Accumulating points to save money on Switch eShop purchases is all well and good, but Nintendo's current rewards system for loyal customers arguably lacks the pizzazz of the old Club Nintendo days.
That's not to say that the more recent My Nintendo physical goodies are bad. In fact, the swag you can redeem Platinum coins for nowadays is much the same as the lower tier offerings you would find while browsing through the Star Catalogue of old. And who doesn't love a good Splatoon 2 poster or a 2021 card calendar?
Before morphing into its current My Nintendo guise, Club Nintendo began life in Europe as VIP 24:7 in 2002 before switching to the same Club Nintendo branding as Japan during the Wii era. Meanwhile, North American Nintendo fans wouldn't see the loyalty service arrive until 2008. It certainly had its fair share of tat and rubbish to waste your points on — how we pity the poor souls who frittered away their star points on digital wallpapers! — but it also had some pretty special exclusive items, too, including sweet statuettes and even games (hello Game & Watch Collection and Tingle's Balloon Fight).
We decided to ask around our staff and contributors to find out their very favourite Club Nintendo treasures from yesteryear. At the top of the page, for example, you can see NLife Editorial Overlord Damien McFerran's glorious Game & Watch Ball, a decade-old reissue of Nintendo's very first Game & Watch from 1980.
That's a tough act to follow, for sure. Read on to find out our other staff picks...
Kate Gray, staff writer
Back when I had zero money, I was such a sucker for loyalty card schemes. I got all my games through buying and trading them in as quickly as I could, and in the process, I amassed a veritable HOARD of Club Nintendo points. And god, the rewards were good. I practically broke the "order" button when the transparent, shiny playing cards came out, and I even brought them with me to Canada, despite being too precious to ever use them.
They're like a badge of honour; I have no idea how rare they are, but they make me feel like a collector. When I'm 80, I will show them to my grandchildren, and say, "a long time ago, there was a man named Mario... they killed him in 2021, of course, but before that, he was an icon".
Zion Grassl, video producer
I have a decent amount of the goodies Club Nintendo offered us in exchange for our thoughts over the years, but none have been more useful to me than these DS/3DS cartridge cases! I have a borderline unhealthy collection of DS games, most of which have their original boxes and manuals, but the few I do own without their boxes stay in these cases until I can pair them up with their original plastic homes.
Each of these hold 18 games total and they’re the exact size of a standard DS case, so they fit on the shelf like a glove! Whenever I go out game hunting or when I would travel to retro game shows I would always keep these in my backpack, in case I picked a new loose cart for the collection, or someone had some boxes to trade me! Both of these cases came with different artwork inserts too, but honestly, I’ll never change out the legendary Zelda art I have in them now!
Next up, Alan reveals that he, too, treasures his Zelda DS cart case; his is just objectively better than the last. Sorry Zion!...
Alan Lopez, contributing writer
At my first E3 way back in 2014, I was aimlessly wandering the halls of the LA convention center when from the corner of my eye I saw a strangely familiar figure walk past me. As if by stimulus/response, my brain told my mouth to shout out: "Mr. Aonuma?" The man stopped, turned, and stared at me. In that moment, I had never been aware of anything harder than I was then: aware of my inability to speak Japanese.
Fortuitously, I remembered I had a Zelda item in my laptop bag: a Club Nintendo 3DS case. Before he could turn away, I reached into my bag and pulled out the case, and handed it to him, along with a marker I had coincidentally just been using. He took the case, nodded at me, and signed it. Almost immediately, random show-goers walking past us had begun to take notice of the scene, and they, too, began producing Zelda items from their bodies for him to sign.
My signed 3DS case remains my little secret, tucked away in my collection. As, too, is the little known fact that a statistically relevant number of people must apparently keep Zelda memorabilia on their bodies at all times, just in case.
Gavin Lane, editor
I never had a huge amount of Club Nintendo swag, perhaps because I never seemed to have quite enough points to get the really good stuff. Still, I always liked the look of the quality trinkets and branded doohickeys on offer, and nowadays I get incredibly jealous when I spy other NL staff members' bygone treasures on my Twitter feed.
