National StreetPass Day London – PopBucket Investigates

National StreetPass Day 2013 - Waterloo Station, London

A seemingly impregnable huddle of people is actually causing so many Miis to float through the air, we were worried we’d breathe them in.

PopBucket was definitely on the ground in a big way for Eurogamer Expo this year, with plenty to mention on the titles on the show floor. For 3DS-heads, Earl’s Court was surely a StreetPass bonzanza — yet as we all know, Nintendo had an event or two of their own up their cheeky, fun-loving sleeves.

Waterloo Station in London hosted one of two official Nintendo StreetPass events this weekend, and we were in attendance to score some hits. It was a popular event for individuals from all walks of life, from families and students to core Big N fans and one or two bewildered passers-by roped into the fun — “I don’t even have a 3DS, just a regular DS… but I tried Mario Kart 7 in a multiplayer competition and they gave me this chequered flag,” remarked one cheerfully bemused commuter in our general direction.

The prizes themselves could be won for participating in several events, and the event stand was cunningly arranged to incorporate a big yellow StreetPass Plaza gate for people to enter. That said, it was difficult to see anything among the hunched-over players, yet it was here that the event came into its own. Ever wanted that ‘100 StreetPass hits in a day’ accomplishment? Ever wanted to fill those Puzzle Panels like there was no tomorrow? StreetPass Battle saw kingdoms descend upon kingdoms en masse, whilst space-fighters engaged in pod-laden StreetPass Squad dogfight shenanigans in every direction. Not noisy or raucous, it was instead a strange huddled-together festival of camaraderie among strangers — new friendships were forged, and random acts of kindness were endearingly rife. Plaintive cries of “Noooo, my light’s flashing red!” were received by people you’d never met before declaring, “Here, borrow my charger and sit in that coffee shop!”

Events were held throughout the day, ranging from Animal Crossing mischief to Mario Kart 7 tournaments — the winner of which received one of those magnificent real-life trophies we all would dearly love to hold. Other prizes included lanyards, tote bags and Pikmin 3 keyrings. That said, the lucky dip for prizes was a kitchen rubbish bin, which was rather odd.

For all its jocularity, it’s here that the Waterloo Station event showed a little tarnish. It was great seeing the Luigi costume, everyone having fun, chaos and jollity in abundance — yet as difficult as such an event must be to organise, the event space itself was quite cramped, as though the turnout had been much larger than expected. It would also have been fantastic to see some up and coming 3DS games alongside established titles; whilst it’s true that’s what Eurogamer Expo is for, why not spread the promotion of new games to multiple locations when the chance arises?

Although pocked with endearingly clumsy imperfections, there is no doubting that the event was a great one for getting almost ridiculously high numbers of new Miis, as well as meeting new people and having a great time among like-minded fans. We’d love to see Nintendo take the initiative and bring such events to a bigger audience — StreetPass is one of the defining features of the Nintendo 3DS, and the greater leverage the Big N can make of it, in Britain and beyond, the better things are for handheld fans everywhere.

And sweet pogo-sticking Jesus, did we ever get a lot of Puzzle Panel pieces!

Author: Tony White

Narcissistic manchild Tony is known for his penchant for red and black, and was the accidental but grateful namesake of a sandwich in a Norwich coffee shop. He appreciates any media that doesn’t take itself too seriously. He doodles, does a weird webcomic and self-publishes comedy novels despite popular demand.

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PopBucket’s Eurogamer Expo 2013: Awards and round up