I have a Nintendo DS and I love the game Mario Kart DS. I'm a fanatic. But in the last few months, playing online via the internet has become a pain in the butt!
There are people who are playing with Hacked versions of their DS/Mario Kart.
They give themselves unlimited powers, and well, to make matters worse, if you quit the game, your get penalized, as your "losses" section increases.
So, I sent an e-mail to Nintendo, informing them about this and I even proposed a way of detecting these hacked versions.
My initial e-mail to Nintendo is the following:
I'm sure when your company designed the Nintendo DS and made it available for Wi-Fi play, it never thought that system could be hacked. Yet, when for quite a while now, a lot of hacked versions of Mario Kart are connecting through your network and basically making the game play miserable and discouraging. With their unlimited powers and ability to speed up their karts, it's hard to play.
Why aren't you doing anything about this? Seriously, I mean, by now, what is Nintendo's position on this? Let me offer a suggestion, since it seems your company, so far, as yet done anything tangible about this problem.
1) Obviously, a hacked version of Mario Kart, might not be recognizable at connection time.
2) But once connected to your network, you can monitor game play for any/all games.
3) Shouldn't be rocket science to determine which karts are cheating at that point... After all, when someone can fire up 5 lightning bolts in a row, or their karts are speeding at 10 times the normal speed of all karts, without any power ups..
4) Also, they seem to be able to reset their winning/losing game numbers, so you could in theory log every user the amount of times they have logged and play games and won/loss. I know it's a pain to keep in your servers, but based on that, you can then easily figure out who is tinkering with their systems.
5) That should allow you to identify them and locked them out of your system the next time they try to log on.
Now, how's that for a solution? See, you can eliminate these party-poopers in the long run, after all, i'm pretty sure they are anyways voiding their rights to access your network by hacking into their games.
I can honestly say that my game losses are not reflective of the games I've played, because everytime I play against these cheaters, I reboot my Nintendo and I'm penalized with game losses.
Do something, we pay you a crap load of money for our fun, you could at least pay and show some interest in the integrity of your games.
This is Nintendo's response
Sadly, cheating in games (even board or card games) is an unfortunate fact of life. We do respect the fact that you, and many others, do their best to enjoy gaming without cheating. At Nintendo, we do our best to make sure that our fans are able to have a fun gaming experience.
One way we have been able to accomplish this is through the Friend Code feature. We introduced the Friend Code feature as a way of allowing gamers to build their own personal online gaming community by choosing to play only with those they know and trust. This way, players are able to create an arena where they can enjoy a fair gaming experience.
Rest assured that your comments about this very important issue have been shared with the appropriate departments within Nintendo for review.
Nintendo of America Inc.
Nintendo's home page: http://www.nintendo.com/Power Line (Automated Product Info): (425) 885-7529
This is my reply back
The problem with Friend Code is that it is only good if you know the person and can interact with them outside of the network. (in person, by phone, etc...), in order to add them to your DS.
I play online and can't for the heck of me know who I am playing with.
So, unless I'm mistaken, I've not seen a way to add anyone as a friend just from playing Wi-Fi online via the web.
But, quite frankly, to tell me that cheating is part of gaming, that is truly astonishing and most unprofessional.
We are talking ONLINE games here.
People are HACKING their DS/Mario Kart cartridge and then accessing your network. How can you you justify tolerating that?
Worse is, I know you can monitor network traffic, I'm a web developer/programmer, I'm not stupid.
There are ways of recognize legitimate users from hacked users.
If you sit by and do nothing, then you are encouraging it, and that means that I'm not looking forward to any of your future products, because you don't care about the integrity of the game.
Here is one way to figure out a hacked version from a legitimate and it's so easy.
Online Play with Mario Kart, we get to choose 16 tracks, not 32 tracks.
Hacked version are able to access all 32 tracks and we know that because they come up with proposed race tracks to play which we legitimate users can't access.
So, that's a clue right there.
There are many other clues.
How can anyone invoke the lightning bolt attack strategy "at will"?
How can anyone have access the server several times to play games and yet always have "0 wins and 0 losses" or better yet.. 1000000 wins. I mean, me, when I quit because of a cheater, I'm penalized in my losses.
How can they invoke unlimited Star Power or any other of the power-ups.
You control the network, so you have the ability to see this.
You also know their machine ids and their mario kart ids. I think it is feasible to block them from future access once they have been found out.
By monitoring the traffic and recognizing these losers, you can weed them out over time.
If I knew that was a process which was taking place, at least, I wouldn't be as irated, I would know that you the company is trying to do something for us, the legitimate users.
If you aren't doing anything about it, it's truly not because you can't, but because you won't.
And that means that in the long run, I, like many others, will look to play on other platforms.
Because what you DON'T realize, is that the time we put NOT playing the game (i.e. connecting to cheaters, having to try and guess who cheats and doesn't before you commit to the game, etc...) Well, it's not worth it.
So, when you say, cheating is normal, you obviously don't think much about the effects of this.
If in 1 hr of time, I play 10 minutes of good game and the rest is all about avoiding the cheaters, then this is not good for me. And that means that it's not good for you, because my money in buying your games is what makes your company run.
These cheaters are wasting our valuable playing time, and I'm telling you, that if Nintendo doesn't propose a solution for this very soon, I will boycott your products.
Between me and my g/f, we have 4 kids and they all want DS(s) and Wii(s) for christmas, We will not buy it, we will get them a console or handheld from another platform. No point getting them to waste their time as I have been.
If we get fed up of this, we are not going to purchase anything else, and you get to lose.
And I will bring this up to any one who will listen, any and every darn gaming board, hi-tech board, etc...
In fact, your letter will go in Slashdot.org, as a starter with my response.
Don't tell me cheating is normal.
Tell me instead the strategy to be used to avoid them and how you plan on resolving this issue.
That's what I want to hear.
No response for this yet from Nintendo
It will be interesting to see where this leads to.