Review - The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection Service

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Volsfan91, Sep 20, 2006.

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Sep 20, 2006
  1. Volsfan91

    Member Volsfan91 GBAtemp Regular

    Sep 3, 2006
    United States


    The Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection

    Although this is something of an unorthodox review, I thought that it was about time that someone piped up and spoke out about the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection. (From here on out, referred to as NWC) While I have found it to be enjoyable as a whole, I have found the entire service to be a bit of a hit or miss affair. I'm going to let you know the keys to getting online, and warn you ahead of time on aspects to not expect too much out of.

    As I said earlier, getting online in itself is very hit or miss. Got a Netgear router? Sorry, out of luck! You won't be able to get on. WPA encryption? Turn it off! Even though my old Netgear router worked with my PSP, I couldn't use it with my DS. Ultimately, I decided to buy a D-Link DI-524 router. After a rough setup with my computer, I had it broadcasting and working with my DS in 2 minutes. I'm no networking expert, but is it really that different? Both routers were in mixed mode (B+G wireless standards) with no encryption.

    The games themselves are pretty easy to get online with. You do a universal setup for the DS, and then use it for any Wi-Fi game. If you need to upgrade or change DS systems, there is a transfer option. It's also cool to go looking for wireless access points with the sniffing features.



    In this section, I'm going to talk about how the system's infrastructure is used in a variety of games.

    First of all, Nintendo has this dreadful friend system known as “friend codes”. You have to find people to exchange friend codes with online or with people you know. There is no lobby feature. To me, this is the Achilles' heel of the system. I come from the school of thought that teaches that online game is about community, and finding people to play with and socialize with. If you can't do that, I see the purpose of playing online defeated.

    Some games require friend codes. Others offer a mixed friend code/random matchmaking scheme. Animal Crossing uses a system that only allows for friend codes.


    It seems that the Wi-Fi emphasis is definitely placed on first party titles. Only a few times have third parties forayed into online experiences, with the results being poor to abysmal. The first couple of months brought good games for the online experience. I really enjoy playing Mario Kart DS online, mainly because I can get to playing so quick.

    Animal Crossing is a failed attempt. Once you get some good friend codes of people that play a lot, it can be an enjoyable experience. However, like a lot of aspects of the whole service, I felt like a lot of things were underused, in terms of potential. Where is an online market, where players can set up shop, and hawk their wares? Where is an infrastructure trading post? I feel like I'm being cheated out of the experience that could have been given to me when I'm playing this game. I get really frustrated that these things were left out, because they would have been keys to the game.

    Don't even get me started on Metroid. First of all, half the time that I start up the game, it is as if the game doesn't even make an effort to try to get online. Instead, I'm given an error code, and I have to restart my DS before I can even attempt to get online again. I'll give Metroid one big thing: if someone is on your friends list, you can chat online with VOIP technology. Major props on that, for sure.

    Online games have slowed down a lot in the last few months. The last big online game was Starfox, and it's debatable about how good its online is. (I haven't had a chance to play it)

    As everyone knows, the key to a good online service is a massive catalogue of games to play. I think that they let us down here. I'm not sure that enough support was offered to third party games, such as Lost Magic and Tony Hawk. We'll see if Nintendo can pick up on some of their mistakes. We'll see in the coming months- that is for sure.


    I won't spend long talking about support, but this is the general gist of a problem.

    My router is having problems. I check the error code on their website, and find their online assistance to be of little or no help. I decide to call them.

    Nintendo Rep: Hello, what is your problem?
    Me: Having trouble getting online.
    Nintendo Rep: (Walks through obligatory steps, such as making sure I have high speed internet, asking me if I have a router or not, if my router is properly hooked up)
    Me: Yep, all working.
    Nintendo Rep: Call your ISP.

    Anything else to tell you about their support? It sucks. If you have the right router, you're fine. If you don't prepare to buy a new one. Hit or miss, again.


    Overall, I'm going to call the online effort a success. Take it with a grain of salt, check forums for compatibility, and don't expect it to be used to its full potential, and you'll find yourself making it an enjoyable experience.

    Final Score: 8/10
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