Please note: As of 01/11/2013, SpotPass functionality in Nintendo Letter Box has ceased. Please see the statement about the Nintendo Letter Box SpotPass service for more information.
How do you feel about it now that Nintendo Letter Box is out in the world?
This came up earlier, but we tried various kinds of 3D representation and multiple colour pens. If you do that, though, the controls get complicated and it turns into software only for those with artistic skills. So I carefully selected which functions to include and placed emphasis on something that anyone could write easily, send right away, and use comfortably. As a result, I feel like it turned out to be something that many people can use.
I felt something distinctive about this software during debugging. Exchanging notes with all kinds of staff members was incredibly fun.
It didn’t feel like work? (laughs)
Not at all! (laughs) During debugging, I spent each day eagerly awaiting the messages people would send, so I couldn’t wait for this software to go out into the world. And after release, the response was much greater than we imagined.
An immense number of notes are flying back and forth.
Yes. I checked out the burden on the server, and in the four weeks since release, over ten million notes and comments have been sent around the world.
That’s more than I expected.
We originally expected this software to spread slowly so people could have fun with it over a long period of time.
It’s different than you expected?
Yes. I’ve heard that an amazing number of people, more than I imagined, are exchanging Friend Codes.
It turned out to be a tool for increasing your number of friends.
Games like Mario Kart 77 can also serve to increase your number of friends, but I am surprised and satisfied at how Nintendo Letter Box plays a part in putting people in touch. 7Mario Kart 7: An action-racing game released for the Nintendo 3DS system in December 2011.
What results have you seen, Kitai-san?
I actually bought my Nintendo 3DS system about the time this software came out. A lot of my female colleagues did too, so in no time at all, I had exchanged Friend Codes with about 20 people in my department, and I started getting a lot of messages. When I see messages with the stationery that I made, I think (with feeling), “I’m so glad I made that!” (laughs)
You can exchange Play Coins for stationery.8 I’ve never felt so strongly before that I don’t have enough Play Coins! 8Play Coins: Coins you can get from using the Nintendo 3DS system’s pedometer feature. Users receive one coin per 100 steps. Coins can be exchanged for items and other benefits in compatible software.
I love it when I see company employees always walking around with their Nintendo 3DS systems in order to get Play Coins. (laughs)
Now I would like to finish by hearing what ambitions each of you have with regard to Nintendo Letter Box.
I hope the users will put it to unimagined uses. That was a goal from the start.
You don’t want them to just swap notes but to put the software to all kinds of uses.
Yes. Overseas, some people are using it to play tabletop RPGs.9 9Tabletop RPGs: A kind of group game in which several people gather around a table using pens and paper, among other implements, to progress with an imaginary adventure through conversation and according to agreed-upon rules.
Oh...I see. You could do that.
I hope people will enjoy Nintendo Letter Box by using it in ways that we developers never even imagined.
My hope is something that I thought up part of the way through development, but never told anyone yet.
Oh, that’s nice! (laughs)
We designed the user interface for this software with the top priority being as many people as possible using it. But I wondered exactly how many is “as many as possible” and decided on one hundred million.
I wrote it down on a sticky note, stuck it on my monitor, and worked toward that goal. I hope that this software will encourage people to increase the number of their friends, until there are one hundred million people around the world using it.
Then we have to sell one hundred million Nintendo 3DS systems!
That would be so. (laughs)
I’ll give it my best. (laughs)
(bowing) Please do! (laughs)
My hope picks up on what Takenouchi-san said about unimagined uses. I’m really looking forward to that too. I think it’s really fun trying all kinds of images to put on the stationery, like photos taken using an AR Card10 or something I made with Art Academy: First Semester and Second Semester11. 10AR Card: A type of card included with the Nintendo 3DS system. Users can take a picture of them with their Nintendo 3DS Camera to display characters in 3D on top of them or to play games in 3D. 11Art Academy: First Semester and Art Academy: Second Semester: Art lesson software released as downloadable DSiWare for the Nintendo DS system in Japan in September 2009.
And you can use photos from Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir.12 12Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir: A horror game released in Japan in January 2012 .
Yes! (laughs) I think it would be fun if everyone has a good time using it in conjunction with other software and tools so Nintendo Letter Box takes off in all kinds of directions and people have a great time with it.
If you use photos, it doesn’t matter if you’re artistic or not.
Imai-san, you’re last.
I don’t have any strong ambition per se with regard to this, but I hope people will use it for a long time. When I was a child, my mother worked, and when I came home from school, there would be a handwritten memo on the table.
Like, “Your snack is in the cupboard.”
Yes. I would be happy if people used it on a daily basis like that.
Today you can send texts using your mobile phone, but something handwritten is warmer.
I think so. Conveying feelings toward someone important and investing something with feeling is something that hasn’t changed since I wanted to make a maternity health record book. So I hope family members will use it with each other.
Er...I have something to say related to what Imai-san just said.
I took a plunge and bought one additional Nintendo 3DS system together with a wireless LAN. I took them with me when I went home for New Year’s. I set them up at home, registered my Friend Code, and gave it to my parents, saying, “I’m going to send messages here.” I’ve lived away from home for a long time, so...
It’s different than sending emails or texts.
Completely different. It’s more pleasing when it’s handwritten. I can tell who in my family wrote a message just by looking at the handwriting.
Ah, I see. Even if everyone in the family uses the same Mii character.
Even if they each write something together, I can tell at a glance who wrote which part—which I think is another benefit to handwriting.
I understand. Three years was a long time for development, but you’ve turned out something that will please its users.
It looks like you can do all sorts of interesting things with this software, so it would be great if the users can show us all sorts of interesting uses, and surprise everyone using it, including the developers.
That’s right. I’m looking forward to it.
Thanks for your hard work, everyone.
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