Before MyNintendo became Club Nintendo I had been collecting those little registration cards inside of first party Nintendo games. It was nice to be able to see my collection online, and where all of my money was going–like seeing my bank statement in whimsical Nintendo form saying “yousa so poor.” I had an envious eye toward our Japanese brethren who were receiving amazing items from a little thing called Club Nintendo. Limited edition games, controllers, soundtracks and other peripherals. I was jealous–incredibly jealous. Why oh why was Nintendo of America depriving its loyal North American consumers of these amazing rewards? A few years passed and in 2008 Nintendo of America finally announced that Club Nintendo was coming to America to the cries of joy from millions of Nintendo fans! But guess what?
And almost three years later, it still sucks. But why this article, and why now? I was happy to register my 3DS for the sheer fact that it extended my warranty for 90-days which is a pretty awesome thing that Nintendo does. They have the best customer service in the industry and that sweetens the deal. But after entering in my codes and filling out surveys I realized something–these “rewards” are terrible.
Currently I have 1,820 coins–the aptly named currency of choice on Club Nintendo. I have my pick of the lot. However, I can’t find a single thing I want to spend my coins on, and I’m going to bet most of you can’t either. I can get the famed Hanafuda cards, either Game & Watch Collection for the DS or the Game & Watch Ball LCD game. But why? I’ve played most of the Game & Watch Collection in one form or another and the Hanafuda cards are only going to collect dust along with the other swag I have acquired over the years. I wouldn’t dare buy any of the screen savers as reports show on Nintendo’s own forums that they are hit and miss on many purchasers’ computers.
Dust collectors are the best way I can describe most of the items available on Club Nintendo. Folders, tote bags, fans, cases, stickers, and posters–even terrycloth towels. Zero frills items that in my opinion, do not reward the loyal Nintendo fan appropriately.
What I’d like to see happen on Club Nintendo is the inclusion of a variety of worthwhile items. Sure, keep the other chotchkies so that users who do not have a disposable income are awarded in some way. But if I’m spending 600 dollars on Nintendo products, I want my choices of limited edition peripherals, soundtracks, Wii Points or dare I say my choice of other first party titles. This is not something out of the ordinary–Club Nintendo of Japan offers items like this on their site consistently. Heck, I’d even take the adorable Kirby frisbee over the Kirby patches they are offering over here. Imagine if the 25th Anniversary Re-release of Super Mario All Stars was on there! Ah, such dreams I have.
I cannot fault Nintendo entirely–they are one of the few gaming companies out there who actually offer an incentive program. It makes you feel good to be a Nintendo customer when you are awarded at the end of the year with a small token of their appreciation. And I’m not solely buying Nintendo games and consoles to just get points. But let’s be realistic here–Nintendo uses the surveys you take to market their products to you in ways that they determine to be most effective. It’s market research. And in comparison to the program in Japan, receiving a calendar at the end of the year is a big slap in the face. Even Europe has a better selection in their Stars Catalogue! Seriously NOA? They get Wii Points for pete's sake!
All right, so maybe this is purely a rant about how I want more cool, and awesome stuff from Nintendo for being a loyal customer for the past 16 years. Nothing wrong with that, right? For those who are in disagreement with this, I am sure Aunt Gertrude is enjoying those Nintendogs greeting cards that you thought were too precious to pass up on. Mamma-mia.