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Monday, November 21, 2005

Is Mario Kart A Killer App?

Chris Kohler a la Wired has small review of Mario Kart DS which he declares it to be "easily" the handheld's killer app. I've got no evidence to the contrary, of course. In fact, because of Mario Kart, the DS might slip into my Xmas list well ahead of the PSP ... so anecdotally speaking, it seems accurate.

I would hate to see Nintendo botch this one. Like many others, Chris also knocks the buddy list capacity in Mario Kart, saying "I was disappointed in the lack of options once you're connected. For example, if you want to race against a specific group of friends, you'd have to delete everyone else from your list." I am willing to give Nintendo the benefit of an early release, but it's impossible to overemphasize how important a decent buddy system can be.

I once again remind people of PSO's setup. You could go to the lobby, hook up easily with complete strangers and quest with them. It took about 3 seconds to store their card on your list, which when you returned would give you easy information about where they were and what they were doing ... making it that much easier to setup a pick up game again. Good lobby, easily transferred info, easy to manage games. It's just a requirement these days.

Also, I hope Nintendo can be as innovative about their online strategy as they are with their hardware design. Think turn based strategy, think social games, think coop games. If I end up getting the DS, I hope to see Nintendo really take off with it.

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Thomas said...

Perhaps because it is so cumbersome (and because I've got few gaming friends) I haven't used the MK:DS Friends list much so far. No-one's been online when I have. But despite that the online component is incredibly compelling, despite--because?--of the lack of communication with other riders. I've had some really great matches, and no lag at all.

Josh said...

Definately agree with ingame chat. While necessary for some games, I usually find it an overrated feature. It's best kept for before and after games, not necessarily during. Ingame it should be down to just what a team needs to score their goals.

Thomas said...

Exactly. It'd be nice to have a gesture system, though. I'd like to be able to wave GG after a match.

Tony said...

I'm with Thomas, a way to acknowledge the other players with a simple GG or Nice Move gesture would be great.

That being said, I've actually had a successful match with someone on my friend's list. It was only the two of us so we raced to a tie but it was good fun. The only way we could "GG" each other through our respective blogs. Not exactly the best mechanism. (Meeting new friends via blogging, however, has proven to be a boon).

Josh, you need a DS. Plain and simple.