Yesterday The Nintendo Channel finally hit the US. This channel has been in Japan for some time and many Americans have been clamoring for it, though I think it is funny that some are disappointed by it now. But let me remind others that it is what it is, basically it is an advertising opportunity. They could easily have called this channel The Advertisement Channel, which would be fairly accurate.
The channel is essentially a way for Nintendo to promote current and upcoming products. It includes commercials, tour videos, and interviews detailing many products from newer games like Mario Kart, Upcoming games like Wii Fit, and past games like Brain Age 2.
While these are the meat of the channel, there are a couple of other interesting features. First you can recommend games you’ve played for at least an hour. There are no comments allowed which is both nice and bad (it is nice to have in depth reviews, while sometimes it is a pain to look through them). But has a few questions including gender, age, rating, group/alone, hardcore/casual, etc. And then it takes this info and puts it into charts and recommendations based on your previous choices and other players with similar choices. I think this particular feature of the channel is the real value. It is a little useless right now as it is so new that any recommendations wouldn’t be quite accurate yet, but I can see this being as a great way to allow you to figure out which games are right for you. Especially when you start looking at old VC games.
The next best feature is the DS demo service. This allows you to download demos to your DS to play. This service has been available to retail for about a year and I’ve always kind of liked when I could find it there. I actually hope they eventually add demos to all the previous games they’ve done, but I have a feeling that they will leave it at about a choice of 6 current or important games and cycle the older ones out. Still I really like having the ability to not look like an idiot bringing my DS into target (as EB’s never worked or was always missing somehow).
There are a bunch of other minor features. There is a supposed list of all games, including those upcoming on the Wii, DS, WiiWare, and VC. However, many of the descriptions in it are lacking to say the least and the list as it is right now is fairly unhelpful. Some though are. For instance, Nintendo has for quite some time now offered videos on the various VC games on their website. Now you can go to the VC section in this list, and choose the video to watch within the channel. This makes the process much easier. Other nice touches include the purchase feature which take you straight to the VC or Wiiware game in Wii Shop Channel, or to an online store via the Internet Channel.
Overall, it is a welcome addition to help wade through the crap of video games especially on the VC… and I assume eventually the WiiWare channel. Sometimes those games in particular are quite difficult getting decent reviews on even online. (Many try to compare these games to current games, which they just aren’t and is unfair to the game. You got to take VC games for what they are, not what games are now….)