On May 20th, 2014, Nintendo is permanently removing all online play for Nintendo DS games. Over 30 games in the DS library will lose online functionality, except by direct cable connection. Many of these titles have solid offline play and won’t be seriously affected by this, but a select few will lose either the best feature of the game, or in some cases, the only meaningful game play option. The following games are those that will lose the most value when Nintendo shuts down DS online play.
Pokemon Black / White / Platinum / Pearl – Back in the old days of the original Gameboy, people traded Pokemon with a small cable that connected two Gameboys. Wi-Fi changed that and took the cables out of the lives of gamers. Most DS owners wouldn’t even know where to find their cable, if they even have one. Wi-Fi is a fact of life and the lack of it represents, essentially, the permanent inability to trade Pokemon. Newer games exist but there are still millions playing the old game and soon they will have lost a major feature of the game they play.
Nintendo DSIWare – Not only does the loss of WiFi represent reduced features in many games, it also represents loss of access to DSIWare. DSIWare is the program that allows you to purchase and download over 200 indie games on the DS. The cost of these games is rather low which makes this a great source of cheap entertainment on the go. Very soon players will no longer have access to these great games and indie developers will lose a source of income. It is a loss for both parties.
Diddy Kong Racing DS – Diddy Kong Racing DS is actually a rather middle of the road racing game, but the touch screen controls add a nice twist. More importantly, multiplayer adds a challenging element to a game that is otherwise rather easy even at the highest difficulties. A more exciting racing game might still have a lot of value even after online play was removed, but this game lives on multiplayer and without that feature it is pretty much a waste of digital space.
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies – This Dragon Quest game was actually designed with multiplayer in mind. While it is a single player campaign, you can engage in limited multiplayer to trade items, knowledge, and even add game play options by trading treasure maps. The online play was so popular in Japan that a real life location actually became a hub for trading and a known source for one of the rarest items in the game. The game is still a solid single player adventure even without online functionality, but with much more limited content. It is rare that a single player role playing game loses so much from a lack of online content, but this game is that rarity.