Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Supersize Mii: Getting StreetPasses Without Hitting the Street

I've been talking a lot about the Playstation Vita lately. How 'bout we switch gears and discuss its competitor, the 3DS, in this update?

Nintendo's latest portable may not tear up the highway the way the Vita does, but it has its own charms, including a social gaming app that's way more entertaining than Sony's. While near lets you find other Vita owners in the general area (if any) and trade "game goods" with them (provided you actually have the same games they do...), Nintendo's StreetPass Mii Plaza encourages you to gather a small army of players, who can then be used as power-ups in specially designed games. You can also trade puzzle pieces with fellow 3DS owners, letting you build exciting 3D dioramas of Nintendo's most popular titles. (And Dillon's Rolling Western.)

Yes, that's a squid bandito. Try not to
think too hard about it.
Gathering puzzle pieces scratches that "gotta catch 'em all" itch in a way few games can, but after you've had your 3DS for a while, fresh pieces start to dry up. You won't find them from other players, and you certainly won't get them from that stupid pink bird which takes your Play Coins and hands you the same edge of Mario's shoulder it gave you three times already. (I bet that bird would taste pretty good barbecued.)

Fortunately, there's an easy way to open the floodgates and turn a drought of puzzle pieces into a deluge. You can cook up your own StreetPass relay with a little time and a few affordable ingredients. Here's what you'll need:

One wireless router
One ethernet cable (which should be included with the router)
DD-WRT software
Moderate skill with computers

The router is no big deal, really. They pop up occasionally at garage sales and thrift stores, and if you're wily, you should be able to snap one up for ten dollars or less. I personally bought a Linksys E2000 from a neighbor when they were clearing away the clutter in their house. They wanted three dollars for it, but they took two bucks, a quarter, a Greek drachma, and a paperclip. Like I said, they're cheap if you know where to look.

Wait, don't they make vegetable shortening...?
There's one important thing to keep in mind, though. You can't buy just any old router, because many don't have the juice to run the DD-WRT software you'll need to install on it. In simple terms, DD-WRT is a flavor of the Linux operating system that turns an ordinary wireless router into a powerhouse. The limitations originally set by the manufacturer are shattered, greatly expanding the scope of the device. A StreetPass relay is just one of the handy, dandy uses for a router flashed with DD-WRT... you can also use it as a wireless adapter for an older Xbox 360, instead of the obscenely priced official model.

Here's a list of routers that can be DD-written. Bookmark this list on your smartphone and take it with you while you're shopping, so you're not stuck with an antiquated model. Once you've found the right router, take it home and install DD-WRT using the instructions provided in the list. This is how you'd hack the E2000, the model I've got, but you must use the instructions provided for your own router model! Follow the directions precisely, and after fifteen minutes, your once meek dime store doodad will be ready to roar!

With your router hacked, here's what you do next. Plug the router into a spare power outlet. Next, connect an ethernet cable into one of the ethernet ports on the back of the router, and plug the other end into your computer. Start your internet browser, and type in this address:

Press Enter. You'll be taken to the DD-WRT configuration menu. 

Click the Wireless tab, then type "attwifi" in the Wireless Network Name (SSID) text box.

Now, click the Wireless Security tab. There's a Security Mode dropdown box. Switch the setting to Disabled.

Next, click the Setup tab, then the MAC Address Clone tab underneath it. 

Next to Clone Wireless MAC, enter these numbers:

4E : 53 : 50 : 4F : 4F : 40

Click Apply Settings. Now close the window, unplug the router from your computer, and connect it to your internet source. For me, that's the Netgear 7550 router supplied by Frontier, my internet service provider.

Okay, now turn on your Nintendo 3DS. You should get an alert that the Nintendo Zone is available. Close the shell and wait until the green light on the hinge of your system flashes and glows. Open the 3DS and enter StreetPass Mii Plaza as usual. You should get the full complement of six visitors, most with lots of puzzle pieces. You can also use them with Find Mii, or any of the StreetPass games you've purchased.

Miis! Glorious, puzzle-holding Miis!!
From here, you just unplug your hacked router from the wall and plug it back in eight hours later for a half-dozen more Miis. However, you can go for the gusto and get a LOT more Miis by reconnecting the router to your computer and changing the last digit of the Wireless MAC address. (0 through 9, and A through F are all valid entries.) Click Apply Settings as usual, then reconnect the router to your internet source. 

It's a lengthy process, but it will get you up to ninety-six puzzle pieces in the span of a couple hours, a heckuva lot more than you'd get from the local McDonald's. You'll also get a lot more variety. Your router will find 3DS owners from Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, and bring them straight to you, all for what you would have spent on a Big Mac and fries. That heart attack will have to wait... you've got puzzle panels to finish!

Kiblitzing cannot be held responsible for any damage done to your router, computer, or your relationship when your significant other finds out you're spending hours collecting virtual people on your game system.


  1. Ha ha! Nice post, Jess :) I've long been curious about this kind of thing, so thank you for sharing what looks to be an easy-to-follow guide on how to do it. I'm not sure I'm going to make use of it yet, though. I tend to get a good number of StreetPasses when I actually take my 3DS from my house, and I kind of like the novelty of that. Should those StreetPasses "dry up," though, I'll give this method a shot :)