Thursday, February 28, 2008

Blowing Off Steam:
Why Are Wii Just Friends?

Can you count on your friends?Hey Ya'll. I was invited to contribute to this little slice of the interweb. So I will do my best not to disappoint. After reading this, don't think of it as a bitch session. Think of this as an editorial.

Nintendo and I have a love/hate relationship. It seems many great things they do are often clouded by simple flaws. They give us Virtual Console but no hard drive. They give us great first party games but limited third party support.

What's been specifically on my mind lately that I'd live to talk about is Wii Friend Codes. As a concept, it works. But this is the age of Xbox Live. Nintendo WiFi Connection is like the younger annoying brother of the very dysfunctional console family who always bugs his older siblings by whining "Can I play too?!?"

The reason friend codes just do not work is that there is one for every game. On top of that, the system itself gets it's own code as well. OK Nintendo. You tell me I can live without having a "gamertag" or an online ID. But why can't I add someone's system code to a friends list and that's it? If he plays Mario Strikers, there he is. If he plays Battalion Wars, there he is. No muss. No fuss. Instead, Nintendo forces me to find out someone's friend code and type it in for each game. We live in a lazy world. I shouldn't need a rolodex with 12 digit numbers to play a game with someone!

It seems that Nintendo has been watching too much "To Catch a Predator" lately. It wasn't too bad until I heard about how online matches in Super Smash Bros. will work. Totally anonymous fighting? Haven't they heard of online rivals? Social gaming is huge and Nintendo is putting us all in the shadows. I can't even chat with someone I've added as a friend! They may call it "parental controls". But, it shouldn't be Nintendo's responsibility to control children’s actions online. I believe it's all on the parents. If you’re a responsible parent, you'll have a responsible kid.

It's all a matter of trust. They've been in this business a long time. I believe, in the end, they know what they're doing. Sometimes going against the grain works. But no matter what Nintendo does or what directions they go in, I will be right there behind them along with my fellow fanboys. Oh, Nintendo, we'd follow you off a cliff!