Aeropause goes to the mat for Friend Codes

Is anybody talking with a friend over IM right now? Have you ever? Congrats, because you’re using a form of the much maligned Nintendo Friend Code system. And I bet you’ve never complained about IM screen names, have you? And when you get an unsolicited IM from some stranger, it’s a bit of a shock?

Thus, IMO the Nintendo Friend Code system begins to lose it’s black mark as a tedious system, and it’s real focus emerges: to bring in people who would have never, ever gone gaming online as it exists in its present form.


Friend codes only serve as a means to control who you interact with in a personal way online, and I think they are a good thing. They are the means by which I can shield myself online from the stereotypical online gamer who will spray racial epithets at me while squatting over my fragged corpse. And that is the very thing that’s kept me from wanting to play games online with strangers this long.

And how about that game-by-game Friend Code annoyance? Aeropause has that covered too:

I should have put this in the post, but it didn’t really occur to me until I was thinking about what I had written. But yes, it does make sense to go game-by-game. If you trade friend codes with someone you want to race in Mario Kart DS, and then you go and play Animal Crossing, they could show up in your town and start cutting down trees. You understand? Someone you’d race is not necessarily someone you’d want to visit your town.

It’s annoying, but it’s how Nintendo is going to roll. It’s like taxes, I suppose. It’s something everybody is going to have to do, whether they complain or not. However, once in a while, you get a nice, fat refund. That refund, to me, is not having to deal with all the crap that currently pollutes the wide open gates of online gaming today. Instead, I get a more manageable, if slightly annoying to configure, “buddy list” that I know is going to be gangbusters ever time I go online.


  1. How many times do I have to explain this, being harassed in a video game online on the 360. well there’s an easy solution! Post a complaint, and block the player from playing with you and after a while your 360 knows who to prefer when matchmaking you with other players… And I’m sure that nintendo will let people go cutting down their buddies trees in animal crossing….

  2. I don’t really mind the codes either. Only because I know very few people that have the same games I do. And I can still go online anyway, so the whole debacle doesn’t come in contact with me. Pretty cool someone took the other POV on the subject, though.

    And if I think about it, I wouldn’t mind putting in the code itself. I think the only thing that makes it somewhat annoying is the fact that both players need to do it at the same time. I’m still waiting for my friends to put my Wii number in their system. I have to keep hassling them.

  3. You can always play DS stuff like Mario Kart or MPH with strangers, though, even without their friend code, right?

  4. @David

    That is correct. To go online, you don’t need the friend codes. You only need them if you want to setup an online game with a friend. You can still play games online without them, and you’ll be playing complete strangers.

    One day I actually had a pretty long Mario Kart gaming session with someone at Nintendo. His name was NOA_Matt.

  5. All I’ve got to say about this article is…Can I get a witness?! Amen, to both Aeropause and Jack. I thought I was the only one who doesn’t care about friend codes and understands that you can STILL play on-line without them. I think people need to sit and think before they rag on friend codes.

  6. Two points:

    1: You can pick your screen name so that it is easy to remember. A friend code is longer than a phone number.

    2: With AIM or most chat programs, you can try to contact a friend who’s Screen Name you have without them inputing your Screen Name first. With Friend Codes, there is no way to invite someone to play with you.

    If Nintendo could give me a screen name and make it a little easier to contact people I already know, then I would have no problems.

    Also, I still want to know what the hell the point was of imputing all these friend codes for my Wii if they won’t work with any games.

  7. The “you don’t want the friend that races you in Mario Kart visit your Animal Crossing town” argument does not justify game-by-game friend codes, though… I suspect there is a hardware/software limitation on Wii at play here.

    It could be the same limitation that has stopped Nintendo from fulfilling the promise of having a “forum” area on Wii that allows you to see which games your friends have, or to view their high scores: there is no easy interface between the games’ data and the Wii’s operating system, other than getting the game booted up!

  8. That’s how Nintendo should be “selling” the friend codes to avoid so much rage. I agree, it makes sense. Still, it’d be nice if there were a quick and easy way to copy friends (say from the console’s address list) or some way to track the same friend across different games.

    Oh well, I guess it won’t be so bad, how about we just get these online games? Pokemon won’t do it for me so let’s see something interesting pop up.

  9. I just wish Nintendo used Wii friend codes for each console rather than EACH game.. it still In the air but seeing Nintedo’s sucess should also make them a lawsuit target if anything

  10. WAIT WAIT WAIT. The friend codes suck… Do I have this right? The friends code system makes it where you can only play with people you already know? Right? Do I have this right? You cannot play with strangers and meet people to add to your friends list? RIGHT? How the hell does this crap work? It sounds retarded. Gamespy has done it right for YEARS, yet Nintendo somehow hired them to do a half-assed job?

  11. Friend codes are great… because you have to set up a new list for every new game you get? Why is this awesome? Inputting the numbers is the annoyance. Most likely people that have wifi friends will add them to every mutually owned wifi game. Imagine the folks who visit the numerous friend code sites to add dozens of names to their lists. They must be esctatic about this system of matchmaking.

    I really dig this “better than the adolescent Live community” side of it, because the friend code has nothing to do with it. Xbox Live’s team, if they wanted, could make it so you couldn’t communicate with anyone not on your friends list. Matter of fact, i do believe there are silencing options on there. Why do i need to input a phone number with extra digits to mute strangers? And you’re telling me that if you only had one wifi friend, you’d rather not be able to communicate with your opponents? I mean Mario Kart or Animal Crossing already lend themselves to a different audience, they’re not Halo 2. Besides, how many people had friends destroying their town in Wild World?

  12. Nintendo must think people still have friends that talk to each other. Nonsense! I’m a against friend codes, but you can play with friends AND strangers, the only thing missing is meeting new people, someting I could care less but I don’t want my sisters getting spam from every single nerd outthere. Just look at myspace or msn messenger, they see a girls and tons of idiots start gathering around like a bunch of cannibals..

  13. All those arguments justifying friend codes as a way to not let “jerks” show up in your game are beaten by the fact that we are all posting our friend codes all over the internet, and by us inputting all the friend codes that are posted there, too.

    That is NOT the real reason behind friend codes…

  14. I’ve actually put some thought into this earlier today, and I think I have found a nice compromise.
    Instead of both sides entering the friend codes, only one party should have to. And this would prompt a basic “accept friend” message on the other sides’ Wii.
    This way, Nintendo can keep their precious friend codes and it would be a lot easier for us to add someone, or be added.

  15. I think friend codes have another purpose as well. They serve as a tool against piracy. Pirated games cannot be played online without a valid friend code.

    Furthermore, it makes a Wii with a mod chip useless for online play because Nintendo can easily identify which unit is trying to play online with pirated games.

  16. Friend codes have a way more important function that no one here has touched on. They are the mechanism by which an E- or T-rated game can stay E- or T-rated when they go online without Nintendo having to include the dreaded, “Rating may change with online play” disclaimer.

    Maybe when someone comes up with an M-rated online game we’ll have some more proper game lobby/chat room type of situation, but Nintendo will never take the chance that a 10 year old kid playing Mario Kart will ever be able to see, “lol that was fun wanna meet up at the mall? 11/f here!!” from someone they don’t know.

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