Bye Bye, Nintendo Wi-Fi

I didn’t do myself any favours last night logging onto the Nintendo Wi-Fi servers for one last go. At some point today they’ll be no more. The online modes of your favourite DS and Wii games will cease to exist as their servers fly up to heaven, where will dine and party with those of Maddens and FIFAs past.

Some will celebrate the occasion, welcoming Nintendo Wi-Fi’s demise, happy to put the days of game specific Friend Codes behind them.

To say I’m mourning is a bit over stated, those Friend Codes were a load of garbage after all, and maybe I%m forgetting the finer details of just how awful it truly was. But as I bid farewell last night, the memories of the fun we had together took hold of me, and I began to feel bad for my ugly friend.

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I kicked things off with Mario Kart DSssssss, a game I turned my back to long ago due to snaking and its abusers. Snaking is an exploit used by weirdos, and it the act of quickly power sliding from side to side as a means to drive faster than normal. A case can be made for its use (and it supposedly has a history with previous Mario Karts, though I’ve never seen it before as I didn’t play with jerks), but to me snaking does nothing more than suck the fun out of the game. While my return to Mario Kart DS was yet again marred by this practise, I was happy to also be pitted against some hackers. I didn’t know this at first, I had assumed the art of snaking had just been perfected is all. But upon asking around, I discovered that hackers have invaded the game, with racers that appear jittery as they move about the track.

Suffice to say I was destroyed, placing last in every race. While it sounds as if my favourite course would be Baby Park (on account of how I love to whine), I still enjoyed this look back at one of my favourite DS games.

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Feeling defeated, I put some time into Samus & Friends Metroid Prime Hunters, a product of Nintendo Software Technologies that proved that just being an American studio wasn’t all it took to produce a worthy Metroid game. But to say I never had fun would be foolish, though those moments of joy were primarily enjoyed online. First-person shooters aren’t really my bag, but the Metroid sheen helped wash away my prejudices as I blasted fools as the heroic Samus Aran. Well fools might be wrong, I really only bested one other player. In my subsequent matches I was wrecked, my face reduced to something only an Other M could love. Despite my poor performance, Hunters reminded me of how much I enjoyed FPS controls on the handheld. While it wasn’t the best of games, its online was quite strong, boasting plenty of modes and attempts to circumvent the Friend Code system with the ability to set opponents as Rivals to aid with future searches.

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I concluded the butt kicking with Tetris DS, one of Nintendo Wi-Fi’s strongest games (and also a favourite among the collector’s market, as Nintendo stopped producing the game when they lost the Tetris licence). Thinking back, I remember being unconvinced that Tetris DS was a real product, as the first screenshot I saw was similar to the one above. The reason for my doubt was how aesthetically appalling it looked, in particular the 8-bit Mario scene against a real life backdrop. My claims of fraud were eventually calmed, but those backgrounds still turn my stomach.

As for the game itself, it still holds up very well. While many hold a grudge against its use of a nearly infinite spin (even when a Tetrinimo has fallen into place, it can be spun around to move it from side to side), that aspect rarely comes into play when online. Last night I felt I was up against the world’s best (seemingly Japan’s in particular), as my screen was collecting garbage as if it was its job. Tetris, no matter what form it takes, is a blast. While I consistently lost, it was clear I was losing to skilled players, not some doofus with a Game Genie. Of all the Nintendo Wi-Fi enabled games, this is the one I’ll miss the most. It felt perfectly suited to a handheld, as its matches were quick and dirty. There was no time to dwell on your losses, my thoughts were always concentrated on the next match.

It’s with a heavy heart I bid adieu to Nintendo Wi-Fi. It wasn’t perfect, but for a time it was all I had, and I certainly enjoyed our time together.

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