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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How Nintendo Can Improve Club Nintendo

About a year ago I became a member of Club Nintendo. The promise of obtaining goodies by registering games intrigued me. Since I had so many products to register I quickly built sizable amount of coins, most of which went towards digital games on my Wii, because, well, most of the other rewards just didn't appeal to me. Over time I had come to the realization that so many others had: Club Nintendo members outside of Japan are getting royally shafted.

When Nintendo released the NES, they not only created legions of gamers, they turned them on to a new form of music: video game music. Unlike Square Enix and a plethora of other companies, Nintendo very rarely releases any of it's music. They don't think there's much profit to be made from it so most soundtrack releases are regulated to Club Nintendo members. In Japan, that is. Club Nintendo members that live in the land of the rising sun have been treated to such wonderful soundtracks like Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario Galaxy 2, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD and more recently, the beyond excellent Super Mario 3D World.

Every now and then Nintendo will throw us a bone on their soundtracks when it comes to gold and platinum yearly rewards. One of the rewards for obtaining gold/platinum status last year was a two disc re-release of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask soundtrack, which has been out of print for over a decade. This was a great reward for gold and platinum members as it gave them a chance to get their hands on a Zelda soundtrack, complete with new packaging. The last time Nintendo offered gamers outside of Japan a Zelda soundtrack was when they released Ocarina of Time 3D, which required you to register the game to so you could get that game's soundtrack and The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, which contained orchestral arrangements of various Zelda themes.

A few of the soundtracks that were offered
to Club Nintendo members in Japan.

But it isn't just Zelda and Mario soundtracks. Nintendo is sitting on a huge backlog of game soundtracks that have either never been released outside of Japan, did receive a wider release and are out of print, or games that never got a soundtrack release at all. The soundtracks are some of the best rewards a Club Nintendo member could ask for but for reasons I cannot comprehend, these things are denied to members that don't live in Japan. We get bags, pen holders, pouches, but no soundtracks. One of the best ways Club Nintendo could be a whole lot better for members outside of the Land of the Rising Sun is if Nintendo offered their soundtracks to us. Why not re-release the soundtracks to Super Mario 64, Wave Race 64, F-Zero X, F-Zero X Guitar Arrange, Pikmin and Metroid Prime? Why not go even further back and re-release the music from SNES games like Yoshi's Island, Super Mario World, Super Metroid, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past? There's a copious amount of Nintendo soundtracks that could be rewards for Club Nintendo members that the company isn't even touching.

The lack of soundtracks isn't the only thing that bugs me. I've got a huge beef with the shipping for rewards, which, to put it bluntly, is atrocious. In this day and age where mail arrives much quicker, there is no excuse in having to wait months before you get what you ordered. I picked up a poster set as my platinum member rewards and I was informed that they would come in the mail before December 31, 2013. I put my order in for those posters back in August. Why on God's green Earth should it take more than three months to get mail delivered to you?! Even taking into account that I moved to a new complex before November ended, I cannot even begin to fathom why it takes eons for Nintendo to ship something to me. If there's an explanation that Nintendo has for this, I don't care how asinine it may be, someone please tell me. I can understand a week or two, but months? That's not just. Not just at all.

One of the better rewards. You
didn't even have to be in Japan to get it.

There are some nice rewards for those that have been saving up their coins. For gamers that had 1500 coins to burn, a Luigi's Mansion figurine statue was made available for 2013 being The Year of Luigi. The Pikmin Tout bag was also quite nice and not bad for 400 coins. Game & Watch Ball was pretty sweet if only to have a replica of a Game & Watch unit to make you the envy of all your friends. I've actually decided to to start saving up my coins for when the really good stuff comes along.

Overall, I certainly don't think Club Nintendo and the rewards are terrible. They just need to be managed a whole lot better. If the shipping were improved and members outside of Japan were given the option to spend coins on some soundtracks, I think we'd be golden. I don't these desires are totally out of the realm of possibilities.


Adam said...

I had done anything in years but I got the Zelda extras disc (before it was club nintendo) mario hat, hanafuda cards, and the mario statue

Reggie White Jr. said...

Those are certainly some of the better rewards Nintendo offers and that's basically why I've decided to start saving my coins.