The Nintendo Gaming Network

Picture this: You decide you want to fire up your game of choice… let’s say F-Zero GX. Put in your official boot disc in the drive, let it go through it’s thing, select what game you want to play, throw it in, and start looking for an opponent. This can be done in one of two ways:

1. Automatic. The server searches for other people looking for a game that are on about the same skill level as you (more on that later) and you get down to business.

2. Directed. Of course you will have a Friends list that you can put your buddies, favorite opponents, famous people in, etc, and see your win/loss record with them, and maybe even some personal notes about them. You can both set up a time when you agree to meet online to throw down the virtual gauntlets.

Whenever you win a game in this mental exercise of ours, you will win a certain amount of points. The amount of points you win will be based on a percentage of your opponent’s points (rounded up). That way it works in your favor. If you somehow challenge and beat a level 58 opponent while you’re still on level 2, you’ll get a lot more points because, one would hope, the level 58 guy is supposed to be pretty darn good, while at level 2, you either aren’t really good yet or have just started to play online. Of course, you can also lose points. If you lose a game, you lose some points. Perhaps not as many as the other person gained, and certainly not enough to go into the negative points, but this will be to ensure that there won’t be many people that would rocket up to the maximum level within the first week the service was up and stay there (although I’m sure they would be there anyway).

When you go to play an Automatic game, the system will look for someone with at least the same level as you, then it will search +5 and -5 levels, giving preference to the higher level player. If no one is found, the search will broaden to +10 and -10 levels. If no one is found by the time that the search gets to +maximum level to -minimum level then that game may be on the verge of being removed from the network, you might want to look into playing something new.

Of course there would also have to be newsletters, contests, tournaments, chat areas, perhaps message boards, exclusive game demos (hmm, it’s almost starting to sound a little like the Satellaview), there could even be some sort of ‘secret area’ for subscribers of Nintendo Power. Kind of an online supplement to the magazine. For that matter, there could be some kind of bonus service to the subscribers such as: interviews with game developers, subscriber-exclusive news, demos a week earlier than everyone else, etc. I don’t even want to think of what they could do if they managed to get this working with the GameBoy Player. The Pok