Club Nintendo and I have had a love-hate relationship in the recent past. The once great service has turned into something that many of us in the gaming community continue to mock and shake our heads at. In the past year, things have gotten worse and after seeing the end of the year rewards for this Club Nintendo year, I fear that Club Nintendo may not be around much longer.
In past years, I really loved Club Nintendo, the rewards were great and I didn’t mind doing the surveys in order to get them. Even better than the rewards you could “buy” were the end of the year rewards that you would get if you got enough coins.
Two of the best things we ever got were a full sized Mario hat and an awesome statue that feature all off the main characters from the Mario series. Things like this were products you could never find in stores and could only get through Club Nintendo’s reward program.
As of late though, Club Nintendo has been a shell of itself. The rewards we can redeem our coins for have been very sparse and the variety has hardly ever changed. Even more importantly this past year’s end of the year rewards were all downloadable games. This really took away that something special that these rewards had. I always gladly took the surveys because I knew at the end of the year, I would get something pretty awesome that I couldn’t find on a store shelf.
Now I wouldn’t be mad if we got special editions of virtual console games, but we got games that were readily available on the eShop and it made the whole feel half-hearted and not worth the time. Seeing that Mario Kart was such a big hit, I would have loved to see figures from them or maybe even a downloadable game of the first Mario Kart but with special characters that weren’t in the original.
I know the biggest argument here is that these rewards are “free” and honestly, I couldn’t disagree more. As Club Nintendo members, we partake in market research that would cost Nintendo tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. To get direct feedback from their core audience would cost them a pretty penny, but with this program they are getting it without having to put out that much money.
I also make the argument that you have to spend hundreds of dollars just to reach the top tier, so giving us something that we probably already have, like a basic downloadable game, just seems like a slap in the face.
I really used to love Club Nintendo. They were a service I really enjoyed, but as of the past year and a half, I’ve see them go down this really shitty path. I think if they continue this sort of thing, we won’t be seeing the Club Nintendo of old ever again or maybe not at all and that really is something that I don’t like to think about.