233: In Defense of the Friend Code

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In Defense of the Friend Code

Friend Codes are a needless inconvenience for Wii or DS players looking to play a quick game of Mario Kart with their friends. But they may also suggest a way of making online play more personal. John Constantine offers a vindication of Nintendo's loathed social gaming mechanic.

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It is an interesting take on a system I've not tried. I can see the charm in what you're saying, having actively looked for the people you will play with. Having said that I'm glad I don't have to.

It's easier on PC. Hanging out on the same server means that you naturally keep bumping into the same people. I did this on Action Quake in the late 90's. There were no mics and it was 56k which seriously limited the servers you could get a good game on. Playing AQ you had to wait to respawn next round with all of the other losers so you'd chat with messages between rounds. This built up my "Friends list". I normally knew my team mates and opponents.

It was frustrating when my server local was full though.

Now I play on XBL. Yes your friends list can quickly fill with strangers but I have learnt and tend to have regular culls of people I've not spoken to in a week or so. There is a hard groups of around 10 I play MW2 with whenever they're on. There is a smaller group I play Endwar with as well. I know where they live, who their families are, what they do for a living, their real names and what they are interested in. I much prefer this to a friends list of hundreds I know nothing about.

I'm just glad we didn't have to dig out and exchange 12 digit codes.

That's a very good point actually. On the Wii I have a few friends but I know them well. On Smash bros I know which charecters they use and the tactics they will implement and I know roughly where I rank amongst them. It is a bit annoying though actually getting the codes but once it's done it's great.

Good article.

Does someone want to explain to me why it is that Japanese gamers need an extra layer of anonymity?

I can understand the whole argument of a closer gaming experience with the friends you do make the effort to add on the wii, but in all honesty, my xbl account has 6 friends. I only add the people I actually want to add. I had zero on my wii before I sold it, partly because nothing on the wii that was multiplayer I found enjoyable, and secondly because of the hassle of adding someone.
If they wanted the annonymity or the safety of a big 12 digit code, couldn't they have just made a box in a person's profile that said "make my ID private"? That way everyone wins?
I think Nintendo is talking out of their ass.

While the friend code is an interesting concept for keeping children relatively safe from paedophiles. (Especially if the Wii-kid doesn't know his own code where his / her parent does.)

However, as a rule of thumb for all gamers - it really does suck. It's just too long winded and by the time I've gotten half way through entering the code, I've lost half the will to play in the first place.

However, having said all this - I wouldn't do away with the code. It's very handy for first time gamers.

It's hard to defend something so stupid.

I've never used friend codes so I don't really have an opinion on this, but I'll take John Constantine's word for it. :P

While I see his point, I still don't think any of the good points he mentioned truly excuse how fucking annoying friend codes are. It's a well written and well thought out article, and yet defending the undefendable is a pointless task.

I lived in Japan for a little bit. It's not like in the states where you would call up your friends and have them over to the house. The whole time I was staying with my host family, who had 3 children, the family didn't have friends over once. You meet friends outside of the house.I just can't imagine them wanting random people "in" their home even via console gaming.

As for the Western side, maybe not many Wii consoles are online because most the games don't have online game play. What is there a handful that do and I am not counting the stripped down score keeping kind of thing, i mean actual, quality gameplay.

Interesting read but Nintendo still believes that people still play games in the basement. The last game console had limited online gameplay while PS2 and Xbox florished through it's online play.

It would be nice having Nintendo having a data center to hold the accounts of who's playing, signing up, expected username etc.

robbins123:
It's hard to defend something so stupid.

..but he does it very well.

The Random One:

robbins123:
It's hard to defend something so stupid.

..but he does it very well.

I know, and I was amazed.

robbins123:

The Random One:

robbins123:
It's hard to defend something so stupid.

..but he does it very well.

I know, and I was amazed.

We all were. We all were... *don't cry*

I hate friend codes because I don't know that many people with either;
A)A Wii and,
B)Games I have.

Ah, the success-via-extreme-pain argument.

Anyway.

I remember the first time I used voicechat. I was terrified.

I think it's an idea that has a lot of merit but Nintendo's implementation of it left a lot to be desired.

more personal? how much did nintendo pay to have this article published? because really, there is no defending such a horrible implementation.

SachielOne:
Does someone want to explain to me why it is that Japanese gamers need an extra layer of anonymity?