Apart from my Japanese copy of Tingle's Balloon Fight (which I bought on the internet rather than earned by scratching foil off Star Points cards), my one prized Club Nintendo possession is a coin commemorating the Year of Luigi which came in a nice soft case with the logo stamped on the side. It's a weighty little thing — quite useless, of course — but of all the video game-related tat I've got pugged around my home, this is one knick-knack I'll always take a moment to examine and turn over in my hands whenever I happen across it. It never fails to put a big grin on my face.
Ollie Reynolds, reviewer
I've always loved a good video game soundtrack, and back when CDs were still a thing ('see dees', you say..? Curious...), they were always the first thing my eyes were drawn to when browsing the Club Nintendo offerings. The Super Mario Galaxy Original Soundtrack is a 2-disc buffet of all the wonderful orchestrated tracks from the game; I used to listen to such hits like 'Space Junk Road', 'Gusty Garden Galaxy', and 'Buoy Base Galaxy' while working on Uni assignments, and let me tell you, that soundtrack got me through some stressful times!
Ryan Craddock, news editor
I'm lucky enough to have a few Club Nintendo goodies that I collected over the years, so choosing just one is a pretty difficult task. Apparently 'all of them' isn't in keeping with the spirit of this article though, so I'll opt for this cute Nintendo Sound Selection - Endings and Credits soundtrack.
As the name suggests, the two CDs included have a number of songs from various Nintendo releases over the years that play during each game's credits. It has classics like Super Mario 64 and Super Metroid, and even some that were new at the time like Tomodachi Life and StreetPass Quest II of all things. There's a sweet little book inside that tells you about each featured game, and it serves as a great soundtrack to just have on in the background. Lovely stuff.
Nostalgic for the time when you were part of the 'Club'? Prefer something other than the treasures listed above? Let us know your favourite items from the Club Nintendo days — or even something you've gotten recently from the My Nintendo store — in the comments below.
My most treasured club nintendo item is the smash 4 soundtrack as I was an idiot prior and used my points for wii shop channel points.
Probably my Castlevania Double Pack for thr GBA
Im jealous of the signed game case, so it’ll have to be that.
I’ve got those playing cards (and a less awesome Mario Party deck) and both the albums (though only the 1-disc version of Galaxy). And I too have a second-hand copy of Tingle’s Balloon Fight. And the Smash4 OST.
I also grabbed a set of Mario-themed Hanafuda cards, despite having no idea how to play it.
Of the ones I have, the Galaxy OST is easily the best. But an Aonuna-signed game case? That’s a no-brainer.
The 3 coins for having ,xenoblade, last story and Pandora's tower on Wii and one of my very first ones, Metroid Prime 2 poster and Star fox Assault poster. I got Animal crossing on Gamecube and Mario Tennis on Gamecube via Nintendo VIP (U.K version) back in the naughties too.
Got the original DS early, went to demo the 3DS two months before release, and got the New Nintendo 3DS with the Smash/Nintendo faceplates early too.
It's treated me pretty well over the years.
The gold Zelda: Twilight Princess statue they did in Europe. Took two years to save enough points for that!
Back in the day there was better stuff than this!
I remember a gold link statue?
Club Nintendo was awesome. I got a reversible travel bag for my DS and a statuette of Mario & Friends that came in a "?" block, both of which I still have.
Like Kate, my best reward were those shiny, partially translucent, playing cards. I tried to shuffle them once and my hands were covered in shiny dust. Don’t do that.
My most prized collectible is a Japanese Game & Watch when I visited Japan for work reasons. It was in this little game store, and we could barely understand each other, but we eventually got there lol.
It sits in my gaming cabinet with all my other Nintendo things, like my Splatune soundtrack and amiibos.
Mine is the 3 pack of promotional coins for the three operation rainfall games (Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora's Tower). Managed to find them on ebay for a very cheap price, and I later found a second set in better condition, but this time with the cardboard sleeve which was missing from the first set. So I have two of these. Super cool and interesting memento of a time gone by.
