What fine, dandy people they are over at Nintendo of Japan. Register a few points and then spend them on exclusive, free, kick-ass Club Nintendo gifts like Nintendo music CDs, DS-Lite pouches and even the odd DS game or two!
Then, because you’ve been such a loyal customer buying many Nintendo products and registering the points online, they give you an annual reward. No, really!
As I’m sure some of you who own Nintendo products will know, here in the U.K when you buy a game you get a piece of paper with a scratch-off panel and a code written underneath. Register these codes on the Nintendo of Europe website and you open the doors to a world of free…um…mobile phone wallpapers, cheat codes and ring tones… Not that these freebies don’t have their takers, but come on, perhaps something a little more material please?
Nintendo of Japan don’t disappoint! Recently this summer I spent 400 of my hard-earned points on a free gift, granting – unbeknownst to me at the time – ‘Platinum member’ status. Just what this was I didn’t find out until last week when I received an email from Nintendo advertising new gifts.
What’s this I thought? clicking on the email link. A Super Famicom style classic controller for the Wii!? Super Mario Galaxy 2-CD Soundtrack?! And even New Year’s calendars. How awesome! Alas, I had already used most of my points so I closed the email in dismay.
But no! In my haste I had misread the Japanese. Nintendo weren’t showing me new gifts I could buy with points, they were *giving* me a gift! Free! Platinum member status lets me chose one of the three Christmas gifts and have it sent to an address in Japan. It puts Nintendo of Europe’s ring tone ploy to shame! This is how you gain customer loyalty and encourage them to buy many more games than they would normally. Expert marketing indeed. I should start saving up my 400 points again now – I need to reach my quota in time for next year’s presents ^_^;.
So all that was left was to deliberate over which gift to choose. I expect many would gawk at my decision to choose the Mario Galaxy Soundtrack considering it is likely to be ripped and uploaded as soon as it’s sent out to members. Even more so when I could probably pick up a small packet on Ebay for selling a members-only exclusive Super Famicom Wii controller. But I figured I’m not really going to faff around on Ebay selling it, I already have 2 standard classic controllers and, honestly, the music from every Mario game to date has been astounding! I doubt Galaxy is any different. Just gotta’ wait until Nintendo checks its Christmas list and sends them out in January now ^^.
Incidentally, my 400 points were spent on some original Nintendo hanafuda cards (花札) (right)! Perhaps it’s just my inner geek, but getting Nintendo-made hanafuda cards feels pretty cool. Why? Because Nintendo was originally founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi in order to produce and sell hand-crafted hanafuda cards in 1889! A piece of history right there!
Hanafuda cards (literally ‘flower cards’) were born in response to the ban by the Japanese government on the card-based gambling rife throughout Japan. (The ban on gambling was initiated when Japan closed its doors on the West in the 1630s and, ultimately, Western products such as playing cards). The idea was that, because hanafuda cards have no numbers and are played by associating images, it would reduce its scope for gambling potential. Nintendo still make them now, but their primary focus has become gaming.
And so closes today’s gaming post. Forgive my indulgence in a little geekiness! It happens to us all at some point.
View Club Nintendo 2007 platinum member gifts! (Japanese)
View Club Nintendo 2006 platinum member gifts! (Japanese)
Further information on hanafuda: Wikipedia
Nintendo’s hanafuda rules (Japanese)