You know, there was one major thing I forgot to bring up during my opinion piece on how Nintendo should proceed with the Switch. By “major” I mean it should have been treated as such. I think the reason why I forgot about it when writing the article was because I hardly even acknowledge its existence to begin with. That thing would be MyNintendo, the supposed rewards program for Nintendo gamers. Oh my God. Where do I even begin with this one? I get that, theoretically, Nintendo doesn’t really need to have something like this to begin with to entice people to buy more of their games. What I don’t get is how anyone thought this travesty would work as a rewards program.
For those that are unaware of the program, here is how MyNintendo works: Players could register for accounts and be awarded with virtual coins for game purchases. Those coins could then be spend on rewards such as…digital game discounts and small in-game accessories. Why buy Earthbound Beginnings for $7.99 when you could go onto MyNintendo and spend coins to get it for a whopping $5.59 instead?! On paper, it’s a fairly plaus-No, never mind. This is as horrible on paper as it is in execution. This is without even considering that there are actually two separate coin currencies MyNintendo keeps track of for no reason other than to complicate things unnecessarily.
Here’s a fun fact for ya: MyNintendo did once offer digital games entirely to purchase with coins.
Here’s another fun fact for ya: There was a better rewards program before MyNintendo called Club Nintendo.
Wanna know what Club Nintendo had to offer? One coin currency, and rewards consisting of digital games and physical, real things people could hold in their hands! 100 coins for Super Mario Kart sounds like a lot until one realizes that Wii/Wii U game purchases were worth 50 coins each and DS games were 30. All it would take are purchases of a couple video games to get a free digital Wii or 3DS/DSi game!
As for the physical rewards, they were in all shapes and sizes. There would be some of the typical accessory items, such as T-Shirts, posters, messenger bags, etc. They would be decorated and released specifically for people registered on Club Nintendo, and purchasing them with coins would prompt Nintendo to ship the items straight to people’s houses. These were actual, premium goodies that wouldn’t have been out of place in holiday shopping catalogs.
Then there are the rewards that could be played. As in video games that could only be obtainable through Club Nintendo! Sure, MyNintendo once had a Zelda Picross game for the Nintendo 3DS, but Club Nintendo had some mighty fine tributes to the Game & Watch lineup. Throughout Club Nintendo’s history, two Game & Watch compilations were released for the DS and Nintendo even reproduced the very first Game & Watch game, Ball, specifically for ordering from Club Nintendo. Digital games exclusive to Club Nintendo included Grill-Off with Ultra Hand, a fun arcade-style title starring the Ultra Hand toy, and Doc Louis’s Punch Out, a one-time Platinum reward for Club Nintendo users that accumulated enough coins to earn that status.
All of these games, as well as the rest of Club Nintendo’s rewards, were examples of ways Nintendo catered to their loyal fans. The huge issue is that MyNintendo has absolutely none of that. Where are the physical goodies? Exclusive games are understandably too much to ask for, but what about games at all? MyNintendo doesn’t feel like my Nintendo. It feels like the kind of Nintendo that Nintendo isn’t even trying hard enough to condition people into thinking it’s their Nintendo. There are blueprints already established in Club Nintendo. The handlers of MyNintendo need to learn from that and have actual rewards in place instead of a picture of a statue in a phone app.