Thursday, January 15, 2009

Club Nintendo and the Game and Watch Collection

Awhile back, I decided to register all of my Nintendo consoles and software on their website, which was called "My Nintendo" at the time. That's five pieces of hardware (GBA SP, GBA Micro, Gamecube, DS, and Wii) and nearly fifty titles for those systems.

So when they announced that they were bringing Japan's Club Nintendo over to these shores, with its points and rewards, I was pretty happy. I figured that I'd have enough points to get one of every prize they offered.

Not so much. It turns out that you have to both resiter a game AND fill out a survey for it to get the points. So did I have to fill out fifty-plus surveys? Becuase, I would be willing to endure that for free stuff.

Again, not so much. Not everything you register has a survey, and thus, not everything you register can get you points (or, as you might suspect with Nintendo, the points are "coins"). So only a portion of my registered games (and none of the hardware) elicited a survey. Most of the surveys were for very recent releases.

It was still a pretty tediuos task. Each survey had five questions, the last being a mandatory write-a-comment section. I got fifty points for every Wii game I was surveyed about, and 30 for each DS game. Looking at the available prizes, there was only one I was truly after.

The only actual game they offered was the Nintendo Club exclusive Game and Watch Collection. Game and Watch was a series of LCD handhelds created by the late Gunoei Yokoi, who went on to create a handheld revolution by inventing the Game Boy. This DS game was the one of the two most costly items available through Club Nintendo, going for 800 points.

Once I had gone through all my surveys, I was short on coins. Story of my life! Then I remembered that there were a few new purchases that Monique and I had made since I originally registered most of our collection with Nintendo, so I sought out those titles. And sure enough, I had exactly 800 points when I was done.

So the exclusive (did I mention that already?) Game and Watch Collection game came for the DS today. It has a faithful reproduction of three Game and Watch games from the Multicreen series, which is a natural choice since the games in that series of handhelds featured the same two-screen clamshell design that the DS sports today. The games included in the title are Oil Panic, Donkey Kong, and Green House.

They're all presented authentically on the DS, down to the slight after-images of the LCD displays that aren't lit up. And they're fun to play, offering that simple 80s arcade game thrill that us middle-aged gamers still cherish. My only gripe is that they call three games a "collection"? Really, with the power of the DS they could have put most of the Multiscreen series on this cartridge, obviously excepting the licensed properties such as Mickey Mouse, Popeye, and Snoopy that appeared.

Still, it was a free DS game, and an exclusive, so I guess I really can't complain. I hope by the time I get another 800 Club Nintendo points, though, they have some other great selections like the Game and Watch Collection.

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