When will we get actual rewards, Nintendo? I want things that are substantial and aren't something I could find on google and print myself.
Also the coins for Xenoblade, Last Story, and Pandora's Tower. They hold extra value, because I have all three games in collector's edition, from day one, and got the coins for free myself. Wii was my main gaming system.
And the Luigi's Mansion statue, some Japan only games like Tingle's Balloon Fight, (some power rangers like multiplayer game I never figured out how to control because it used voice commands and I don't speak Japanese), and the first of the Famicom GBA games collection boxes, complete. I have a few others as well, used to work at a gamestore and when we got used games I had to remove all the paperwork except for the manual, so all those unused codes were mine to keep.
At one point I also had the G&W, but I sold it because I stopped collecting and someone was REALLY eager to get that.
I have most of the things listed in this article. My most treasured Club Nintendo item is the Super Mario Characters figurine statue. It was one of the platinum prizes for the year in the US. It came in a question mark box. It sits on a shelf with the rest of my Club Nintendo goodies. I miss Club Nintendo.
Mine is the gold Twilight Princess Link on Epona statue. I was able to get quite a few rewards over the years, Pokemon Box on Gamecube, Game & Watch Ball, Game & Watch collection on DS, a ton of soundtracks, Luigis's Mansion statue. Recently I got the Japanese gold Mario platinum member reward.
It's not much, actually, but I can say that it is quite authentic Japanese. It's a Mario-themed hand fan.
It has been used on occasion, but it is kept in its cloth case.
Not a lot of stuff was available for the Americas, but the fan is one of my more unique possessions.
My Switch. As a 90s kid, I grew up watching my cousins playing with their GBAs and well, we weren't rich. We couldn't afford one. Finished high school and college and when I got my first job I saved up for a Switch. Looking for a GBA SP now. Btw, you guys think getting an SP now is worth it for a lot of Pokemon games right?
I unfortunately wasn't involved with Club Nintendo long before it switched to My Nintendo, and most of what I did spend points on went towards free Virtual Console offerings. I did, however, manage to grab one of those 18 slot 3/DS cases, though mine is Mario-themed. It's a nice home for my loose carts!
I got a set of hanafuda cards from club Nintendo one time. I had no idea how high quality and neat they are. I wish Nintendo released more of these in the states.
Guess for me it's either the Smash Bros (3DS/Wii U) soundtrack or those assorted colour Wiimote straps I used on my 3DS even. That and I still have my sheet of New Super Mario Bros. Wii stickers (still fully intact) framed on my bedroom wall.
I really wanted to grab that Golden Wii Wheel especially. But by the time I saved up enough stars, it was sold out indefinitely.
I loved those rewards! Got a few too many of them, but I haven't seen a few more favorites mentioned here, namely the Mario Kart Cups! I have the Shell and Mushroom Cups, very nice items.
Also got the Game and Watch Ball and Luigi's Mansion Diorama.
Glad I did that back in the day, because those special items will never return it seems.
Mario Hanafuda cards. I love those.
The gold Luigi coin! Was gutted I wasn't able to get one.
I do have those lovely clear playing cards though and I also deem them too precious to use. I have have earlier set of playing cards too that are regular card but has other Nintendo IP on. They too, are too precious to play with. I managed to get some Hanafuda Mario cards too, which I want to play with but have been unsuccessful in finding someone to learn the rules with me.
I have a Majora's Mask jigsaw puzzle which was only available to Japanese Club Nintendo members. I have it framed and just above my breakfast bar. They are rare and a Japanese Couch surfing guest gave it to me.
I've got a Club Nintendo Luigi blanket and eye mask set, that a very good friend of mine gifted me for Christmas one year. ^_^
The only physical Club Nintendo reward I have is Game & Watch Collection 2 for the DS (got that after thankfully some silly person traded in their complete copy of the first game to GameStop for me to buy and save the Coins).
Would have been the SNES CC if NA wasn't the only region left out of availability of that item.
Snoopy Tennis Game & Watch. Still in its box, still plays perfectly after nearly 40 years.
