Much like our very own Ethos, Club Nintendo has decided to take that final bow and let the curtain come to a close just as I was beginning to get to know them. While I do find myself a bit sad regarding the Departure of Ethos, I would be lying if I alluded to doing anything other than shrugging my shoulders when I heard about Club Nintendo going away. It is not that I thought it was a bad program, but more so that I was never given a reason to care. Well, that is, until recently. The announcement and subsequent future plans have raised my level of attentiveness from a single, unintelligible syllable, to the lifting of an eyebrow and a hopeful twitch of my stylus.
On Tuesday, the news made the rounds with the usual Internet gaming riffraff. While there were a handful of mournful eyes in the audiences I wandered through, most were primarily concerned with maximizing gains in this last hurrah of sorts, as Nintendo’s Scott Moffitt has promised to “…add dozens of new rewards and downloadable games…” in order to make anyone with a few coins left in their quivering wallets care. To be honest, it is working fairly well, from what I am seeing, and I include myself as one of those who is now interested in spending credits on a free service I clearly did not appreciate.
Perhaps saying I did not appreciate Club Nintendo is too strong. Club Nintendo was never annoying about what it did, as far as I recall. I did not get constant emails telling me how to earn extra coins, or endless prompts every time I used the eShop reminding me to register this or that. The only time I would see any offerings is by logging on to the site, which is about as unobtrusive as it gets. Of course, there were also the prizes I could redeem with my registration, and taking surveys to earn a few extra coins. In the few years I had an account, I was never really drawn to anything up for grabs on the 3DS list (since I do not own a Wii or Wii U) or the physical rewards, but it was nice to know they were there and I waited patiently, thinking that perhaps one day things I wanted would appear. So, to say I was unappreciative is probably unfair to myself. There was just nothing to drive that sense of loyalty in me.
Now, it seems, just as they are about to shut the doors, they have managed to get myself and players like me interested again. Sorry, nothing has changed since the last paragraph and I still do not own a Wii U, but if I did, I would probably be all over Super Mario Bros 2 and Excitebike, the latter of which was easily one of my favorite childhood games to steal from my cousin.
The offerings for Wii U and Wii have been okay in the past, but lacking either of those systems has always left me feeling slightly shafted. However, this time around, there are already two 3DS titles I would not mind having in my collection; Super Mario Land for obvious nostalgia reasons, and Wario Land II simply because my young self actually owned a copy of it and never bothered to play. Yes, yes, I can almost hear the admonishing cries of The Legend of Zelda fans everywhere. Rest assured that it firmly remains one of my favorite games, but when we get down to brass tacks, if I am going to relive those days, I am going to blow into my cartridge, slot it lovingly into my NES, pour a glass of moderately priced bourbon, light candles, and gently caress that old rectangle controller well into the night. That and I do not want to waste my coins on something I already have a copy of.
As for next month, February will be seeing some new stuff added to the list of redeemables, though I am not seeing any clear info on how that will be divided between physical and digital products. My skeptical side demands that I expect no more titles to choose from than the current selection, only because I personally do not care about the physical rewards and wish to avoid some disappointment. Club Nintendo probably has a warehouse of odds and ends they would just love to get rid of, so get ready for some limited quantity exclusives, or whatever buzzwords work in place of those. I do actually hope to see a few more titles, and from the looks of things, there will be some more to pick from soon, so I shall be waiting and seeing. Since a new loyalty program will be rolling out later this year, I expect titles with higher demand will be held back as sign-up bait, but that is pure assumption on my part. If some nice titles pop up, I will gladly admit my bad call.
3DS owners are getting something a little extra, as well. Flipnote Studio 3D will be available for free, having cultivated a following after the fizzling out of a US release. Europe, will unfortunately have to sign up for the new service to get the same deal, which begs me to ask what the new service will be called. If they go with New Club Nintendo, I might puke. At any rate, offering a free and fun looking app is a nice touch, even to me, someone who could not draw his way out of a paper bag, though I am sure at some point I will have to deal with a skillfully rendered wagging phallus from Bup when he takes advantage of the offer and my trusting nature.
All in all, we will just have to see what happens through February. Users have until the end of March to register and survey their way into fresh coins, and until the end of June to spend them, so I recommend waiting awhile unless some finite amazingness happens in the physical reward department. Just for the sake of frivolity, I would love to hear what you would like to see hit the rewards list. Impose no limits on ridiculousness or absurdity, or do, if it suits you so. A Grill-Off with Ultra Hand sequel, maybe? Go nuts!
Of course, none of this excuses a missing AC adapter…unless they bring back Nintendo Power. Get it?