The 3DS has a pedometer, the Pokewalker is a pedometer. Both give you things for walking. Which one is better? Let’s take a stroll and find out.
The notion of your 3DS talking to other 3DS’s as you walk about isn’t anything new. You could put Nintendogs on Bark mode and you’d get stuff from other people who also had it on Bark mode. For the record, I never got anything from anyone. Not once. So sad and lonely was my little puppy. The 3DS takes this notion of your console communicating with other consoles further out with the Mii StreetPass as well as ties into games such as Nintendogs and Super Street Fighter IV: 3D. With Nintendogs, your puppy gets presents from other puppies. In SSFIV:3D, you get beatdowns from other players. With the Mii StreetPass you can have other Mii’s come live in your 3DS. Why you’d want this, I don’t know. I have a bunch of strange Miis on my Wii and I never use them. They’re kind of creepy, to be honest.
The problem with the StreetPass system is that Americans typically don’t spend their time surrounded by other people as much as folks in Japan do. Mass transit is big in pockets of the US, certainly, but not to the extent it is in Japan. If you’re in the US and you want to take advantage of the various StreetPass features of the 3DS, you have to either go to a gaming convention like PAX or go to Japan. So Nintendo threw a pedometer into the 3DS, as if to say, hey, go out and walk around and you’ll find other people who are also walking around.
As I’ve talked about before, the Pokewalker has a similar purpose. It wants you to go and walk around, and for your efforts you can unlock Pokemon not available in the main game, as well as get items for battling.
So, which one is better? In the interest of science, I took a stroll to find out.
So here you can see my 3DS and my PokeWalker before my stroll. That canine butt you see is the butt of my Great Dane puppy Rufus. Rufus and I haven’t spent a lot of time together. He’s learned a couple of tricks, eaten a bunch, drank a bunch, peed and pooped a bunch, just like a real dog. He also doesn’t listen to me worth a damn during the frisbee competition. Also like a real dog. One of the best things about the pedometer in the 3DS is that I can boot up Nintendogs, take Rufus for a walk, close the 3DS, put it in my pocket and walk around and my real life steps are converted into steps with Rufus. Basically, I get credit for spending time with Rufus by taking a walk I was going to take any way. Below Rufus’ butt is my PokeWalker with Bronzor in it. Bronzor is one of my PokeWalker fodder Pokemon. They exist simply to walk. I don’t use them for anything but walking so I don’t care that they’re leveling up only in the PokeWalker. I don’t even know if I’ll bring them over to Pokemon White, so little do I care about them outside of walking. It is what it is. There are hundreds of beasts in the games. One has to draw a line somewhere.
As you can see from the picture, Rufus and I haven’t walked at all. Bronzor and I have. Bronzor got clipped to the exercise bike pedal and went for multiple spins this morning as well as was on my belt as I went around my morning. That’s why Bronzor has three thousand steps so far. From a utility perspective, clipping the PokeWalker on your belt is much lighter and more comfortable than carrying the 3DS around in your pocket, but preparing the PokeWalker for walking, by choosing a Pokemon and syncing it up is more cumbersome than simply turning the 3DS on and closing it. So I guess it’s a draw.
So for this test, I loaded up Nintendogs, said I wanted to go out with Rufus, closed the 3DS and put it in my pocket. I then took Bronzor off of my belt and clipped him to the same pocket on my other leg in order to rule out any pant related preferential treatment. I have no idea how these things work so it seemed only fair that both pedometers be in the same, basic place. I can tell you that with my pants weighed down by technology, I felt like I needed a bigger belt. Equipped thusly I went to the mall to get my wife a birthday present.
So here we are upon my return. In case you don’t have a calculator at the ready, Bronzor nabbed 1947 steps to Rufus’ 1525. Both Bronzor and Rufus were very happy with their stroll. Rufus found me some high heeled shoes and Bronzor found some more watts. Rufus got a bowl of food and a bowl of water for his troubles. Bronzor got nothing, but only because I can’t feed him. Plus, I have no idea what he’d eat. I have no idea how many steps I actually took, but given how small the PokeWalker is compared to the 3DS, I can see it registering steps more easily than the 3DS on account of it being more easily jostled. Seeing how the fate of the world is not dependent upon accurate step tracking, I’m not going to sweat the differences. So again, let’s call this a draw.
From a rewards perspective, it’s not so easy to declare a winner. The 3DS rewards you with game coins. Walk a hundred steps and you’ll get a coin. Not a bad rate of return. The problem is that the most coins you can earn in a day on your 3DS is 10 coins. Which means that after walking 1000 steps, something all but the most sedentary individual can accomplish, the 3DS doesn’t give you anything. The PokeWalker, on the other hand, not only rewards you for more steps, but it actually demands more steps. 1000 steps will get a few things unlocked for you in the PokeWalker, but not much. With the 3DS, you can use your coins to buy things in various games, fighting figurines in Super Street Fighter IV: 3D for example. The PokeWalker rewards you with the reason you play Pokemon in the first place, namely more Pokemon. Obviously, if you’re not a fan of Pokemon, then the 3DS has a better reward system but if you’re a Pokemon fan, the limit of only 10 coins a day would irritate me. The difference speaks to what each pedometer is meant to accomplish. The pedometer in the 3DS is a casual, non-threatening entity. Hey, it says, if you’re going out, why not bring me along? We’ll get some Mii’s, it will be awesome. The PokeWalker, on the other hand, rewards the players with the most dedication. Pack a lunch, it says, because you’re going to be walking for a very long time, but some awesome beasts lie at the end of the line.
In the end, neither matter all that much. You’re either going to walk, or you’re not and a plastic step counter isn’t going to make a lick of difference. I can say that when Pokemon comes out for the 3DS, you can bet that some sort of pedometer activity will be included and hopefully it will land somewhere between the casual “walk if you want to” mentality of the coin system and the forced march mentality of the PokeWalker. There’s plenty of room in between those points and the Pokemon games are well suited to take advantage of it. If my Pignite can find me some high heeled shoes in the process, even better.