Because their IP addresses are constantly monitored by the government. The anonymity is to help protect the Wii players from their IP overlords. They may have fast internet, but they have quite a few problems with how it's controlled, and their limited ability to use it.

vxicepickxv:

SachielOne:
Does someone want to explain to me why it is that Japanese gamers need an extra layer of anonymity?

Because their IP addresses are constantly monitored by the government. The anonymity is to help protect the Wii players from their IP overlords. They may have fast internet, but they have quite a few problems with how it's controlled, and their limited ability to use it.

The heck does this have to do with friendcodes? DO you know how IP adresses work? Connecting with other players to play mario kart is the same whether or not you have their friendcode, its just that you cant talk or communicate messages or voice with them. Its like everyone is automatically muted and blocked. Your still connected to them and playing with them, and since its P2p you are dealing with all the players directly rather than connecting to a server with other users.

I play ace combat 6 with some japanese guys early in the mornings and while most do have mic's muted or unplugged there is a good number who talk and I've even managed to stumble thru enough rough japanese conversations to friend request some of them. One guy works in a cheesecake factory.

On the PSN, the only people on my friends list are RL friends. I play with them, and if they piss me off, I can go to their house and smack them. Now... Why did I need a 12 digit friend code to push add?

I don't go randomly adding people to my list, and I also am not forced to play with people I don't know online. Some games require a lot of people, and you'll never see them on the wii.

Imagine a game like MAG on the wii? 256 friend codes? HAH! Forcing a characteristic of multiplayer gaming is just ridiculous, and not helpful. XBL and PSN let you do the same thing, and explore the vast anonymous pool of retardom, if you choose. I don't, so I don't see how wii's exemption of choice is a good thing?

Do people just really don't understand they have a choice until its taken away from them?

I play with people (on PSN) I know.
Stuff like MW2's online...well, I manage with the random 12 year olds and overweight middle-aged men.
It doesn't bother me so long as I mute everyone I don't know going into a game.

It might actually sound perry reasonable but it still sounds like "talking out of your ass".
I think the inability of Nintendo to make a normal network system shouldn't be defended.

@#$% Nintendo, @#$%* Mario, and @#$%$ the Wii, I'm not wasting money on a cheap PS2 dressed up like a MAC.

I just got voice-chat 2 days ago. I am still hiding behind my curtain.

I keep forgetting the thing has online play. I played smash brothers a few times and gave up all together with it being the laggiest game I've ever played. It sat on my router and still had issues. Oh well. :\

It would be alright if you just had ONE friend code per console, but one for EVERY game? And with next to no voice support/in game messaging, who are they protecting?

Friend codes suck. But now...they suck less, thanks to reading this.

Yeah, but that you need the friend code and the game code and the Wiimote code and the TV code...It's protective, which is nice, but it's also a pain in the ass to connect to. Its drop rate is pesky, you can't (at least not in my experience) just jump on the net, you have to get in then force it to connect, then wait for it to register your friend codes...It's one of the least user friendly interfaces around. Almost like it doesn't want to be used...

Snotnarok:
I keep forgetting the thing has online play. I played smash brothers a few times and gave up all together with it being the laggiest game I've ever played. It sat on my router and still had issues. Oh well. :\

The lag in that game is solely your fault or your opponents. If both of you have 10Mb conections no one's going to lag. If one has 768kbps and their little sister's watching twilight trailers on youtube, yes there will be some lag. Not like its smash bros fault.

slopeslider:

Snotnarok:
I keep forgetting the thing has online play. I played smash brothers a few times and gave up all together with it being the laggiest game I've ever played. It sat on my router and still had issues. Oh well. :\

The lag in that game is solely your fault or your opponents. If both of you have 10Mb conections no one's going to lag. If one has 768kbps and their little sister's watching twilight trailers on youtube, yes there will be some lag. Not like its smash bros fault.

That's all and well but had they simply put an ethernet port directly on the unit rather than selling it separately maybe it wouldn't be a problem.

Well i have had some trouble online but its mostly with the lag . i don't mind exchanging friend codes online. The people I have on my list are people I know from online or friends which like the article says gives you a different feeling than random play.

Never played a Nintendo game that I wanted to play the multiplayer part sat on my own with a mic on. I prefer them with other people around, or not at all. XBL players I just view as NPCs with varying degrees of Asperger's.

Friend codes need to burn, they are an annoying inconvenience

SachielOne:
Does someone want to explain to me why it is that Japanese gamers need an extra layer of anonymity?

Different culture, that is why. no other reason

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