After playing Mario Kart DS online now for nearly a week I've run into my share of people who disconnect from the game the moment someone outscores them. It's very frustrating to get a game together and then, halfway through, two people quit the game because they're losing. The fun of Mario Kart is not who wins and who loses, but the act of driving those karts around the wacky tracks and using items to knock off the racer in first place. Note that I did not say "knock off the racer in first place in order to win". Whomever is in the lead will be beaten up by blue shells and lightning bolts. That's just how it is and it's really part of the point of the game. We try to win, but winning is more of a journey than a destination.
Disconnecting during a game deliberately is downright dishonorable. I've noticed a pattern when it comes to these disconnectors, and that has led me to be able to identify people who will disconnect before the game is over. My hope is that in sharing my observations you too will be able to pick out likely candidates for disconnection. You won't be able to do anything about it, but at least you'll see it coming.
Players on the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection are able to choose their own online screen names and customizable decals. Mario Kart DS allows players to draw their own decals one pixel at a time. Most players choose a game-related screen name or a variation of their own name (MarioMan, Triforce, Matt-AMN, and so on) and a related decal, usually something game-related again or a little sketch of personal importance. People who have set up their online identities in this manner are generally good people to race against online. They've come to play and they'll keep on playing, win or lose.
On the other hand, there's a class of player who uses racist or ethnic slurs, insults, profanity, or out-of-place adult material as a screen name. In the past week I've come across JewHater, FuckYou2, PenisGod, and other such inappropriate screen names. The decals that these people create for themselves range from swastikas to crudely-drawn genitals. One decal consisted of just the word SEX in big blue letters. These players probably find these shocking screen names amusing. What's important here is that such behavior is a sign of immaturity, the same kind of immaturity that leads to disconnecting during a race. Every one of the players using offensive screen names or decals that I've encountered has dropped from the race the moment someone else beat them to the finish line. Every single one. It's come to the point that when I see one of these types of online identities appear on my screen, I know that person will quit the game at some point, and they do.
Something else that appears onscreen when the initial player match-ups are made are the records of how many races a player has won and how many times that same player has lost (where, in this case, a loss means "did not finish in first place after four races per online match"). My win/loss record is of little concern to me. I'm in the game for the thrill of the race, not the ranking. However, you will come across people who are deadly serious about their rank in the Mario Kart world. If I see a player appear that has a big zero in their Loss column, it's a good bet that player will disconnect if he or she is losing in order to avoid scoring a loss and tarnishing that precious record. After all, disconnecting during a race doesn't count as a win or a loss for the disconnector. The player has nothing to lose rank-wise by disconnecting, so for those concerned with that rank it's standard procedure to quit as soon as the results turn sour.
Amusingly enough, I've run into several players with a score of both zero wins and losses. While it's possible that it's the first time that particular player has raced online, it seems more likely that it's another instance of someone who disconnects mid-game in order to avoid a loss going on their record. Of course, the player is not skilled or patient enough to actually win a match, so they never play a match all the way through. Instead they disconnect at the first sign of score trouble, preferring to try again someday rather than risk the loss.
These patterns are merely my own observations, but they haven't failed me yet. I cannot understand how the dishonorable disconnectors will ever actually be able to enjoy the game with all the worry about rank and score. I will also never understand why offensive immaturity is so much fun for some people. What I do understand is the race itself, and as long as that continues to make sense then I figure I'm doing alright.