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After a week and a half with the Nintendo Switch, I finally have the day-one update for the device. And it turns out that a piece of Nintendo’s online legacy has returned to haunt us once again like a cheap horror villain.

The Nintendo Switch uses Friend Codes. Assuming I haven’t fallen through time, it is still 2017, and Nintendo’s new console still uses Friend Codes. My Friend Code is SW-2625-2297-5311 … ah, yes — my lucky numbers. Why is this happening? Why is Nintendo doing this? At this point, the company must just keep giving us these damn numeric strings as some kind of twisted social experiment.

Now, the good news is that you can add friends from a suggested list if you are already friends with them on Super Mario Run or Miitomo. Hopefully, the company also adds the option to add friends with Switch systems who are also friends with you on social media since you can tie those accounts to your Nintendo ID. But, so far, that isn’t an option. Here are the only people you can send friend requests to:

  • Friends from Miitomo, Super Mario Run, and other Nintendo mobile games
  • People you’ve played with online
  • Local users
  • People who have told you their friend codes

Hey, that stinks. I want this to stop. Please!


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Nintendo started using Friend Codes with its DS handheld when it introduced online features for that system. In those days, you could play Mario Kart online with your buds, but you could only add them to your list if you both exchanged Friend Codes and entered them manually. Nintendo has improved these options somewhat in recent years, but Friend Codes are still indicative of the company’s lackluster online capabilities compared to Microsoft or Sony.


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