Xbox is Live, Nintendo…Not So Much

I have had Xbox Live for just over a year. I think its great, especially when you get together a good group of people that you can have fun with, as opposed to the load of 12-year olds who have just learned swear words and consider everyone better than them to be ‘teh ghey.’

My friends from my old job are such a group, we’ve spent more time blowing up each other to bits playing Lost Planet, Halo 3 and Bomberman online than we’re probably willing to admit to. Its great fun, and the ability to talk to each other during a game really adds to the experience. It makes it easier to coordinate in team games, and talking smack and ridiculing bonehead moves (often made by me) is just one of those Things That Guys Like To Do.

I recently acquired a Wii, and while the single player games are fun (I’m currently playing Mario Galaxy and Zelda:Twilight Princess) I have been hungering for some multiplayer mayhem. Much to my relief, Mario Kart Wii launched this past weekend, one of the few Wii games that happen to have online support. Upon returning to my apartment on Sunday, I phoned my friend Chris to see if he was up for a few online games. I was joined by our mutual friend Ken, all three of us being veterans of almost-daily lunchtime Mario Kart DS matches. I had played a few single-player matches the night before, and was still relatively new at the game.

After exchanging Nintendo’s silly 12-digit “friend codes” we played a few online matches with Chris. Something was missing, though. The inability to hear Chris’ agonized screams when I flattened him as I passed him at the finish line takes something away from the experience. The angry phone call we received after the race was very entertaining, but it just didn’t feel the same. I suppose we got used to the instant gratification of our lunchtime matches, where the explosions of Bob-ombs and blue Koopa shells are immediately met with groans and laughter.

Granted, you can exchange canned phrases after the race is over, but that is just plain weak. The ability to send a custom message to my opponent to tell him he’s a dirty fartknocker for popping me with a red Koopa shell and sending me tumbling into the lava would be nice. Sadly, though, Nintendo is the Disney corporation of the videogame world, but hey, at least SOMEONE is thinking of the children! 😛


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