Now that Club Nintendo is closing its doors, it's safe to wonder if this will be the end of the physical reward system. We go over a brief history of some of the rewards granted to gamers from Nintendo Power strategy guides to soundtracks and weigh it against the digitized reward systems.
Week of Love: Nine Virtual Valentine Getaways
Love is a many splendored thing as the song goes, and in video-games even more so. There’s little greater this Valentine’s Day than to explore both of them in the best possible ways. Take a gander at nine of the best locales you and that special someone in your life can explore together this week of love.
The Gold Saucer (Final Fantasy VII)
The Gold Saucer lights up like an arcade of fun. Decked out with more glitz and glamour than a Las Vegas without the has-been singers, every inch of it welcomes that infectiously happy side of yourself, from its delightful chocobo races down to its smiling moogles around every corner. Bag some prizes, win a battle, see a few plays — it’s all fun and games until someone gets kidnapped onstage, but luckily, you know how to handle a live performance, now don’t you? End the day with telling those moogle riding cats to go to hell and you’ve still yet to call yourself a duly romantic partner without a gondola ride to seal the deal. Ah, look at that skyline — wait! Did your date switch seats with the cat again? Dang it.
Rome (Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood)
Art, culture, politics, science, music, mystery, intrigue, the city of the seven hills has far more than seven reasons to fall in love amidst its splendor. It simply wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without the city of its renown and it has every reason to live up to its name. From strolling the Vaticano to watching the sun set over the Colosseum, Rome is your ancient love hotel away from home. Have your brotherhood get to work with the luggage, take that leap of faith with the one you love and have a night on the town. Play cat and mouse in the moonlight above the Roman rooftops and make every hay bale yours to jump into; pay no heed to those Animus interlopers ruining your sequence. You came, you saw, you conquered. Viva La Roma.
The Citadel (Mass Effect Trilogy)
You want to hit the casino. They want a trip to the museum. You both wonder where the bar is. Don’t know where to go? Welcome to the getaway of the future. Be it the fleeting dalliance with the wandering bipedal humanoid or the regal courtships over candle-it dinners, The Citadel has it all in one made for couples of all shapes and sizes. Dance the night away in Purgatory Bar and play The Hangover the next day in council meetings, or play door-bell ditch with the Krogan embassy, the possibilities are endless even if your conversation branches are less so. Make the most out of your moment and your partner will too, you save file restarter, you.
Macalania Woods (Final Fantasy X)
Boy meets girl. Boy loves girl. Boy loses girl. Boy needs a better pair of pants. You never forget your first kiss and neither do you forget your that first date. Macalania Woods may look like something out of a Disney flick, but a magical place it is nonetheless. A place of calm in a world on the brink of destruction, Macalania’s watery grotto is a den of pre-rendered cutscene love if you ever did see it. Fireflies dancing in the air, the sparkle of moonlight over the water, it’s places like this that were made for savoring those few precious moments standing still in time. That’s nothing to laugh off.
Monkey Island (Tales of Monkey Island)
Tired of monkeying with the old routine? You’re in luck! You’ve just won an all-paid vacation to the tropical xanadu itself for three glorious days and three even more luxurious nights. Live the romance of Elaine Marley and Guy Fleetbrush and throw yourself into the swashbuckling romance. Whoop it up at the Big Whoop amusement park, explore lush jungles, find buried treasure! Death-defying feats bring people together, and discover each other’s strengths against the world. After all, why escape Monkey Island when you can escape to it? What’s a cannibal anyway?
Elven Baths (The Witcher 2: The Assassins of Kings)
Ruined or not, Flotsam Forest’s Elven Baths embody beauty just as much as they literally blossom with it. Enshrining its already impossibly romantic atmosphere are its roses of remembrance, able to live eternally through the bonds of their givers and receivers. What’s more romantic than that? Nothing G-rated if its sensual statuary is any indication. Its all too seductive waters are the beckoning call for all frisky witchers and company, so expect steamy skinny dipping sessions as one thing you can leave modesty at the door for. Check this getaway as “clothing is optional.”
The Castle (Ico)
Love is best when it’s an adventure and only more so when it’s with the one you love. What better way to celebrate the holiday by running away together to the stuff of fairy tales? We’re talking castles. Make your Valentine the prince or princess of your dreams. Speak up, don’t be shy. That cute boy with the horns can’t be all that strange, and that girl your wandering eye is on can’t be all that hard to get. Wandering hand in hand up those lonely, winding staircases is bound to bring more than a few tender interludes, but just keep it PG when you save a little someth’in someth’in on that glowy loveseat of yours. It’s not like the Queen to let you go unchaperoned, and no touching those kinky shackles down in the dungeon.
Bright Falls (Alan Wake)
Relationships are like writing a good book. Sometimes it’s just good for both of you to step away from every once and a while to clear your heads. Simply getting away from it all with that special someone is just what Alan Wake’s writer’s block ordered. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, and a change of scenery can set a fresh new perspective on life. Friendly locals and a charming greasy spoon diner send you back to small-town America that’s all too welcoming to a couple willing to start over again. . . too welcoming. A romantic cabin deep in the Pacific Northwestern woodland is nothing short of a relaxing vacation, if only it was with the person you thought you brought with you. Where are — no, that’s just you. Isn’t it?
Isle Delphino (Super Mario Sunshine)
Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that count in life and love. Some of us don’t need any excuse at all to lay around and soak up the sun away from a cold, dreery February. Make old man winter summer again and hit the beach with Isle Delphino’s sunny dispositions and make a vacation an experience to remember. Whether its about hitting the amusement park or simply lounging around the volcanic hot-tubs, Delphino’s cheery atmosphere makes for kiddy delights that should bring out all the right squeals and giggles out of your significant other, paint-brush wielding trolls be damned. Just remember a clean island’s a happy island and maybe by the end of the day, those haunted hotel suites will get you just a bit closer under the covers.
All You Need is Love. . .
What romantic hot-spots are on your games list? Share your picks in the comments below!