Minna No Nintendo Channel First Impressions

So I had a long day at work and didn’t actually hear about the “Minna no Nintendo Channel” until I got home this evening. Immediately hearing the news I downloaded the channel so that I could see what the buzz was about and deliver it straight to the Infendo readers.

When you log in, the channel gives you the same messages as the Mii Contest Channel (i.e. do you want to recieve message updates, etc.). Once you log on, a video starts playing automatically- and the quality is surprisingly good. The video is an informercial esque add for Wii Fit with Miyamoto and some atheletic looking people talking about the benefits of the software.

You can click on the video to view it in full screen, or hit a button to check out more videos. When you hit that button- the video you’re watching down-sizes and hides in the corner so you can see a list of other videos, almost like a TiVo pre-loaded with Nintendo commercials.

Nintendo is no stranger to promotional videos. Back when I was a kid even, I would recieve VHS tapes with my Nintendo Power subscription promoting games as early as the original Donky Kong Country (there were probably earlier ones but that was the first I got). The thing is, with the advent of the internet and definitely this channel, having a video for every game (and so easily accessable) kind of diminishes how special having a promotional video really is, at least for me. Where the videos help is if there’s a game you don’t know anything about- you can watch a video. However there are more videos than on Nintendo’s Japanese site, and higher resolution too- so it definitely has its advantages over PC viewing.

The marketing goes even further with a voting system that checks your Wii for the games you’ve played and then allows you to submit suggestions straight to Nintnendo about what demographic you think your games are appropriate for. This was kind of fun to play around with and think about, but you don’t get to find out anyone else’s survey results- it’s just a marketing tool, so it isn’t too exciting after the first couple votes.

Where the channel really shines is in the downloadable DS demos. In Japan you can actually download DS demo games all over the place (from kiosks, posters in train stations, etc.), but to have all the latest DS demos accessable at home is just really cool. Since the games don’t leave your DS ’till you shut it off, imagine downloading a new game demo every couple of days to play on the train ride to work… I’m considering moving farther from work! Sure the demos are still just ads but they’re interactive, fun, and not something you can get outside searching the streets for demo stations.