"Maneki: Are you suggesting Nintendo's completely justified in not learning a single thing from the decades of online gaming that preceeded it?"
I'm not 'suggesting' anything. What I am saying, rather clearly, is that this is Nintendo's freshman effort, and that they are entitled to a few mistakes.
"That they can be excused for not hiring someone who knew what they were doing, or learning from the countless games that got it, if not right, a whole lot closer than Nintendo did? They didn't create this game in a vacuum, there's precedent here!"
Yes, but there's no precedent for a Nintendo online service, or an online service for a handheld game system that's less powerful than any of the currently supported game consoles. They can't just wave a magic wand and create the ultimate wi-fi service on their first try.
"Nintendo built their DS on the shoulders of the giants that came before them, to excuse them for stepping up to the plate and delivering a half-assed networked experience is foolish."
See, this is a perfect example of what I'm talking about when I say that Nintendo can do no right in the eyes of gamers. They create an online service with limited features, and game players complain bitterly. However, if they had included improved friend finding technology and chat features in MKDS, Nintendo would be hounded by Senator Liebermann and his cronies for making children vulnerable to online predators.
Every step Nintendo makes is guaranteed to be on a landmine, because people just refuse to be satisfied. They're facing the same kind of close-minded prejudice that Atari had in the 1990's... they're considered a relic from the past, and any attempts Nintendo makes to change that misconception are met with ridicule. They can't win, because nobody will let them.
"Finally, your assertion that the core functionality is solid - that's an outright lie. It's so damned hard to get a game going it's not even funny. Four people from around the world have to coordinate their gaming offline (IRC, ICQ, whatever), and HOPE they can connect. Most of the time, not some, but most of the time we have to attempt to connect three or more times. And guess what? There's no way to back out, so if we get 2/4 players linked up in the 120 seconds we are forced to wait, we have to power off to try again."
By core functionality, I'm referring to the actual races. Yes, it can be trying to gather together three opponents. However, when it finally happens and the race begins, it's an enjoyable experience. There's so little lag in most cases that it feels like your opponents are in the same room with you, even when they're hundreds of miles away. Considering the hardware limitations of the Nintendo DS and Nintendo's inexperience with online services, that's a major accomplishment.
"Solid my ass. It's embarassing."
What's embarassing is people crying for blood when Nintendo gives them a FREE online service that doesn't meet with their every lofty expectation. I'll say it again... give them time. It'll get better. If Metroid Prime: Hunters has many of the same problems as Mario Kart DS, then you can bitch.