I forgot I do have the Mario pins and the Mario hat.
I guess I forgot because those were the gift items and I was thinking of the ones from Coin redemption.
I think a couple years one of the prize choices was an exclusive WiiWare game (weren't Doc Louis' Punch-Out and Grill Off With Ultra Hand those?).
Oh wait, does the Zelda Collector’s Edition compilation for the Cube count?
I didn't get anything super special from club Nintendo, but I do love my big Metroid Prime poster I got!
Mine would be the Game & Watch Ball re-release.
I didn’t even know there was a club Nintendo! LOL Only club I know is CLUB PENGUIN
Not on your list: the SNES Classic Controller for Wii. I have a good few of these Club Nintendo things (the CDs are particularly excellent) - it's such a shame that it devolved to a few Nintendo points before the whole thing just folded completely for physical stuff.
The satisfaction of buying a used game with the Club Nintendo code still intact was always a delight too!
Mine is probably a club Nintendo Mario hat I got like 10 years ago and had Charles martinet autograph it <3
My best ones are my Kirby blanket. And the Animal Crossing CD and the Kirby CD.
I didn't get any of the rewards mentioned here, but i did manage to get a Yoshi Plushie, a teal blue 3DS XL pouch, A Kirby Triple Deluxe Soundtrack CD, and the 18 Game case.
Yoshi plush is my fave
I so wanted the Mario Diarama, and the A Link Between Worlds CD, but i could never get enough points for them.
I still have Doc Louis's Punch-Out!! saved on my Wii U system (got it as a Platinum Reward, but eventually transferred it), so that's my Club Nintendo Treasure.
I used to go to my local GameStop’s and pull the codes out of used copies of games that people had traded in and were sitting on the display shelf. Somewhat trolly of me? Eh, it made me realize how many people didn’t care about Club Nintendo and didn’t bother to redeem their points. I picked up a few really cool Club rewards as a result of it though.
I have a Peach notebook and a 2010 calendar that's full of really nice artwork, surprisingly no FE.
My points were mostly spent on 3DS VC, got Kid Icarus 2 and Kirby's Pinball Land, one of the worst pinball games I've played.
But probably my favorite was getting Grill-Off with Ultra Hand, it soon became more about having the game than playing it, tho.
What, nobody mentioned the GIANT Mario card used for the 3D camera on the 3DS? 😂 I have the pics somewhere, maybe I'll find them for you later.
I have Kate's deck of cards, but also another deck that makes a puzzle of a parade which is very cool.
The black Zelda bag is cool, we used it to collect the cards at my son's bar mitzvah.
Probably best thing though is the 2010 calendar b/c I get to reuse it every 5 or 6 years (leap years give me a headache) and this year is one of them.😁
Mine is the Club Nintendo Super Mario diorama, but it because it was NOA we didn't get the protective case or fancier base. Imported some of the items not made available to NA audiences
I’ve got quite a few of the Club Nintendo prizes, the Game & Watch is definitely my favourite although my most used item are some coffee coasters in the shape or bricks from Super Mario Bros. 1. They’re made of a nice rubber and the gaps between the bricks prevents the condensation from cold glasses from causing the coaster to stick to the bottom of the glass. They’re really quite useful!
It’s a shame Nintendo don’t do this sort of thing anymore, their current reward system isn’t a patch on Club Nintendo.
I was unable to get the rewards I really wanted (Kirby’s 20th anniversary medal, Luigi’s Mansion 2 diorama), but the Kirby’s Epic Yarn patches were sweet, and I still use the Zelda 3DS game holder—they were supposed to send me the Pikmin one, but I didn’t want to make a fuss as they were going under. The best reward I got was Doc Louis’s PUNCH-OUT!!
Here in NL we never got any good stuff, so my best is a farewell coin.. remember they also killed some old pints to much chagrin.. and the finally the transfer from CN-points to Wii-points came... at 4 to 1.. pfff
Club Nintendo Japan gave away custom polo shirts with Nintendo embroideries as a reward. I don't think Club Nintendo rewards get neater than that.
