I think we’re all agreed by now that the DS is GRATE, are we not? Despite all fears of RSI, styluses going missing all over the shop (*fingers xed) and a redundant second screen – it’s worked! We love it! We love washing the Nintendogs in front of Big Brother, mining down in Mr Driller: Drill Spirits on the train, ignoring our holiday companions by playing Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (translate more Gyakuuten Saiban games NOW pls Capcom) and even though we’re stuck on like the 4th operation in Trauma Centre: Under the Knife, we’re SURE we’ll get those aneurisms operated on one day.
But what’s missing? Nowhere in these games have I made any mention of what’s supposed to be Nintendos fabulous biggie – WI-FI! WHERE ARE YOU?? Nintendogs makes a huge deal out of being able to meet up with other dogs. However, you have to specifically sit opposite someone with a DS, also running Nintendogs, and ensure they have their game switched to “Bark Mode” before you can do it. There is absolutely zero chance that you will EVER find ANYONE else randomly on Bark Mode, as: if you’re in Bark Mode, you can’t do anything else in your game, you can’t play with your dogs, walk them, nothing. All you can do is watch your dog running and look at the “searching” box. Nothing to do. So you put your DS away, and in the vague case that someone else is running down their battery in Bark Mode on the 0.00001 chance someone else might be doing the same, you’ll miss the alert ANYWAY cos you’re not paying attention to the game!
SURELY it would make more sense for Bark Mode to be an option to turn on in the background of your game – dogs could come and visit each other’s houses for example and walk to the park, this ludicrous forcing pre-determined link-ups completely moves any random dog-fun (*carefully avoids reference to “dogging fun”*) that I was looking forward to on first purchase – although it’s so great I’d have got it anyway. I read an interview with Shigeru Miyamoto where the interviewer mentioned he kept flicking his Nintendogs into Bark Mode to catch any “passing trade” as it were – I wonder if he ended up as disappointed as I am?
Further madness comes when playing your old GBA games. Yes, they can be played on the DS. Hooray! But… all the interactivity and link-ups between them are null and void on the DS. You can’t swap Pokémon from a DS-DS, or DS-GBA, so it’s a return to your dust-gathering, un-backlit GBA and fingers x-ed your mate still has it too. Sob.
And don’t even START on Animal Crossing wi-fi hotspots…