The Power of StreetPass: NYC's First Meet Up (by Leroy S.)
April 18, 2011, by Leroy S. - April 16, 2011 was a day that changed my outlook on StreetPass forever. Each day I only managed to pick up about 2 hits or less, and each day it was a bit disappointing to see 3DS owners refusing to take full advantage of the system's capabilities. A friend of mine told me that keeping my 3DS in sleep mode wasn't worth it, to which I felt a huge slap in my face. He's pretty much the motivation I needed to show why StreetPass was indeed a game changer.
I rolled into Union Square rather early, around 12:30 PM. It was fairly devoid of any 3DS gamers, because the event wasn't to begin until 2 PM. I decided to pay a visit to the Best Buy nearby, the same one where Isaiah-Triforce Johnson waited an entire week for the 3DS launch. I could see there were remnants of the launch party still there, with the 3DS logo plastered about on the walls. I played on the demo unit there, setting a high score on a Pilotwings Resort training level just to set a precedent for whoever came to play next. I killed time by playing Mario Sports Mix on their Wii, and it was pretty great. I only played the basketball section, as I was a previous owner of Mario Hoops 3-on-3 on the Nintendo DS.
I could only elapse 30 minutes and I went back to standing in Union Square, just waiting for people to show up. I was watching two men play chess in the rain, until my friend David -- who I met at the Pokemon Black & White launch party -- showed up at the behest of my invitation. Sooner or later, someone inquired about the StreetPass NYC event. Tony Ness was my first StreetPass hit of the event. I did say how I was following up on their fan page and Twitter for any updates that were forthcoming. Rain was falling and I was frantically wiping off my screens with a cloth I kept packed in my 3DS pouch (the one from Club Nintendo).
Sooner or later, as people saw myself and Tony duke it out in Super Street Fighter IV, suddenly people begin to swarm us a bit with 3DS systems. It was comparable to a flash mob, but a bit downsized. I stopped playing and began chatting with the people as they wondered when the founder, Jordan White, was coming. I passed the word around about him being late and soon enough, more people began to whip out their systems and StreetPass lights all around began to flicker. I'm pretty sure my own stayed solid green throughout the entire event. Most of us had to shelter our 3DS systems from the rain so we took refuge under the roof of a stairwell leading into the nearby train station.
There were people from NYC, as well as New Jersey (and surprisingly, New Hampshire) who stopped by to StreetPass with us, chat about gaming, share Find Mii tips and take 3D photographs. There was also a female with a Japanese 3DS near us who we couldn't pinpoint, but seeing as how she was playing Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle, we all agreed it was definitely a Japanese 3DS system.
We were side by side with a protest -- an animal rights group, if I recall correctly -- so we were trying to be courteous and make space for them to voice their opinions. Out of the goodness of my heart, David and I signed a petition for them. I also met Robert, the founder of StreetPass Princeton (based in New Jersey), and he shared a few words with myself and David. He had this awesome helmet in my Mii Plaza, which he explained was for beating the Find Mii game. He was also my first StreetPass hit on Nintendogs + Cats.
There was a familiar face I saw that I just couldn't put my finger on. It was this lady who I'm sure I saw at the Pokemon Black & White launch event back in March, and also the Super Mario 25th Anniversary party in November, both at the Nintendo World Store. Suddenly, this lady pulled out a Nintendo Week microphone, and I thought to myself, "no way, it's one of their producers!" Nintendo sent them out to cover the event, since they have been tweeting about the StreetPass groups for the past week or so. Neither Gary nor Alison were there (they were "on vacation") so she was there to interview a few of us, including myself. Many people were there including a young player with his mother, a couple, a few 20-somethings (eat your heart out, Tretton) as well as a man who I could definitely place in the late 40's, as his hair was glistening white. They captured footage of us just having fun with our systems, as well as footage of our Miis in action on the 3DS.
It was hard trying to fend off the rain and winds, but we managed anyways. The founder arrived as I saw him conversing with a few people on the stairs of the park. I made my way over, chatted a bit and told him about the Nintendo Week crew being here. I spread the word to those under the stairwell roof, as well as the producer from Nintendo Week.
Nintendo Week interviewed him, and we all got together for a group photo (in 2D and 3D). I counted 50+ people who attended, on the grounds that my Mii Plaza increased from 15 to 62 by the end of the day. I didn't really share out friend codes so often (only shared 2) but I was able to give Jordan a few of the "special" Miis I had on my 3DS: Peter Griffin, Duke Nukem, Naruto and Brock from Pokemon. I think I also sent over my own Mii. He had the big AR cards with him, but with the wet ground and windy atmosphere, it was hard getting him to lay them out. He did, but for a short while. He also gave away the huge Mario AR card to the youngest person there, which was pretty awesome.
After a break to get some food with David and another person I met at the event, I went back to catch the remnants of the event and bid a fond farewell to the people there, including Jordan and soon enough, my friend David. I went home feeling very satisfied, and changed. StreetPass was really changing the way how gamers interacted with each other and these groups popping up around the world are really dedicated to the cause for which it stands. I'll probably be thinking about going to the next meet-up slated for April 22, at Penn Station. This was to be the rain date in case the rains threw off some people (which it did, surprisingly in light of all those who braved the weather).
I left that event with 50+ tags, a combined 100+ if you factor in other StreetPass-enabled software (like Street Fighter, Nintendogs + Cats and even 3DS Sound). Honestly, I can't wait to rub this in my friend's face. Maybe I'll drag him to a meet-up to change his own perspective. The power of StreetPass is definitely no joke.