Thursday, March 02, 2017

An Unwelcomed Feature is Back on Switch

Nintendo fans, the moment of truth is almost here. One day left until the Switch is released, and there is already a Day One patch, because of course there is. It's part of the culture now with anything video game related. Though if Nintendo dropped this crap a decade ago, we'd all be up in arms. "Why didn't you make it work before you shipped it out?" Good question, Jimmy. But that's not where we're talking about today. We're going to cover what this Day One patch looks like, now that most of us know what the heck we're getting into with the Switch. Which includes the dreaded Friend Codes.

Ugh.

The bane of any Nintendo gamer's existence.

For the uninitiated, Friend Codes are gamer tags "light." What started as a mean to help kids only friend the people they knew and not random individuals they meet in a game, it's spiraled into Nintendo's online interaction system that, well, it sucks. In order to "friend" someone in a game you have to have their code; a 12-digit number that you are given at random for the game you are playing. Which means you have to tell that person your code, or e-mail it, or text it. Unlike a gamer tag where you can spout out a quick name, you have to remember 12 numbers in sequence. Here's the kicker: it's a unique number for each game.

With the Wii and the DS, you can only friend people through games that you both own. You don't have an external friend list that's tied to your Mii/Nintendo account. So if you have a friend who plays Mario Kart DS and Animal Crossing, just like you, you can't ask for their gamer name and be on your merry way. You have to get 2, 12-digit codes, to be able to interact with them in each game. Oh, and there's no out of game messaging system. There isn't even a messaging/contact system in most Nintendo games. Harvest Moon for the Wii was one of the first games on the system to allow some form of vocal contact with people you play with.

Nintendo is hard core about the in-person gaming experience and less about online gaming. There's no other reason why you would have to need a 12-digit code to communicate with your friends. Even better is that on the DS and the Wii, you can't add people you meet when you play. You can't send friend requests. And again, no messaging system, so it's a crap-shoot.

This was removed with the Wii-U, but I guess that was the reason the system failed so...friend codes again? Yea?

From early reviews of the Day One patch, it appears that adding people while you are in game doesn't require a friend code. You can send a request without having to do the somersaults to bypass this. That may change in future patches, but that's at least one step in the right direction for Nintendo.

Bleh. Friend codes. It's an outdated system that needs to go away. Forever. Who the heck has time to remember 12-digit numbers? I barely remember my own phone number!

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