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All back to mine

Online modes for Animal Crossing Wild World mean you can visit your friends anytime, anywhere

All back to mine

Mario Kart DS will be the first game to take advantage of the DS' wi-fi abilities to go online but the most important game to use the feature will be Animal Crossing: Wild World. Due for release in the UK in early 2006, the do-it-yourself decoration and socialising game is ideal for online gaming thanks to its community-based gameplay.

The basic single-player game finds you moving into a village and buying a house. Then it's a case of gossiping with the neighbours, exploring the countryside - maybe you'll find some treasure! - as well as more domestic activities such as designing your own wallpaper with your handy DS stylus. There are also plenty of hobbies for you and your friends to enjoy, including collecting bugs, cutting down trees or fishing. And, of course, you'll be able to kit out your in-game character with different outfits and items. In fact, Nintendo promises over 1,500 so there should be loads of variety on display.

But onto those all-important multiplayer features.

There will be two ways of enjoying multiplayer play. The first will be the old fashioned method of getting your friends in the same physical location (each with a copy of the game) and connecting via the DS' adhoc wi-fi connection (it's also called a Wireless Local Area Network, or WLAN, jargonheads!) as used for normal head-to-head multiplayer games. By connecting this way you'll be able to visit each others’ villages as one player will act as the host and open up the gate to let their friends in. Then everyone can share in the fishing, gossiping and shopping within that village. You'll also be able to write letters using the DS' touchscreen, as well as communicating with the village characters using text messages and smilies.

But when your friends decide it's time to leave and go back home, that won't be the end of the story. Sometimes, one of the characters from your village will decide they want to move to one of your friends' villages. Alternatively, a message in a bottle from someone in your village might wash ashore in one of your friend's village, or star constellations created by a friend might appear in the night sky over your village.

The other way for such interactions to occur will be to connect to other players' villages via the internet. This is a bit more complicated because you'll only be able to connect to people on your Friends' Roster and you'll have to physically register your friends' names within the game to enable this. This can happen when you're using the local multiplayer connection as described above. When anyone visits your village you can add them to your roster by simply tapping the Friends' Roster icon, then the names of the people you want to register.

If you're using the Internet, however, you have to register your friends using their registration key. This is a unique 12 digit number that everyone receives when they register their games with Nintendo's game servers. These codes are then entered into your Friends' Roster and anytime your friends are playing online, you'll be able to invite them into your village and vice versa.

It might sound a bit tricky but the good news is you'll only have to do this once and then the Animal Crossing: Wild World sociability can continue to blossom, no matter where in the world you or your friends are.