10 things to do on a Nintendo 3DS besides 3D gaming

by Alex Morgen on March 29, 2011

in Nintendo DS, DSi, 3DS News Bits

Nintendo 3DS features

The main feature of the Nintendo 3DS is 3D gaming without the glasses. But there are many other great features the Nintendo 3DS offers in addition to 3D games. When you are ready to take a break from 3D gaming, or if you are curious on what other unique features the 3DS offers, here are some things you should check out. Features noted below are all included with the Nintendo 3DS system, so break it out of the box and have fun!

Nintendo 3DS features - System update: 3DS Music Video1 – Launch a System Update for a free 3D music video.

Go to the System Settings icon and select “Other Settings.” Look for the “System Update” option in the fourth menu screen. The 3DS will go online and get the latest system update, along with a 3D version of the “White Knuckles” music video from OK Go. The download may take some time, and I didn’t notice the progress bar moving, so be prepared to set aside your 3DS for some time (depending on your internet connection and how busy Nintendo’s servers are). Note that the video will self destruct on a future System Update, so make sure to check it out soon!

2 – Take your 3DS for a walk for Play Coins and StreetPass sharing.

When the Nintendo 3DS system is closed while powered on (Sleep Mode), the pedometer is active. Your Nintendo 3DS will encourage you to take it out for a walk for bonus in-game content by rewarding you with Play Coins. Each day, a maximum of 10 Play Coins can be earned. One Play Coin is rewarded for every 100 steps you take. So that means once you’ve hit 1,000 steps, you’ve earned the daily maximum of 10 Play Coins. Up to 300 Play Coins are stored at a time, so remember to use them up. Play Coins and steps taken are displayed in the top left of the upper 3DS screen. In addition to using Play Coins in Mii Plaza games (such as unlocking a Mario hat for your Mii), several other games like Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition allow you to redeem Play Coins for in-game rewards.

Nintendo 3DS features - Activity Log and Play Coins

StreetPass is another 3DS feature that is active while the Nintendo 3DS is closed. The included StreetPass Mii Plaza is activated once you create a Mii. Collect Miis from other 3DS players using StreetPass when you’re out for a walk. Character greeting, nickname and recent game played is some of the information that is shared. Don’t worry about personal information being distributed. Designate any of your Miis as your StreetPass Mii to share it. You can turn StreetPass functionality on or off for individual applications or games from the StreetPass Management option in the System Settings, Data Management menu.

3 – Share your Friend Code and add Friend Codes.

Nintendo 3DS features - Friend CardThat little orange happy face in the top Home menu screen is your Friend List, a much improved feature over the Wii’s Address Book. The first time you use it, you’ll setup your Friend Card, which is made up of your Mii, a brief greeting message, and displaying your favorite software or game from the titles you’ve played. A unique 12 digit Friend Code is automatically assigned. That is what you can use to give your Friend Code to others. Make sure you get a Friend Code in return to complete the Friend Card registration on your 3DS. Friends can be added using the Local option or the Internet option. A maximum of 100 friends can be stored in the Friend List. The Friend List is a great way of seeing what other Nintendo 3DS gamers are currently playing or what their favorite software is. Anytime a Friend comes online, the Nintendo 3DS Notification LED flashes orange for five seconds. Should you want to go stealth, there is an option in “Friend Notification Settings” to show or hide your online status as well as what game you are playing. Add your Friend Code in the comments below to share it and find other 3DS Friends!

4 – Import Miis from your Nintendo Wii and share them with QR Codes.

If you want to bring over your favorite Miis from your Nintendo Wii, you can do that with from the Mii Maker menu. Select the “Send/Receive” option and then the “Mii Channel (Wii) option.” The Nintendo 3DS will go into transfer mode and instruct you on how to transfer from the Nintendo Wii. Remember to mark some Miis as favorites for them to appear in other Mii enabled games. Select “View Mii Characters,” click on a Mii and select “Edit,” then click on the “Next” option. Tap the “Sharing” option to enable the Mii for sharing and showing up in Mii supported games.

To generate a QR code from a Mii, go to the Mii Maker, select “QR Code/Image Options,” and then select “Save Mii as QR Code.” A unique QR Code image is saved to the Nintendo 3DS SD Card. Download the QR Code graphic to your computer (must have a SD Card reader or slot). Email or post your Mii QR Code online to share it. All your Nintendo 3DS friend has to do to receive the Mii from the QR Code is go to the Mii Maker, select “QR Code/Image Options,” and select “Scan QR Code.” And like that, your Mii appears in their 3DS!

Nintendo 3DS Miis - "Save Mii"

5 – Create a desktop scene of virtual Miis.

Want to setup a Mii scene and pose them on your desk? Imagine playing with Miis like virtual action figures and get creative. It’s pretty easy, and fun, to do. Launch AR Games and select the “Mii Pics” option. You can select a Mii from your collection and pose and position them on a scene (like your desktop). Setup their expression, pose, size and even turn “eye contact” on to have the Mii look towards you. Get the right angle and then take a photo! The picture is saved to the SD card and can be viewed from the Nintendo 3DS Camera option.

