I’m a big advocate for speaking one’s mind, especially when large corporations are involved. I have this habit of sending out long winded letters to customer service departments, you might even call it a hobby. Believe it or not, I do get enough responses to justify my doing so. A free month of service here some coupons there, it’s amazing what you can get with a little tactful complaining. My latest letter is a perfect example…
Not too long ago I wrote a post on this blog titled WTF Nintendo?. In it I expressed my frustration toward the button layout on the GameCube controller when playing Super Mario World on the Wii. There were many similar postings on various forums, so I felt justified in my position. I knew that a single post on a no-name blog wasn’t going to do anything so I turned my blog post into a letter; Presented in a slightly more diplomatic fashion of course. I mailed it out the next day but really never expected a response.
Two weeks later, the phone rings and my wife answers. “Matt. Nintendo’s on the phone.” My flight response started to take over, especially since I didn’t include my number in the letter, but I had nowhere to run so I took the phone. Amanda, a customer service rep for Nintendo of America, was on the other end. Much to my surprise she gave me a very detailed and thoughtful response to my letter. Here were the basic points:
- Not much QA is done on Virtual Console games, after all these games were well tested 15+ years ago. They just make sure the game runs and send it out.
- If you compare the button letters of a GameCube controller to a Super Nintendo controller you can see that they match up perfectly. It’s the GameCube button layout that’s messed up.
- Nintendo does not have a mechanism in place to “recall” a VC game.
- Nintendo designed the Classic Controller for the virtual console and thus it is the preferred method of input. (read “Cough up the cash, that’s what we made that classic controller for.”)
- Nintendo reps have no fore-knowledge of upcoming VC games (I had to ask about Pilotwings).
I was impressed just to get a response, not to mention that she tracked down my home number. Then Amanda pulled out the big gun. She sent me a free Classic Controller, in the hope that I would refrain from calling it “useless” in the future. Touche; consider my silence bought. The controller came in the mail yesterday and I’ve been using it quite a bit. I can honestly say that I like it a lot. Do I now think it’s worth $20? Barely. But I will no longer call it useless.