Think that buying that new Wii or (3)DS game is the end of the line for your value? Well, you're probably right. But only kinda right! If you regularly buy Nintendo products, which does include both systems and software, you very well may want to join Club Nintendo.
Club Nintendo is a rewards program set up by "The Big N" to gather marketing information and give people extra incentive to pick up that new 1st party Nintendo game. Unfortunately, as stated, this program only includes the Marios, Zeldas, Metroids, Kirbys, and to a much lesser extent the Wii Musics of the gaming world. If it's developed/manufactured by Nintendo themselves, it qualifies. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule in recent years, so disregard everything just said and double-check to make sure.
Every qualifying game or hardware product comes with a pamphlet inscribing a registration code. Simply plug the code into Club Nintendo's website and earn "coins" that can be exchanged for completely free-of-charge swag. The coins are usually worth their currency in US dollars. In other words, if you buy a Wii game for $50, you'll get 50 coins. What kinds of things are these coins good for? Well, that's what this article is going to show you! But before we get into that, THERE'S MORE! After every Nintendo Year, which ends in June, those who manage to garner a set amount of coins qualify for a free reward prize towards the end of said year. This reward prize costs NO coins, so even if you reach the "Platinum status" of 600 coins, none of those coins are spent on the free reward prize. That means you get that life-size replica of the Master Sword free in the mail, and can use those unspent coins on a dinky folder set.*
Okay okay, enough explaining. What you're here for is the swag, and the swag you shall receive. I'll briefly note each item, offer a few quips and mull over whether or not they're worth the obscene amount of coins they're priced at. Click on each image to get a large view.
This isn't a reward...yet. It's just the friendly greeting card that comes with each item!
...it's reversible! The material is soft but feels pretty thick. At 250 coins, I'd say give this one a buy.
|"Take a look...at this picture. *awkward silence*" - Mr. Iwata, at the infamous E3 2008 conference. So, just what is going on here? Well, this is the GIANT AR card. It dwarfs the standard AR cards that came with the 3DS. The result? God Mario. As cool as it is, they raised the asking price to 300 coins, which is a bit much when you could get one of those neat fans instead. Watch my video review of the GIANT AR card here.|
|This messenger bag is a beast! It can fit up to 30lbs, or if you're like me...|
|It can also store your 30th Anniversary edition vinyl of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. The bag is a bit costly at 550 coins, but it's quality stuff.|
|For a not so cheep-cheep price of 550 coins, you can show off your love for old school Nintendo with this gray slimfit Super Mario Bros. t-shirt, modeled by yours truly.|
|Why, it's a PVC statue of Mario characters! This bad boy costs nothing, because it's the 2010 Platinum Reward, and was only available to those of us who blow too much money on Nintendo merchandise.|
|I would like to oddly add that this thing smells so good right out of the box. Now it reeks of dust.|
|You receive a visually appealing package. I'm not sure why there's a removable spine piece, but why not? Galaxy had an incredible soundtrack worthy of this equally incredible release. Expect to pay an incredibly high amount on eBay to import it, too.|
|Not unlike the other soundtrack, this one has 2-discs, the weird spine thing and a very appealing design. They are both worthy of translucent blue vinyl editions that will never be made.|
|You can turn the individual cases around to make pictures of either a goomba (shown), Princess or a mushroom. But that sort of defeats the point of displaying the pins, so don't do that.|
|And last but not least...well, depending on who you ask...is the replica Mario hat! This hat was the very first (2009) Platinum Reward in America. During this time, it was a breath of fresh air to see something that wasn't made out of paper.|
That wraps up the Club Nintendo Rewards feature here on Living Vicariously. There are a bunch of different things you can buy using the service, and while a lot of it is far too expensive (a Game & Watch mini-replica will cost you over 20 Wii games worth of codes), at the end of the day, it's all bonus to the games you purchase. Nintendo routinely do special surveys that give you an additional 10-30 coins, and you can easily earn 10 coins for every post-game survey given. It does take some saving to get anything worthwhile, so if anyone out there doesn't want to use their coins or have missed the deadline to qualify for the free prize reward, feel free to selflessly give me your coins! Send all registration codes to me if you're feeling generous. If not? Right here, buddy. Right here.
*end of the year prize may or may not be disgustingly exaggerated