6 – Play some AR Games and draw up your own augmented reality character.

Nintendo 3DS AR Games - GraffitiAR Games is Nintendo’s friendly name for Augmented Reality gaming. This superimposes a graphic in any setting you can capture with the 3DS camera. Where the 3DS beats out other previous augmented reality games is that you can see augmented reality images in 3D, making for a more immersive setting. The portable format of the 3DS camera is also much better than that of other desktop or console systems, making it easier to move around and explore augmented reality scenes. There are three AR games and three AR applications included with the 3DS. AR Games include Fishing, Archery and AR Shot (like mini golf). AR applications include the above mentioned Mii Pics (see #5), Star Pics (seeing virtual 3D models of included Nintendo AR Character Cards: Mario, Link, Samus, Pikmin and Kirby), and a favorite of AR application of mine, Graffiti. In Graffiti, you can draw your own augmented reality image and add effects to it. You can reposition your drawing and make it jump around a scene as well.

7 – Take 3D pictures and add effects.

The included Nintendo 3DS Camera application lets you take pictures in 3D using the Nintendo 3DS outer cameras. If you want to take a picture of yourself in 3D, there is a timer option that will help to do that. The timer can be set to 3 seconds, 10 seconds, or even be activated by voice. Pictures can be saved in 3D and saved to the SD card to share in 2D. The default 3D focus mode is set to auto focus, but the 3D focus can be manually adjusted by clicking on the little Tool Lever icon on the lower right of the screen and clicking the icon with three arrows. Other options available from the Tool Lever allow camera effects like merging two pictures into one, adjusting brightness, setting color effects, and adding some sparkle effects on a picture by blowing on the Mic (effects include bubbles, confetti, and more).

8 – See what games you are playing most in Activity Log.

The Activity Log not only shows how many steps you’ve taken each day, but how many games you’ve played. Nintendo 3DS and DS games, as well as other applications, are cataloged in your virtual book in the “Software Library.” Stats like the first time you played the game to how many hours you’ve spent in the game are logged. This is an easy way to see what games you play the most, which can be arranged by Play Time, Play Frequency, Average Time Played, Date First Played, and Date Last Time Played. Your 3DS is taking note of your gameplay habits.

Nintendo 3DS features - Activity Log Book

9 – Use your Play Coins in Find Mii or Puzzle Swap.

Nintendo 3DS features - Find MiiRedeem those Play Coins (remember, a maximum of 300 can be stored) for items for your Mii or unlocking images in Puzzle Swap. Select the Mii Plaza then the “Play” option to launch Find Mii or Puzzle Swap. Find Mii is a great little RPG-like game, where you must rescue your captured Mii. Players must first “Hire a Hero” using Play Coins. At least one hero must be added to your party to start. Players engage enemies through a series of rooms and attack in RPG turn-based sword or magic attacks. One of the first items unlocked is a Mario Hat for your Mii. Find Mii is a game that will keep you coming back for more and motivate players to take their 3DS while out on a walk.

10 – Import music, share your playlist, and display 3D visualizers.

Transfer over some music files (MP3, M4A, MP4, 3GP) to Nintendo 3DS Sound using the included 2GB SD Card. Just put your SD Card into a computer and drop the music files in the main folder of the SD Card. Once you put the SD Card back into the 3DS, it will pickup the tracks and add them to your playlist. Your playlist can be renamed and arranged. The Nintendo 3DS will continue to play the music while closed (in Sleep Mode). Songs can even be added to StreetPass by clicking on the “Add…” option when the song is playing. Details that are shared with other Nintendo 3DS StreetPass players include the following song information: Artist, Song, Album, Release Year and Play Count. Find and share playlists to use the StreetPass “Compatibility” feature or “Hit Parade” and see if you have the same music interests as other 3DS gamers. Also included in Nintendo 3DS Sound are 3D visualizers. From 3D audio waveforms to ships flying through a 3D tunnel (and shooting while tapping L/R buttons), there are a neat variety of effects to zone out to while playing music. There is more to do in Nintendo 3DS Sound, like creating and editing audio clips, so dig deeper into it when you can.

Nintendo 3DS features - Nintendo 3DS Sound

There is plenty of fun to be had from the Nintendo 3DS out of the box, including other features not mentioned here (such as the included Face Raiders game). Nintendo 3DS owners who want more information on an application or game can simply select its icon from the Home Menu and click on “Manual” for more details on it. Notifications from games and Nintendo 3DS applications also add bits of information (green icon in top right of the menu). Finally, don’t forget to register your Nintendo 3DS at club.nintendo.com for an extension on your Nintendo 3DS system warranty and 160 Nintendo Club Coins. The Nintendo 3DS is a big step forward for Nintendo’s portable DS family, including many new additional features and online options as well as some incredible 3D effects.

The Nintendo 3DS is now available in Aqua Blue and Cosmo Black. More details on the Nintendo 3DS are available at www.nintendo.com/3ds.

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