually discharge your 3DS during a single work-day, then take your charging cable with you (or get a portable charger, iGo sells some lovely ones) and game worry-free! The only time you’d need to do a hard power-off of your system would be to remove the SD card to transfer music and photos and such.
Explore the included software. Specifically, The Camera app, the sound/music app, Face Raiders and the AR Games. These will accustom you to moving your 3DS in an AR environment while maintaining the 3D effect, and familiarize you with features that will be used in the 3DS games you’ll be playing, so that you won’t be totally lost when, for example, Kingdom Hearts 3D comes packaged with a couple of these “weird little cards”, or how your friends are sending you 3D photographs and voice clips in SwapNote while all you can do is scribble on your notes.
Earn Your Play-Coins. If you don’t know what play-coins are, they are a specific type of currency that is only meant to be spent on in-game purchases. They are a meta-gaming system that allow you to get a little boost in your games simply for going on a walk each day. You can’t sell game items for play coins, they’re only earned through the player’s real-world movement. All you need to do is carry your 3DS around with you from place to place. As you move, the 3DS will detect the motion and add play coins to your account, to a maximum of 10 per day, and 300 total.
Spend Your Play-Coins. That said, there’s no point in amassing play coins if you’re not going to use them. Hire wandering heroes cheaply, or hire old allies expensively for the Find Mii games, and you’ll be storming dungeons. Buy some eggs for Kid Icarus’ Idol Toss, Round out your figure collection in Street Fighter 3D Edition or Dead of Alive: Dimensions, the possibilities are endless!
Play the StreetPass Mii Plaza games. This one is separate because it goes beyond the included software. StreetPass Mii Plaza is something you should boot up every time you see that little light on the corner of your 3DS glow green. In Find Mii (and its sequel once you unlock it), you’ll crawl through dungeons, fighting monsters R.P.G.-style, while collecting loot in the form of hats for your Mii to wear in the Plaza. Every time you pass the same person, they will level up on your system and get stronger, so having roommates with 3DS systems is a big bonus. In Puzzle Swap, you copy pieces of a jigsaw puzzle with your friends, in an attempt to fill it out and create a little 3D cinematic. You can spend your play coins to gamble on getting a new piece, but the chances of getting a new piece decrease as your puzzle fills out.
Keep on the pulse! Nintendo occasionally sends out notifications through its e-shop that certain games will be made free to download for a period of time. I’ve picked up Zelda: Four Swords and 3D Classics: Excitebike so far, and often a new game will include its prequel, or 3D Classics version as a preorder bonus.
Join the club! http://club.nintendo.com is a service that allows you to register your games and earn rewards, such as messenger bags and free VC Games (See: Previous paragraph).
BONUS: Online gaming on the move. If you have a phone with a data plan and a “portable Wi Fi hotspot” capability from 3G to 4G, you can enjoy some online Kid Icarus matches from work, or school, or the food court at the mall, or anywhere that doesn’t provide a free Wi-Fi connection.
Hopefully, with these tips, you can take full advantage of your 3DS and its games. Gaming is slowly becoming more than just the games themselves, and with the upcoming Nintendo Wii U including features such as its own built in TV Channels and social networking, gamers themselves are evolving to make their worlds bigger as well.