Unfortunately back then Nintendo pretended Mexico didn't exist (they still do for My Nintendo's physical rewards in North America) so we didn't officially get any of these goodies.
But if they count, I have a Club Nintendo items: The Legend of Zelda: Collector's Edition and Pac-Man Vs. for the Gamecube (I mean they were Club Nintendo exclusives in Japan)
The most practical is definitely a pair of the 3DS cartridge cases. They're absolutely perfect when traveling for work. Otherwise the 3-pack of large Smash 4 posters is probably my favorite, which are framed and hung in my game room. The print quality is stellar, especially the Galaxy themed Mario/Rosalina/Fox/trainer poster. I especially appreciate that they have no obtrusive logos. The pack of Mario posters they released on My Nintendo are a total joke by comparison.
Light-up model of Majora's mask. I resorted to buying codes from eBay as I didn't have enough that hadn't expired!
they still owe me dozens of kid icarus cards they never delivered then to me also dsi sock and robably other stuff 😡😡😡
I choose mine!
All the Club Nintendo Zelda Posters
TWO 3DS XL docks! One Red, one Green!
The only physical My Nintendo rewards I have are the Mario Galaxy and Mario Kart 8 soundtrack CDs, which are great.
Sorry Zion, your case is cool too. The case is my favorite too. It's so beat up, but I love it
Between the Platinum Playing Cards and the 3DS Card Case 18, I don't know which I liked better...
Mine has gotta be my Luigi's Mansion figurine/diorama. Although I do also love the playing cards and the gold nunchuks!
My favorite is the Mario hanafuda set. Too bad I can only play with video games. I don’t know anybody else that plays shogi or hanafuda in real life...
I missed out on some of the best rewards, like the game and watch, hanafuda cards, and the mario statue. I ended up with zelda posters, a mario button set, sound tracks, coins, and cards. I also got a zelda puzzle and bag but by favorite is the zelda game case pictured above. It was and still is useful and has a great art.
I'm very happy with my OST I got from Club Nintendo, but I just adore my official Club Nintendo Mario Hat!
A 3DS Game Case and the Club Famicom Wii Super Nintendo controller.
I have the collection of Mario pins/badges from club nintendo, which was the one and only big end-of-year reward I was able to claim from the site, so it's special to me.
The thing I got the most use out of though, was definitely the 3DS game card case.
Loved Club Nintendo back in the day! I think my most cherished one is the Mario characters figurine from 2010. Some of my other favorites are the Super Famicom controller, the Mario and Peach pin, the Mario playing cards, and the 3DS game card cases.
Perhaps unsurprisingly my Animal Crossing K.K. album
As a card magician, I love my transparent Mario cards but like Kate, rarely use them. I also still have my 3DS game card case.
I lovey Hanafunda cards, but honestly my personal favorite is my giant 3DS AR Card. Being able to turn my whole living room into a playing field is excellent!
It's a real shame that physical My Nintendo rewards require that you pay a shipping fee. I can't order anything as I don't have valid credit card. I'm financially irresponsible and have terrible credit, you see. At least do PayPal like you do on the eShop! I miss when Club Nintendo would just send it to you. The 3DS game card case was definitely the most useful of the rewards I got. I also have a foldable little basket with Mario characters that I store controllers in, Smash 4 posters, and a Zelda music CD.
I got the Mario hat and the Mario hat DS case
Say what you will about MyNintendo... at least I no longer have to awkwardly ask my friends if I can have the registration codes that came with their game.
I have a lot of Club Nintendo remnants that I wish I took better care of. Mainly my complete collection of Zelda posters. I put pins through them to hang them LIKE A RUBE.
@Dnj4 Look at the prices for the remodeled GBA's with the IPS screens, before shelling out for anything else. I love the ergonomics of the OG GBA..
Check out this article, lots of people are doing this themselves, and you can easily find modded GBA's on ebay:
Mario Hat, Pin set, Game & Watch Ball, Gold Nunchuk, Platinum Playing Cards, Majora's Mask tote, Mario & Friends Statue.
