StreetPass Fans, Take Note - NetPass Resurrects One Of The 3DS' Best Features 1
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Despite the fact that the Nintendo Switch is now heading into its twilight years, we've still not gotten over the fact that it missed out on one of the 3DS' best features: StreetPass.

The buzz of seeing that green light can still be felt all these years later, and while it's still possible to get the odd hit when you're out in public (Nintendo Life's Zion Grassl took his 3DS on the road for a year, and we recommend you give the video a watch), it's evident that there are going to be fewer and fewer people carrying their 3DS consoles around with them in 2024.

Indeed, even back when the 3DS was at its peak, there were times when meeting another 3DS owner was a rare occurrence unless you lived in a big city or regularly attended events where lots of other gamers were present.

For those moments, a feature called StreetPass Relay was invaluable; certain locations (such as restaurants and game stores) would act as relay stations, "storing" StreetPass hits and passing them on to anyone who entered carrying a 3DS. Because you didn't need to be in the same physical location as another 3DS owner at the exact same time, these relay points proved to be a massive boon for StreetPass addicts – until, of course, they weren't.

StreetPass Relay got turned off a few years ago – but we're pleased to report that the mechanic is back, and you don't even need to be in a precise location to use it.

NetPass is a fan-made app for your 3DS which allows you to enter 'virtual' locations and trade StreetPasses with people all over the world. Developed by Sorunome, it requires a hacked 3DS to run (something which is so pathetically easy to do these days, you really don't need an excuse to do it).

"In the current state of the world, the 3DS is, sadly, [in] decline," says Sorunome. "That makes getting StreetPasses harder and harder, due to fewer and fewer people taking their 3DS with them on a walk. This is where NetPass comes in! Unlike StreetPass, NetPass works over the internet. Upon opening NetPass, you can pick various locations to go to, i.e. the train station, or a town plaza. Upon entering a location, you get passes [from] others who are in the same location! And, while you are at the location, others who enter it can get passes with you. But beware! You can only switch locations once every 10 hours!"

The best part is that you don't need to leave your 3DS on for NetPass to work. "The pairing of datasets happens server-side," explains Sorunome. "You simply need to check in every so often."

In addition to NetPass, Pretendo (an open-source project that aims to recreate Nintendo Network for the 3DS and Wii U) has released its own take on the format, which means there are now two options for getting those lovely, lovely StreetPass hits the easy way.