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Friday, February 13, 2009

Nintendo's Massive Fail

The Girl is playing Animal Crossing: City Folk as I write this - watering some flowers and bouncing around. Our mortgage is half a millions now, but at least we have a basement.

At this very moment, Big Brother might be playing it as well. We've had some weird disconnect with exchanging friend codes all week long. We have no real way of knowing. We've got a cherry tree and our animals have been complaining about meeting people. Even more annoying, it seems our citizens know he's added our friend code, because they've mentioned him by name. The animals in the game can acknowledge him, but we cannot.

This is in despite of the fact that we've already played together on other games. Our Wiis know each other. We have each other's Miis.

City Folk is a game that constantly reminds you it wants to play online. I don't mean that in some subtle way, I mean the game actually asks you every time you play about why you don't have more friends you could be playing with.

But we're not. And I can't think of a single good reason why. Nintendo has just completely drop the ball here, and they've essentially dropped the ball when it comes to social networking and online multiplayer for the entire system.

They may be rolling in cash from selling more Wii Fits than a fruit stand sells fruit in the desert, but just because I have a Fit and Big Bro has Fit doesn't mean that we know what the hell the either is doing with it.

Compare this to the PlayStation 3 (or, I'm sure, the 360 to even larger degree). I've compared game play with other people just by looking at their trophies. If someone comes online, I can know about it even if I'm in the middle of a game. I've bounced around LittleBigPlanet with complete strangers on more than one occasion. It's as easy as selecting "Play Online" instead of "Play By Myself".

What's the name of Nintendo's console? It's the Wii, intentionally designed to invoke the imagery of playing in a group. But the only time that has really happened is some nights of bowling. Hell, I have a better sense of community from PlayStation Home than I do from any Wii Channel. The Animal Crossing commercials are all about playing online with people miles and miles away.

But it's just branding, just like the Wii itself. Yeah, I know I've complained about this before.

But I think it bears repeating.

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