Editorial: 3DS Coin Conundrum (by Robbie P.)
January 11, 2011, by Robbie P. - A unique achievement type system was recently announced for the Nintendo 3DS leaving gamers wondering what possibilities it may hold. From what is known at the moment, gamers who carry their Nintendo 3DS systems around will have their steps tracked, similar to the function of a pedometer. These steps are then converted into coins. Essentially meaning that the more you walk, the more coins you can accumulate. What gamers can then do with those coins hasn't been officially disclosed, but there have been some suggestions that it will unlock content within video games. I want to take a moment and write about the different uses I would like to have for these coins.
I would like to address the possibility of using the coins to unlock game content as my first topic. If using the accumulated coins to unlock content were an option, I can envision two possible scenarios. The first scenario would involve unlocking content such as additional levels, power-ups, playable characters and other content that would affect how the game is played. While it may be exciting to have new content like this, there could be some downfalls. For example, say if unlocking an additional level were the only way to see the true ending for a game, would you feel cheated?
This may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but what if some out of the ordinary circumstance prevented you from accumulating coins. You would lose out on seeing the true ending of a game and wasting your hard earned money. I trust Nintendo wouldn't allow something like that to happen, but I am just looking at the possible bad side first. I know it can be handled better, and that would involve providing gamers auxiliary content instead of content essential to the ending. Gamers could still download new levels to play, with the reward being new challenges to extend replay value. New characters, as mentioned before, would also fit in this theory perfectly, as long as the experience is inessential to the outcome.
The second scenario would involve content that would be secondary to the story. Meaning the content should never play a role in the story, or ending. Content that could easily do this include: new character costumes, remixed music, or even quirky modes, such as big head mode for example. There is no possible way, in my mind that these changes could affect the outcome of the game; therefore, there should be no controversy.
Other ways Nintendo could possibly use this coin system is to provide gamers with content outside of the game. By that I mean, real, physical content that you can admire outside of the game, such as items from Club Nintendo. Imagine being able to use your accumulated coins for Club Nintendo prizes. That would be very awesome indeed. Do I truly see this happening? Not really, as there will surely be a way to trick the 3DS into thinking the system is being toted around. Giving us access to awesome Club Nintendo items would be a fantastic idea, and I wish it happens. However, there will be somebody that cheats the system to obtain their goods in a greasy fashion.
As you see, there are a number of things that could become of this new system. Maybe we will also be able to use these coins towards Virtual Console purchases. I would like all the above to become a reality, only if the experience remains optional. Are there any other wishes you would like for this new form of currency? Perhaps I am way off and Nintendo has completely different intentions for these coins. Seeing as they are tied to the StreetPass function, maybe it allows you to brag about your coin total to complete strangers. Whatever the function may be, sound off in the forum to give your opinion.