One of the tangible benefits of living in Japan is having a Japanese postal address, which is a gateway to the wonderful world of Club Nintendo. Unlike its European counterpart the presents and campaigns over here are actually worthwhile. From game music CDs and slim metal DS cart cases to plastic figurines and custom Gamecube controllers; it is actually an effective tool for getting Nintendo fanboys like myself to spend even more of their hard-earned cash on silly games they don't need. And occasionally they come up with something really cool. So cool and amazing, in fact, that if you don't have the points ready and you don't order it on the first day of its release you'll have to wait for a second, or third manufacturing run as all of Japan's geeks eagerly spend their points to get their greedy hands on it.
This summer club Nintendo made available, or a whopping 500 points, the Game & Watch Collection for DS, not available in (regular, law-abiding) shops. You can imagine the fevered excitement with which I, and many other people, ordered this a few weeks ago. It arrived by mail a few days ago and...well, I'm beginning to think I should have spent the points on that Hanafude card set in stead. Don't get me wrong, it's pretty cool and fun to replay these three old favourites again. It includes "Oil Panic", "Donkey Kong" (!!) and "Greenhouse". But after playing them all for a few minutes, and struggling with the mustard-yellow background, which cheapens the whole feel of it all, I am done with it.
It just goes to show that retro doesn't always mean it's still fun. Games have progressed so far in the last few decades that these really don't offer any challenge or diversion anymore. It's one thing to own the original Game & Watch consoles; the metal cases, the bent safety-pin fold-out stand, the rubbery buttons, that is all still pretty cool. But this DS carts just offers the "gameplay" of the originals. And, let's face it: they don't particularly have much of that anymore.
So, onto the pile marked "sell on eBay in a few years once the value has increased", along with that Sonic LCD game keychain, the Club Mario plastic figurines and the complete, boxed Famicom 20th anniversary GBA set. What I could have spent that money on in stead.... sigh.