While we are saying goodbye to Club Nintendo in just a few hours, I thought it would be nice to look back at some of the best and coolest rewards that the service offered to fans who participated. I wasn’t there for every reward, and I often forgot to fill out the surveys which left me missing out on easy coins that I could have traded in; but I still received a handful of great Nintendo memorabilia and prizes. In addition to the ones that I received, there were plenty of rewards that I never ordered or were never made available in America.
Super Mario Bros. 25th Anniversary Pin Set
The first reward that I received as a Platinum member was a set of Mario pins that were meant to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. I honestly have had this sitting in random areas in various homes since it first shipped, but I still love that I have it.
Mushroom Kingdom Statue
The year before I first hit Platinum, members were sent this Mushroom Kingdom statue that featured the characters of the Mario Bros. series and was shipped in a Question Mark block. Outside of the later Luigi’s Mansion statue, this is one of the few examples of unique physical rewards offered through the program.
Game & Watch: Ball
One of the rewards made available through the catalog that didn’t require one of the two Elite statuses was a reproduction of the Game & Watch: Ball. Although I had plenty of LCD games as a child, I never owned a Game & Watch. I always ended up spending my earned coins on other rewards, rather than waiting until I had enough to get this one.
Wii Super Famicom Classic Controller
Something not made available in North America that eternally made me jealous was a Club Nintendo exclusive Classic Controller for Wii. This was the one downside to being a member of the program that offered exclusive items: when they weren’t items offered where you live. This controller is a replica of the Super Famicom controller and is fully compatible with Classic Controller compatible Virtual Console titles. I still occasionally peruse eBay for one of these but I can never accept the amount of money I’d have to spend to get one.
Famicom Mini Series Box
My favorite of any Club Nintendo offer has to be something that I would never have received, not only because it wasn’t offered in the North American catalog, but also because its use is only for games that were never released in North America. While we saw the release of the NES Classic series for Game Boy Advance, Japan had an almost equivalent release in the Famicom Mini series. Japan received a handful more in the selection of titles, but what made them even cooler was the Club Nintendo reward that went along with them.
Club Nintendo members in Japan could order three boxes that would hold the collection of games. Each box was decorated with sprites from games offered as part of the series. I wish that we would have had an equivalent product in North America, because it probably would’ve motivated me to spend $20 on each cartridge when they were released.
The end of Club Nintendo is somewhat of a sad day, but to be honest, I forgot to fill out my surveys so often that I missed out on a lot of the great rewards. Additionally, the selection in the last few years of unique physical rewards has significantly dwindled. While it has still been nice to receive games for free that I would have otherwise purchased, I somewhat preferred the exclusive physical items. Even those that we did receive often paled in comparison to what other territories were offered. I only listed a few of the items that we didn’t get here, but there are so many other Europe and Japan exclusive rewards that I wish we would have had the chance to order.
I hope that whatever membership service is coming from Nintendo as part of their partnership with DeNA later this year will somehow incorporate Club Nintendo’s well intentions, because this type of reward program is perfect for Nintendo fans over any other. If the new membership service can combine what was great with the Deluxe Digital Promotion that gave Wii U owners 10% back on every $50 spent, I think we’ll be all the better for it.