Anyone want Mario's Friend Code?
Image: Nintendo

One of the more noticeable differences when playing online on a Nintendo console as opposed to a rival system is the former's lack of screen names. Whereas any Xbox lobby will be full to the brim with people called XoX_DarkDestroyer1782 and the like, Nintendo's players are forced to remain rather plain with a Friend Code system being put in place of unique - and player designed - usernames.

There are pros and cons to Nintendo's method, for sure, but having to dig out your random 12-digit friend code every time a friend wants to add you can get a little tiresome, especially when - on other systems - you can simply search for your friends by their much more memorable screen names.

So why exactly did Nintendo choose to adopt the Friend Code system? Well, that very fact has been revealed as part of the huge recent Wii leak, where the full source code, design files, documentation and more for the system's development has been uncovered. A Developers Conference PowerPoint presentation reveals that Nintendo was actually thinking about allowing freely chosen screen names at first, but eventually went against the idea.

Nintendo Friend Code
Image: via DocDroid

Essentially, then, Nintendo believed that having to try out numerous screen names to get something you want might be too frustrating or confusing for the Wii's audience. As it's possible for a stranger to guess someone's screen name, Nintendo also considered that screen names could go against its 'comfortable' principle which revolves around ensuring players have peace of mind when playing online.

Of course, after the Wii, the Wii U allowed players to use their own screen names, seemingly going against the ideas put forward during the Wii era. With Switch, things have reverted back to the old ways with Friend Codes once again taking over. Was the temporary let up with Wii U an attempt at being more in line with other modern consoles? Perhaps.

Do you like Nintendo's Friend Code system? Would you rather be able to use your own screen names to add friends on Switch? Share your thoughts with us below.

[source, via]