Nintendo DS – Does Online Work?



The Nintendo DS has been out for a while now. After a slow start with pretty mediocre games and very few highlights, it’s quickly become my favorite handheld system. Games such as Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrows, Feel the Magic: XX/XY, and more recently Mario Kart DS have gone a long way towards making me truly love this little handheld. Things really got interesting when I finally picked up my copy of Animal Crossing on Friday. Since then, I’ve been on a marathon session of building up my town. Now the question is: What does all this have to do with the DS going online? Well, obviously, Mario Kart DS and Animal Crossing both have highly hyped online capabilities. It’s been my dream to play Mario Kart and Animal Crossing with friends across the world…so why am I not absolutely thrilled now?

To be perfectly honest, the Nintendo DS WiFi system as it exists now is flawed. Granted, they put out the extremely handy USB WiFi connector that actually works. They also hooked up with an established online presence to help make the transition to online happen. Finally, they focused on their real franchises to push things forward. But it still doesn’t totally work. Connecting with friends or connecting with ANYTHING in Animal Crossing are issues that really need to be addressed.

First, let’s look at the whole friends thing. In order to get a friend on your friends list, you need to exchange your friend code with them. On the plus side, this means that you’ll never have your favorite nickname taken. As someone that always goes by Garp, it’s difficult for me to imagine switching that if I can help it. On the negative side, it looks like you’re going to be switching friends codes with people…a lot. You can hold up to thirty on your list, but you have to be on their friends list just as they have to be on yours, and an error of inputting one number can be fatal to connecting with them. Having an automated in-game option of adding people would be REALLY nice. Beyond that, once you get the friends codes exchanged, there’s still no guarantee that you’ll actually hook up with them. With Mario Kart DS, for example, once you go into Friends Search mode, it will randomly set you up with whoever is online with no way to specify anyone you really want to play with. And these numbers change with every game, so get used to setting up some kind of system for exchanging. Community never meant so much work.

So that’s the basic of WiFi Connections…but wait! It gets worse! Animal Crossing…the game that EVERYONE wanted to have online. There are a few drawbacks here as well. Just…a few. As always, your friend codes will be completely new numbers so that Nintendo can tie your DS game to your DS which means there will have to be a fresh batch of exchanges. Once you get those people on your Friends List, you can then invite them to visit your town. OR you can go visit theirs. Not both. One or the other. Choose. So you choose to open your gates and let other people in. They then have to choose to leave their town and visit yours. On the plus side, this time you get to choose exactly who you’re visiting with and playing with. On the down side, this is a seriously lengthy and annoying process that I wouldn’t wish on anyone unless I REALLY didn’t like them.

This isn’t even talking about compatibility issues with routers and tech stuff like that. Ultimately, I want very much for my beloved DS to be online and I hope these issues are dealt with. As things stand now, I’m going to participate and be a part of it…mainly out of a lack of other options aside from not doing it…but I’m going to also keep my fingers crossed in the hopes that things get better.



The Nintendo DS has been out for a while now. After a slow start with pretty mediocre games and very few highlights, it’s quickly become my favorite handheld system. Games such as Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrows, Feel the Magic: XX/XY, and more recently Mario Kart DS have gone a long way towards making me truly love this little handheld. Things really got interesting when I finally picked up my copy of Animal Crossing on Friday. Since then, I’ve been on a marathon session of building up my town. Now the question is: What does all this have to do with the DS going online? Well, obviously, Mario Kart DS and Animal Crossing both have highly hyped online capabilities. It’s been my dream to play Mario Kart and Animal Crossing with friends across the world…so why am I not absolutely thrilled now?

To be perfectly honest, the Nintendo DS WiFi system as it exists now is flawed. Granted, they put out the extremely handy USB WiFi connector that actually works. They also hooked up with an established online presence to help make the transition to online happen. Finally, they focused on their real franchises to push things forward. But it still doesn’t totally work. Connecting with friends or connecting with ANYTHING in Animal Crossing are issues that really need to be addressed.

First, let’s look at the whole friends thing. In order to get a friend on your friends list, you need to exchange your friend code with them. On the plus side, this means that you’ll never have your favorite nickname taken. As someone that always goes by Garp, it’s difficult for me to imagine switching that if I can help it. On the negative side, it looks like you’re going to be switching friends codes with people…a lot. You can hold up to thirty on your list, but you have to be on their friends list just as they have to be on yours, and an error of inputting one number can be fatal to connecting with them. Having an automated in-game option of adding people would be REALLY nice. Beyond that, once you get the friends codes exchanged, there’s still no guarantee that you’ll actually hook up with them. With Mario Kart DS, for example, once you go into Friends Search mode, it will randomly set you up with whoever is online with no way to specify anyone you really want to play with. And these numbers change with every game, so get used to setting up some kind of system for exchanging. Community never meant so much work.

So that’s the basic of WiFi Connections…but wait! It gets worse! Animal Crossing…the game that EVERYONE wanted to have online. There are a few drawbacks here as well. Just…a few. As always, your friend codes will be completely new numbers so that Nintendo can tie your DS game to your DS which means there will have to be a fresh batch of exchanges. Once you get those people on your Friends List, you can then invite them to visit your town. OR you can go visit theirs. Not both. One or the other. Choose. So you choose to open your gates and let other people in. They then have to choose to leave their town and visit yours. On the plus side, this time you get to choose exactly who you’re visiting with and playing with. On the down side, this is a seriously lengthy and annoying process that I wouldn’t wish on anyone unless I REALLY didn’t like them.

This isn’t even talking about compatibility issues with routers and tech stuff like that. Ultimately, I want very much for my beloved DS to be online and I hope these issues are dealt with. As things stand now, I’m going to participate and be a part of it…mainly out of a lack of other options aside from not doing it…but I’m going to also keep my fingers crossed in the hopes that things get better.

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