I regret missing the Dark Moon statue and Hanafuda deck, but store.nintendo.com has Mario Hanafuda decks for sale now that are just as good.
I was envious of EU for years, but those SNES controllers finally shipped with the SNES mini in the US!
I really like my little reversible blue/white pouch, I use it to keep my childhood GBA in!
The coolest Nintendo thing I own tho is a little Custom Robo poster I won in a contest in 2005!
I have the gold Link and Epona statue. The day I received it, the Master Sword immediately snapped off. So Link now holds a cocktail umbrella instead.
I got the Kirby Triple Deluxe soundtrack tucked somewhere in my house.
What about these bad boys ? https://images.app.goo.gl/rYBQiqngPh3gQ7CQA Anyone got them?
I don't really have much special swag. I have a few special edition things, like Xenoblade 2 collector's edition and the controller. I think I have a pre-order gift from eBay games that's a special coin for Super Mario Galaxy. I still have the Zelda GameCube Collection and I have the Zelda Wii U. I don't know that I particularly value those though. I'm not overly sentimental when it comes to "swag" and stuff like that and I never did Club Nintendo.
The only thing I kept was the Playing Cards.
I only have some free posters, my 3Ds pouch which is kinda cute but I did get a CD with the Ocarina of time soundtrack when I bought the 3DS version.
I really regret burning off the rest of my coins on 3DS downloads for games I never had any intention of playing and wish I had redeemed them for another Kirby blanket or two instead (as I can’t bring myself to use the one that I do have).
My favourite rewards were the soundtracks though. No question about it. About a year ago, I spent a bit of coin on getting some of the Japan exclusive CDs, including Wii Fit Plus, Tomodachi Collection, and Pilotwings Resort (all brand new and sealed and reasonably priced considering how rare these are).
I probably won’t bother trying to grab the rest as they’re unjustifiably expensive.
Only item i got, is the mario 3D world soundtrack. Still sealed.
I have both Game & Watch collections, Mario Galaxy and Zelda OST, Mario Kart 8 pins and a Mario Hat shaped 3DS case.
All tucked away in a nice glass cabinet.
I used to get the calendars every year for my office, and I still have a 3DS bag with the Club Nintendo logo on it, and the red/yellow/green/blue Wii remote wristbands that Club Nintendo offered to tie in with New Super Mario Bros. Wii. That's still the only way I can tell my Wii remotes apart.
My most treasured item is definitely my Panasonic Q ,GameCube with the DVD player ,purchased it with my brother as soon as it came out ,had a few people wanna buy it but it's staying where it is lol
lol Alan's much better Zelda 3DS cart case
My favourite item from Club Nintendo is probably the gold nunchuk.
I also like the hanafuda cards and the super premium playing cards.
I still have my "Nintendo Fun Club" membership card from 1987. Oh wait... wrong Nintendo club. I'm just old, damn!
Toss-up between the Majora's Mask lamp and the thingie featured in the thumbnail.
@stvnorman I'm very jealous...I never new that a Snoopy G&W game existed, until recently. Fortunately, I'm able to emulate it on my 3DS and PSP! I actually love those Snoopy games!
I have the Luigi's Mansion figurine sealed.
I actually got the G&W Ball reproduction from the service back in the Wii days and still have it!
I also got the little clear plastic logo game shelf and the lil Wii remote holder/basket thingy.
I never signed up for Club Nintendo, considering I was but a wee babe when it came to America, but my cousins left their Wii and all the games at my grandma's, and then she gave some of the games to me, so now I have the Zelda Collector's Edition for the GameCube.
Mine would have to be the Star Fox 64 3D dog tags and case. I also have a Star Fox Zero poster but I don't remember if that was Club Nintendo or not.
I think the Mario Galaxy 2xCD is the only thing I ever actually saved up enough points to afford? People talk up how great the EU service was but it really was a lot of old tat. You needed a colossal library of scratch codes to get anything halfway decent (and a whole bunch of my codes expired before I could use them!)
Oh wait, the only other thing is a cardboard artbox for the first three Professor Layton games, which is neat I guess?
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