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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Street Pass LA Take Your 3DS Outside and Be Social

Then the guy in the banana suit walked by interrupting my conversation. It was unexpected by Noah Roman, founder of Street Pass LA and myself and avid gamer and owner of a 3DS. We we're at the Pan Pacific Park around noon, the sun was barely out and we were surrounded by other carriers, carriers of the 3DS.

The 3DS, the portable gaming device made by Nintendo has a feature called Street Pass. You and anyone else who has a 3DS and leaves Street Pass on can interact with each other in multiple ways. A small avatar called a Mii, you create, can visit another persons 3DS via Street Pass. When the two Miis meet they share simple information and messages. There are many games on the 3DS that unlock extra content with Mii's you meet via Street Pass and other gaming extras. Being around other 3DS users you can also play games together like the racer Mario Kart 7, which had a small tournament that day.
Noah Roman photo courtesy of Noelani Solveig Eloise Irvin
Noah Roman in his free time decided to create the group after hearing about a Washington D.C. based Street Pass community and others forming early on when the 3DS first came out. After hearing about them he created his own here in LA and last Saturday was the groups 25th meeting. This time it had the bonus of having special give-away items via Nintendo and Nintendo Handheld Gaming. Bravely Default, a brand new RPG, which is having good reviews all around, was given out in the form of posters, AR cards (special cards you can use with the 3DS), game codes and a special collector's edition of the game through a raffle.

Noah was diligently signing people in and up for the raffle as they arrived and sat down at outdoor auditorium section of the park. I asked him about prizes and if they usually came out of pocket from him, today being an exception with Bravely Default swag. In his red 3DS jacket, which more than one person complimented him on and something you can't get in stores or online, he told me, "... Out of pocket or collected at conventions or some people do donate." There was a pile of not only Bravely Default posters, there were plenty of Nintendo related goodies you could win in the raffle or race.

"We just stick to the basic stuff, do the meets; people come, have fun, talk, you know. All these folks get together and see one another. Sometimes they don't hang out at Street Pass events. This is a fun time for them to come out. They'll know people will be here. They'll know people will play with them. They might not have people in their neighborhood or houses that can play with them. This gives them an opportunity to come out ..." , Noah continued telling me about his group.

Before we could talk further a man in a banana suit came and grabbed every one's attention. Noah signed him in and shook his hand. Someone spouted out, "Oh, yeah it's Banaturday!"; this was not a common occurrence of the group. Later, that same banana suited man would sit down and join his none fruit costumed comrades in Mario Kart 7. He would share with me how nice the full moon looked on the beach the previous night as I peeled him over a few questions. The banana suit's being there or as it was explained to me was also making fun of the rule for that evening's Mario Kart tournament; you could only use bananas as your power-up weapon.

photo courtesy of Noelani Solveig Eloise Irvin
Pens were then thrust into our hands and a Bravely Default quiz was passed out. The quiz was to earn more raffle tickets. You could choose to be brave or default at the top; meaning for brave, if you get everything correct double the raffle tickets, but if anything is wrong no tickets. Those deciding default, no punishment for getting anything wrong. The quiz was a short five minutes and phone on optional. Did you know the game started out as a Final Fantasy title? Apparently, if you went to Wikipedia you'd easily get most of the answers.

Prizes were raffled off shortly after. For the most part though more prizes were given out to anyone who signed in. Your name was drawn and then you picked a slip of paper from a bag for a prize; had your picture taken and went back to socializing or gaming or both.
photo courtesy of Noelani Solveig Eloise Irvin

The group ended the event with more prizes being handed out to the winners of the Mario Kart Tournament  that took place. Noah hugged people and shook hands while packing up and reminding others of the next event in March at the Hollywood Bowl's park area.

You saw many park goers carry off angsty anime androgynous teens on the posters of Bravely Default and somewhere a banana with arm and legs walking off with headphones on his stem.

photo courtesy of Noelani Solveig Eloise Irvin

You can follow Street Pass LA on Twitter and Facebook.

The next Street Pass LA event is March 9 and open to anyone with a 3DS.
photo courtesy of Noelani Solveig Eloise Irvin