The American arm of Club Nintendo updated its reward catalog for the first time since last month's Elite prize disappointment and it appears that the loyalty program is headed down the road of emphasizing digital games over physical items. Previously the program offered a choice of four downloads per month for the Wii U, Wii, 3DS, and DSi from the Virtual Console catalog or small, bite-size DSiware games. Typically two of the offerings were duds, but you'd often find Paper Mario or Kirby's Dream Land in the other slots. It wasn't a perfect offering, but it wasn't bad either. Now, effective this month, the catalog offers a choice of eight downloads and the games up for grabs are actually good stuff. This month you can get Super Mario Bros. 2 and Excitebike for the Wii U; Star Fox 64 and Vegas Stakes for the Wii U / Wii; and Mario Golf, Dr. Mario Express, Puzzle League Express, and Baseball for the 3DS for prices spanning 150-250 coins.
If an emphasis on digital games is where we're headed with Club Nintendo, then I'm alright with that so long as the company recognizes that some games are better than others. I never want to see Ice Climber or Urban Champion held up as a mighty classic ever again. We can do without shovelware, but I would like to see some of the stronger third-party titles such as Mega Man and Castlevania offered from time to time if those deals can be arranged. I continue to hoard my coins for some hypothetical future amazing physical item, but I can see myself sinking coins into Virtual Console releases just as easily. I slammed Club Nintendo last month over the lackluster Elite reward offerings, but I want to give credit when the program does right by me. Adding more games worth playing to the standard reward catalog is a solid move and I'm glad to see it happening.