It was the summer of 2012. I had gone a long time without playing a new Nintendo title. I had been intrigued by the Nintendo 3DS but had yet to pick one up. What ended up being my last college summer spent at home, was my reawakening to how much I enjoyed Nintendo games. After a string of letdowns from AAA titles on other consoles and Mass Effect 3 still lingering in my mouth, I settled down with the Wii in my parent’s basement and picked up Super Mario Galaxy, and thus began the summer where I spent all my time catching up on the Nintendo games I had missed.
I broke down rather quickly and purchased a 3DS with Super Mario Land 3D and my love for the system was immediate. I grew up on Nintendo, but it had been a good while since I played a new Nintendo game that grabbed me and kept me up all night playing. Without that 3DS, this site would not exist. Once I found the time to put down the game, I was going through the documents and fliers that came with the system. I came across one for a service called Club Nintendo which advertised that if I registered my new handheld, the warranty would be extended. I’m careful with my systems, but figured that it wouldn’t hurt.
I booted up the website and registered my system, and discovered the coin system the service offered. I assumed that at most they would be able to be used for cheap accessories or merchandise. When I discovered that you could trade in the coins for games on the eShop and Virtual Console, I was blown away. I was falling back in with Nintendo and here they were making these games available to me for free. All I needed to do was register my games.
I made a quick dash through all the Wii games that were at my parent’s house and found that nearly all of them had Club Nintendo codes. I promptly registered them and watched my coin totals go up. Classic games that I had heard good things of, but weren’t my kind of game I could try risk free.
From then on out, every time that I bought a new game the first thing I would do is check for a Club Nintendo code and redeem it. I learned what day of the month the rewards would cycle through and wait anxiously to see what would be available. I got chances to replay games from my childhood that I hadn’t touched in years.
It goes without saying that when Nintendo announced that they were pulling Club Nintendo, I was disappointed. They definitely went out with a bang, making plenty of great games available for users to spend their remaining coins on but it was sad to start opening up Nintendo games and not finding a Club Nintendo code inside.
Nintendo promised that there would be a replacement for Club Nintendo and it took it’s sweet time to get to consumers. The My Nintendo Rewards program is nowhere near as exciting or worthwhile as Club Nintendo was. You get coins for making digital purchases (although the Switch does allow you to link your physical games for coins) which can then be used for digital items for your Nintendo consoles or discounts on digital versions of retail games.
The discounts are quite pitiful when you compare the deals that were available through Club Nintendo. As for gamers such as myself who prefer physical versions, the idea have having to purchase digital to get the most amount of coins to get discounts on other digital games is a nonstarter.
When Nintendo Network begins charging for the service later this year, Nintendo has said that they will make Virtual Console games available for free to subscribers, similar to Playstation Plus and Xbox Live Games for Gold. The main difference is Nintendo plans to make these games available for only a month, and then they will cycle out. Meaning you have just that month to play those games and then you lose them. Hopefully this is something that Nintendo turns it’s back on and these games remain available as long as the user keeps their subscription. The spirit of Club Nintendo would then be alive and well through this service.