Super Mario Run is out now, and while the timed iOS exclusive doesn’t have much in the way of multiplayer, it does have something Nintendo fans have tried hard to forget: friend codes.
Unlike Miitomo, which dumped the archaic numeric system most recently used by the Nintendo 3DS, Super Mario Run asks players to share their 12-digit ID numbers in order to connect. There are a few other, more contemporary options available too, like linking Facebook and Twitter and finding “recommended friends” that way. Giving out and searching for friends codes, however, are the default choice.
After Super Mario Run was announced, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said that Miitomo players would have another method for adding friends. A Nintendo rep confirmed that that’s in the works for a later update.
“There are future plans to add the ability to search/add friends from Miiverse [Nintendo’s social media platform], as well as transfer friends from Miitomo so long as both games are connected by the same Nintendo Account,” Nintendo told Polygon.
What players cannot do is simply trade Nintendo Account information to connect. That has yet to be offered in any Nintendo game, but Super Mario Run seems like it would have been a good chance to test that more modern option out.
Instead, those who want to try the mobile Mario game’s slim multiplayer mode — Toad Rally, which allows players to asynchronously compete against each other’s high scores — are left trading friend codes. It’s got social media both surprised and, unsurprisingly, annoyed:
Holy shit. Super Mario Run uses FRIEND CODES— James (@Mmm_Doggy) December 15, 2016
Super Mario Run has friend codes... Nintendo... please... I thought we moved on from this.....— Jim (@letshugbro) December 15, 2016
Why does #SuperMarioRun have friend codes? I thought Nintendo partnering with DeNA would get them out of the dark.— Vidya Stuff Related (@VSRelated) December 15, 2016
Super Mario Run uses Friend Codes, are you shitting me?— Red Nose BY2K (@TheBY2K) December 15, 2016
We’re not sure what this portends, if anything, for the upcoming Nintendo Switch’s friends list management system. We imagine that Super Mario Run on Android will also use friend codes whenever it arrives on that platform.