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By Matt Kamen
June 22, 2007
Pretty yawn inducing stuff, right? Click 'Accept' and move on. Whatever.
Actually, hold up a second and actually read the dull, business-like email for once. In particular, the following paragraphs:
Also note that when you continue your Nintendo membership, from now on your Stars will automatically expire 24 months after they were added to your profile. Stars you have earned before the introduction of the new Terms and Conditions expire 12 months after the introduction of the new Terms and Conditions, which will not occur until June 1, 2008.
However, you will soon be able to swap your Stars for Wii Points in the Stars Catalogue if you linked your Wii Shop Channel account to your online Nintendo membership.”
Now, what this basically means is that the Stars points – bonus points accrued from buying certain games or Nintendo hardware that can theoretically be exchanged for prizes through the website - you've already registered will expire in a little under a year and new points in two years, whereas before they lasted indefinitely.
The European Stars catalogue has always been the sickly relation to the American and Japanese equivalents, rarely offering any physical goods in exchange for Stars and immediately snatched up whenever it does. For the most part, European gamers have had a selection of screen savers and computer wallpapers to choose from and little else. The new change could either pull the plug on the Stars scheme's life support or give it the defibrillator shock it needs to save it.
On the good side, being able to turn Stars points into Wii points allows players to get something useful for a change, as Wii points are used to buy retro games through the online Virtual Console service. Certain Virtual Console games will in turn generate more Stars in a beautiful cycle of videogame addiction. However, Nintendo have yet to announce the exchange rate of Stars to Wii points and given the current examples (50 stars for a wallpaper; registering a game nets you 250 Stars – not a great return), expectations are low. Looking more negatively at the situation – if you haven't got a Wii or you've not connected your Wii to the internet, you're pretty much screwed. Stars will linger for their now finite validity period with nothing more enticing than a ring tone to spend them on.
While it's nice to see some valid use come from the Stars in Europe, I hope Nintendo revamp their catalogue beyond catering to their Wii customers. The DS is the biggest selling console on Earth and a selection of physical games for that would surely be appreciated more so than some ethereal points that not all consumers will be able to take advantage of. Sadly (and cynically) though, it seems Europe is once again being viewed as the unwanted houseguest of the videogame industry.
New UK DVD Picks for 25/06/2007
Dragon Tiger Gate: Ultimate Edition
It's not just the likes of Spider-Man and Batman that can make the jump from comics to film – there's a long line of comics from Asia that have had the cinematic treatment. Dragon Tiger Gate is based on a Chinese martial arts adventure comic with a bit more depth than the "You killed my master – for that you must die!" cliché that plagued the genre for years. Donnie Yen both stars and provides stunt/action direction for the movie, ensuring frenzied yet beautiful fight scenes. DVD extras include interviews, deleted scenes, production diaries and a making of documentary.
Wolf's Rain Complete Collection: Box One
The first half of this feral fantasy tale is collected in a fetching book styled collector's box. In the future, the world's resources are all but gone, yet legend speaks of wolves leading the way to Paradise. Bit of a shame they're extinct then. Or are they? On-disc extras are the same as the single disc releases – character profiles, voice actor interviews, creditless opening and ending sequences and poster booklets.
Hellboy Animated: Blood and Iron
The second animated outing for Mike Mignola's demonic hero sees the burly red guy and friends trying to prevent the resurrection of a vampire killed in the 1930s. Extras consist of audio commentary, alternate and self-insulted crappy ending, an e-comic – presumably DVD-ROM accessible – and some background info. Online retailer Play.com will be offering an exclusive 'Hellboy VS Bat God' figure with the DVD.
That’s it for this week. Thoughts? Comments? Hatemail? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org