Club Nintendo: Rewards That Make Sense
If you’re not familiar with Club Nintendo, it’s Nintendo’s rewards system where registering games and consoles and taking surveys grants you coins you can later spend on tangible prizes. This system was slow to come to North America, though, and when it did, it pretty much sucked. For years, we’ve been whining about how Club Nintendo in Japan got all the good stuff. SNES-style Classic Controllers. Soundtracks. DS games that were actually fun (like Tingle’s Balloon Fight). The coolest thing in our “store” was a deck of Animal Crossing playing cards. Don’t get me wrong, I like my cards, but the catalog’s emphasis on posters, notebooks, and folders was disappointing.
What I really wanted from this was to be able to trade my coins for actual games, and not the lame Game & Watch Collections that I could never save up for, anyway, because they cost a whopping 800 coins. Then in 2010, Nintendo released a downloadable WiiWare game for Club Nintendo members called Grill-Off with Ultra Hand, and I “bought” it without hesitation. It was kind of a silly game, but it also only cost 80 coins, so you definitely got your “money’s worth.” Again with the quote marks… But what a concept! How brilliant to reward dedicated gamers with even more games! So why has it taken so long for Nintendo to implement this in a greater capacity?
I’m talking about the fact that, on a monthly basis now, different WiiWare, DSiWare, and eShop games will be available in Club Nintendo ranging from 100 to 150 coins each. This is the smartest thing Nintendo has done in a very, very long time. No longer do I have to redeem expiring coins for Mario memorabilia I don’t really want. Now I can buy games I’ve always been interested in but never pursued before, because I hated dealing with Wii point cards. I just got Dr. Mario Online with the coins I earned from registering Metroid and Kirby, and I’m tickled pink. Like Kirby.
This is what I was hoping achievements on the Xbox would become. In an ideal world, you could cash in your gamerscore for Microsoft points. Even if the exchange rate was a pathetic 1,000 gamer points for 10 Microsoft points, it would be a good enough incentive for me to take it seriously. Hell, I have a new found interest in actively registering Nintendo products now (and I never thought I’d say that), because I have something to look forward to: free games! At the end of the day, what gets gamers most excited is the prospect of more games, and I’m glad Nintendo is finally getting on board with this idea.