A little story about Swapnote (Nintendo Letter Box)

During today’s Waypoint Radio, episode 74, Austin mentioned his Pokémon creation*: Purlion, The Porcelain Lion Pokémon! (A Lion who is also a Toilet) which he drew on the friendly Nintendo 3DS messaging service: Swapnote.


Swapnote was a little app where you drew on the post-it sized 3DS screen to send to all your friend-code-exchanged 3DS pals (or the strangers of Streetpass if you liked to live on the wild side), Austin described how its simple design and uniquely private audience - an unintended result of the cumbersome friend-code system I presume - lead to his foray into the world of caricature art. While we must all thank Swapnote for being the catalyst for inspiration for Purlion, I have a personal thank you to the same software by another name: Nintendo Letter Box, as it was called in the PAL region (as envelops my home of the UK), using the metaphor of a postal letter service instead. It even had the same mascot in unique Mii, Nikki:


While I didn’t have any 3DS friends to share them with, I also enjoyed doodling in the _‘slightly bigger than a postage stamp’-_sized touchpad. Then I saw that IGN UK was doing an Easter competition for an eShop voucher. All I had to do was add an IGN testkit friend-code and send them an Easter themed Letter Box message! Might as well find some use for these pictures, right? In retrospect, adding strangers for Nintendo Letter Box is eerily reminiscent of how the service got cut short in the first place… Nevertheless, with friend code added, I sent off an Easter Greeting Kirby and moved on with my day.

Turns out I was one of the six winners! I think I spent my eshop funds on a slightly better 3DS drawing app called Colors 3D which I could get more out of my drawing (and I didn’t need the messaging system anyway). It was a cute little surprise, and made drawing on the 3DS a lot more fun, despite it’s clunkiness. So while I ditched you, I’ll always remember you Nintendo Letter Box!

Do you have any Swapnote stories? What about other apps that got you into drawing (even if the effect was fleeting akin to Austin and I)?

P.S. It’s remarkable how easy it was to find that competition link; Google’s archiving page database putting in work.

*Not to be confused with Danielle’s equally emotive Snartfox, The Porcine, Vulpine, Bidet Pokémon! (Part Pig, part Fox and part Bidet).

Edit- linking to the given Waypoint Radio episode because it’s now up. Plus, Purlion was apparently misspelled.