While July 1st typically conjures thoughts of impending fireworks and barbecues for the average American, there is a certain breed of nerd for whom it’s New Years Day.
Club Nintendo, aka one of the sneakiest vehicles for market research on the planet, is a free membership program offered by Nintendo to its consumers. By registering the PIN codes included with specific game titles, gamers can earn coins that can then be used to for reward items in exchange for answering a short survey. If a user manages to accumulate 300 coins within one calendar year, that user achieves Gold status; those that earn twice that amount achieve Platinum. For whatever reason, Club Nintendo’s calendar begins its year on the first of July. This is significant because it also resets the counter tracking new coins. The previously earned coins are still there, and can still be spent on rewards, but each member’s progress toward achieving Gold or Platinum status is returned to zero after June 30th.
Well, last night was Club Nintendo’s new year’s eve, and I realized that I was still 70 coins shy of achieving Gold for the year. If it was purely a pat-on-the-back sort of ranking, I wouldn’t care if I reached it or not, but Club Nintendo offers a special free gift for its Gold and Platinum members each year. So far I’d managed to reach at least Gold for the last six years, and I wasn’t about to let 230 coins go to waste. Looking over my game shelf, I noticed that I still hadn’t opened New Super Mario Bros. U, which came bundled with my WiiU. I figured that it’d at least get me a big chunk of the way toward my goal (especially since it also contained the Luigi expansion), so I shredded the plastic wrap and cracked open the case — only to find it absent of a PIN code.
Figuring the PIN was simply missing, I decided to call up Club Nintendo to have it manually added to my account. I scoured the website and tracked down the toll free number, and after wading through the menu system, I found myself on hold to speak with a representative.
And that’s when I discovered that Nintendo is brilliant.
Many of you will recognize this as the daytime theme to Hyrule Field in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. As it turns out, it’s also the hold music on Nintendo’s hotline.
This is nothing short of genius on their part. Ocarina of Time is not only one of Nintendo’s most wildly successful titles, but it’s considered by many to be one of the greatest games of all time. There’s a very good chance that the people calling them up will be at least mildly familiar with the song, and upon realizing that it’s a tune from such a beloved title, they’ll probably be in a better mood. This is exactly what happened to me when I was on the phone last night; I can’t even tell you how long I was on hold, because I was so giddy over the fact that a Zelda song was being used as the hold music that I spent my time jamming along in my seat instead of getting impatient or annoyed.
Furthermore, my attitude once I got to talk to a representative was significantly better than it probably would’ve been otherwise. I ultimately received bad news from the gent helping me; apparently bundled games aren’t eligible for Club Nintendo points, but I was in such high spirits, the news really didn’t bother me that much. Instead I thanked the guy for his help and told him that the hold music was a very pleasant surprise. He chuckled and said that they get that a lot.
In light of what I learned last night, I’m kinda tempted to start calling up other game developers just to see if they too have done anything fun with their hold music. It really is something that more companies need to adopt; if someone’s calling customer service, they obviously have a problem, and given that some waits can be upwards of an hour or more, having good music can probably go a VERY long way toward making customers feel better about their outcomes, even if they didn’t get what they wanted.
Obligatory Legal Crap
I am in no way affiliated with Nintendo, Club Nintendo, or Legend of Zelda. I’m just a geek that found myself wanting to hook up my N64 after I got off the phone with customer service.
I am never writing a title like that again.
American Legend of Zelda fans are in for a treat, because for the next four days, LoZ: Four Swords Anniversary Edition is free to download from the Nintendo eShop for the 3DS. The promotion ends just before the stroke of midnight on February 2nd, allowing players four days to dig up four buddies to forgo any aforementioned plans and place more forethought on Four Swords.
Okay, I promise I’m done with the four-puns now.
In all seriousness, this is a big deal for Zelda fans who were disheartened to discover that Four Swords: Anniversary Edition was removed from the Nintendo eShop in 2012. The game was originally released on 9/28/11 as part of the series’ 25th anniversary celebration, and like now, it was free to download. As of 2/20/12, Four Swords was completely removed from the Nintendo eShop (not even as a paid download, just completely gone) and has not been made available again until today.
There’s no confirmation just yet if the game will disappear from listings once again after this four-day promotion, or if it will become a permanent figure in the eShop at long last. If you have any interest in obtaining the game, now is the time to do so, just in case Nintendo seals it off for the second time.
The Legend of Zelda, Four Swords: Anniversary Edition, and the Nintendo eShop are all © Nintendo. I did take a picture of my 3DS, which is awkward as hell to coordinate, but the image is still Nintendo’s property. (Seriously, it would’ve been so much easier if they’d just let me take a screenshot.)
As we celebrate our fathers and father-like figures today, many of us on the internet have also been examining the paternal characters that turn up in our favorite media. I’ve seen a lot of celebratory posts around Tumblr today about the dads in a lot of books, movies, and video games I’m familiar with, but I’d like to direct everyone’s attention to an often overlooked video game dad that deserves some attention. There are some pretty badass fathers out there, but there’s one that is not only an amazing caretaker, but that works his proverbial ass off and keeps on trucking no matter what sort of mishaps the world throws at him. Who am I talking about, you ask?