5 Wii and DS games whose online features will be missed the most

Today is a sad day for Nintendo Wii and DS owners. It's the day that Nintendo officially pulls the plug on the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service. While Wii owners will still be able to take advantage of apps like Netflix, those hoping to jump into an online session for their favorite game will no longer be able to do so. So it's with a heavy heart that Shacknews delivers five online-capable games that Wii and DS owners will miss the most.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

It wasn't always perfect. In fact, online play for Super Smash Bros. Brawl was often laggy and connections could get very spotty. Still, Super Smash Bros. Brawl holds the honor of being the first game in the series to feature online play for up to four players. Though disconnections were often frequent, it was fun to come home from work and connect with other players for a quick two-minute session. For someone without friends available locally, it was nice to be able to toss Smart Bombs or nail a perfect Home Run Bat swing during an online game. As time passed, more and more games started hitting Final Destination with no items, but that didn't make this game any less of a blast.

Tetris DS

Online Tetris is hardly a novelty, given that there are still iterations of the long-running franchise on other consoles that still feature online play. But no game of Tetris ever featured a unique Nintendo-centric coat of paint the way Tetris DS did. This one hurts to lose, partly because of the head-to-head standard Tetris sessions that were enhanced by Super Mario Bros. backdrops. These games could be played with or without special items, like banana peels and Super Mushrooms that would allow up to four friends to trip each other up. There were also head-to-head sessions of Tetris DS' other game modes, the coolest one being Push. Push mode tasked two friends with pushing the other player's Tetrimino pile into a pool of lava on the other side. As one side inched closer to doom, the frantic "Hammer" theme from the classic Donkey Kong would kick in, adding an extra joy factor.

Planet Puzzle League

Old-school puzzle games like Tetris Attack and Pokemon Puzzle League were fun in past generations. But Planet Puzzle League, a more straightforward take on the series, was the first to feature online play. Sessions of the classic match-3 game between friends could get intense, especially when garbage blocks were introduced. Planet Puzzle League was fun to play against strangers in the competitive Birthday Battle mode or against friends in friendlier Friend Battles. Planet Puzzle League also featured a novelty not often seen in Nintendo titles: voice chat. Friends connected via Wi-Fi had the option to talk trash to one another as they did their best to outwit one another.

Excitebike: World Rally

Fans of this classic motorcross franchise ached for a new installment and were pleasantly surprised to get this downloadable game on the Wii. Unlike previous updates like Excite Truck and Excitebike 64, World Rally aimed to play closer to the 1984 NES classic, making sure to only update the game's visual aesthetic. Oh, and also, it included online play. Fans could take their talents online and play against other bikers. They could earn points for Top 3 finishes, as well as unlock new content, like courses and additional bikes. However, Excitebike lovers were perhaps most excited to see the game's Track Editor. The original game's Track Editor was a feature that was far ahead of its time. Not only was it included in World Rally, but players could also share their custom creations online. It was everything an Excitebike fan could have wanted.

Mario Kart Wii

Perhaps no game in the Wii's history received as much time and effort towards its online play than Mario Kart Wii. Both Versus and Battle modes supported up to 12 players, often without any latency issues. Two friends could even band together on the same console and play together against the world online. Heck, Nintendo even tossed in a dedicated Mario Kart Channel, devoted to keeping track of leaderboards, course times, and worldwide tournaments hosted by Nintendo themselves. It was an ambitious endeavor and one that made Mario Kart Wii stand above and beyond its predecessors. And all of it is about to disappear. Mario Kart 8 might make it possible for console karters to continue racing online. However, one must consider the install base of the Wii U compared to the install base of the Wii. After taking those numbers into consideration, it's easy to see how the loss of the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service will prove devasting to Mario Kart Wii owners. What will you miss most now that Nintendo Wii and DS online play is gone? Let us know in Chatty!