Review: Nintendo Network App

What it Does:

This application was designed by James Rohal to allow you to not only display your Nintendo DS and Wii library but also to connect to others that have the same games as you, exchange friend codes and write reviews.

The Walk Through:

Upon installation of the app you are presented with an opportunity to invite the standard 20 friends to use the app as well. I invited the three friends of mine that I regularly play Nintendo DS with to join and have not been prompted to invite others since. This is the kind of application you will want to invite only your Nintendo video games friend to as it does not hold any functionality for non-players out side of a few news post that could be handy for letting them know what you would like for your birthday.

The app prompts you to populate your library using the search feature; you can either choose the letter from the list and it will show you all Wii and DS games that begin with that letter. Alternatively you can use a great working search bar to type in the name of the game. The search works so well that I was able to to find Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime just by searching for “rocket” so you just have to get one word in the title right to bring up matches. You can narrow down the search results once you have them by using the All/DS/Wii filter which will show you only the games for the system that you are looking for. You can also add games if you can not find them in the database.

Nintendo Networks search results

Each game on the results list shows the games box art and user stats( on the left and several actions on the right. These actions are as follows:

View Profile: Takes you to an extensive profile for each game. It gives you the box art again, the games rating based on other app users, a place for you to rate it out of five stars(even allows for half stars!) how many users own it, how many have it on their wish list, and how many call it a favorite and the ability to post notes to the game profile and to write reviews for it on the games profile. Whew! hat’s a lot but there is even ore to the right of that. Starting again you have the games listed platform, release date, publisher, genre, ESRB rating, and the ability to set what language you own the game in. Even further to the right of that is the actions menu that we are talking about but with one change; “Recommend Game” will send a message to your chosen friend that you think they would like the game. Below that is a full synopsis of the game and a list of features. Beneath that are your discussion and review boxes, a list of friends who have the game and one of friends that have added it to their wish list. Just below that is something that is really interesting: a media link box. In the case of The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass it is populated with 18 videos from Youtube and Gametrailers.com. A really nice touch if you ask me.

Nintendo Networks Game Profile

The game profile has all the information you could ever really want on it, including the menu that leads you there. Let’s go back to the menu you get when you search for the game. Below “View Profile” is “Add Game to List” and “Add Game of Wish List”, each doing as you would expect them too. Both of these will also add the game to the appropriate box on your Facebook profile. This is the only feature that is handy for people who you do no play with, as stated, so they can see your wish list on your profile for your up coming birthday. Luckily, your boyfriend doesn’t have to add the app to see that you want Super Smash Brothers: Brawl for the Wii, he just needs to check your profile. The “Add to Favorite List” will place a star next to the listed game title in your Facebook profile.

Clicking “Find Players” will bring up a list of app users who also have the game. This list can be pretty astounding in size for popular games like Mario Kart DS (380 users found) to still really useful for under rated games like Worms 2: Open Warfare (37 users found). When you think about, even 37 more potential people to play with is quite a bit and well within delivering on the premise of the app. Each app user on the list is displayed as if found through the basic Facebook search. That is, you can only see their profile picture, network, and have the options to send them a message or add them as a friend. The app adds some more information to this result such as the size of their game library, the the friend code for the game you searched for if they entered it, and depending on privacy setting the ability to view their Gaming Profile through the app.

Nintendo Networks search player search results

The last two links in the game search list are “Buy at Amazon” and “Rent at Gamefly”. Both links take you right to the game page at the service that you chose for easy renting or buying.

I know that we’ve covered a lot already, but believe it or not this app is chuck full of more. Getting started on the last set of links, up at the top you have your traditional row of links to control your app. The first one, moving left to right, is “Home”. “Home” Supplies you with updates from app creator James Rohal, a brief list of games that were newly added to the database and a list of future features. You can also send James a message or show support by digging the article for digg.com.

The “Community” link will take you to a list of your friends that have the application, those that are in your networks that are running, or a list of everyone who is running it on Facebook, currently about 1869 users. “Community” also has a drop down menu when you hover over it presenting you with the options of joining a chat room (game related videos actually play from Youtube next to the chat pane), the forums where you can discuss all manner of topics, Wii Mail where you can enter your Wii Number if you wish other app users to be able to send you e-mail to your Wii and lastly a Feedback option which takes you to the apps main page.

Continuing to the right we have the “Profile” link which will take you to your Gaming Profile. This profile displays a list of the games that you added in alphabetical order from top to bottom. Some other video game apps show games in only a seemingly random order so it is refreshing to see this so simply and neatly done. Each game on your list displays the title and a thumbnail of the box art for the game, the game’s friend code if you have entered it, and the language you own the game in. It is important to enter the friend code for a game if you are using the app to find additional people to play with. You can toggle visibility for DS and Wii games and set enter their friends codes as well as remove them from your list. Your wish list appears under the list proper followed by your list of favorite games, what platforms you have and a box for any reviews that you have written to appear. The top right box displays a random game that you can rate, discuss, review or leave be. Games that you have rated and your friends games are also displayed on this page.

Nintendo Networks gaming profile

To the right of “Profile” is a link to choose which platforms you have, a “Stats” link to view which games are the most popular, which have been rated the highest, who has the largest library, and so on. Like most of the application this is a lot of information there. There is another “Invite” link so that if one of your friends goes out and buys a DS or Wii you can add invite them to join you. The last link is your”Settings” link so you can set all of those preferences for the app.

That wraps us up for the walk through portion, but I am going to say a few more things before we close up shop for the day. Not only does this app do what it claims it will do, but it does it really, really well. There is a lot of information provided by the app and none of it is difficult to access or understand. The application also offers up a sense of community. This is something that can become more realized as users add the application and contribute to it. The app does not have an features for adding games from the Wiis Virtual Console and I am just fine with populating the player library with games native to the consoles.

James Rohal, who seems really active, says that there are even more features in the works for the future. Some of these to look forward to are tournaments, an address book, a “now playing” feature and an RSS feed. It looks like this killer app has big things on the horizon and I look forward to not only using it, but growing with it. This application can be obtained for free from Nintendo Networks.

Score: 10/10. Perfect.

Popularity: 2% [?]

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