Last week the highly anticipated Club Nintendo of America officially launched. Nintendo gamers can sign up by visiting Club.Nintendo.com. After joining, members can register select Nintendo hardware and Nintendo-published games in exchange for Nintendo Coins, which can then be redeemed for limited-edition Nintendo rewards available only to Club Nintendo members. Some of the exclusive rewards include the Game & Watch™ Collection for the Nintendo DS™ and a set of traditional Hanafuda cards printed with Nintendo characters. Members must earn coins by registering their games and completing a corresponding survey. The amount of coins earned by games varies by game type: Wii (50 coins), DS (30 coins), WiiWare (10 coins), and Virtual Console (10 coins). In addition, the Wii Fit can be registered and earn members 80 coins.
There are also three ways to increase the Club Nintendo coin total. First, members can let Nintendo know of their “intention to buy” a particular game. After buying the game and completing a survey, members will earn ten extra coins. Next, an additional ten coins can be earned by purchasing a game and completing a survey within the first four weeks of its launch…a little Nintendo incentive to buy early and buy often ;-). Finally, members can earn an another ten coins by participating in a “post play survey” that is available shortly after the game launches.
Nintendo has stated that games released during December 2008 or later can be registered, but you can only register select titles that were released prior to December. Unredeemed coins expire two years from issue if unused. Reports from early participants say that the system is slow due to high traffic and a few bugs have been identified, so you may want to wait a few days before trying to register.
1up.com reported this week that Dragon Quest X is coming to the Wii and Electronic Gaming Monthly has revealed rumors around a possible Dragon Quest IX release as well. While not as big in the U.S., Dragon Quest is huge in Japan and the announcement has created a good bit of buzz across the web. Dragon Quest IX for the DS hits stores in Japan in late March. No timeline for U.S. release yet for the DS or Wii versions. Stay tuned!
In an effort to expand their audience beyond the everyday gamer, Nintendo has released a new software title for Nintendo DS that turns the video game system into an interactive cooking coach, complete with recipes and video demos. Personal Trainer: Cooking for Nintendo DS contains more than 240 dishes (hopefully, this number will grown substantially over time) from dozens of countries around the world. The DS Chef, a friendly electronic cooking instructor, walks users through each step to make sure every dish comes out perfect and delicious. With a tap of the screen, users can even scale the quantity of their recipes based on the number of guests they expect. Not only could this be a fun method to learn to cook, this could also be a cool, innovative way to introduce kids to the art of preparing a meal. Could this be the epicurious.com of the future?
Personal Trainer: Cooking even includes videos of various cooking techniques, such as how to julienne vegetables. The touch screen interface helps aspiring chefs check ingredients on an electronic shopping list. It also lets them search recipes based on ingredients, number of calories or cooking time. When a user’s hands are too involved in the process of cooking to use the touch screen, the voice-recognition feature can be used: Just tell the DS Chef to move on to the next step or repeat the last one.
Personal Trainer: Cooking is the first in a new line of planned Personal Trainer titles from Nintendo that target non-traditional gaming audiences who will learn new skills in fun and interesting ways. For more info: www.personaltrainercooking.com
If you’re shopping for a DS this holiday season, Amazon is currently offering the Nintendo DS Lite Limited Edition Red Mario with New Super Mario Bros. Bundle and the Nintendo DS Lite Limited Edition Ice Blue with Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day! and Carrying Case Bundle each for $134.99. Note that these are “pre-orders,” and they would not be processed and shipped until Friday, November 28th.
For the limited edition DS, this is a good deal. The next lowest Black Friday price I’ve seen is Walmart’s. They are offering the same bundle for during their Black Friday sale for $136. The benefit of the Amazon deal is that you can avoid the sales tax and get free super saver shipping. An added bonus – you don’t have to get up at 3 am and wait in line on Friday!