Club Nintendo Merchandise

As well as the magazine, Club Nintendo put its name on a small selection of merchandise and other goodies. Most of these - such as t-shirts, backpacks and mugs - were available to order from promotional leaflets packaged with the magazine.

Click each thumbnail to see the larger image.




And if that wasn't enough, Club Nintendo also distributed NES games in uniquely-branded boxes!

NES Cartridge Box

This item was brought to my attention by fellow Nintendo collector Jakob, who obtained it when buying a copy of Hogan's Alley. It appears to be a standard NES box, but with Club Nintendo branding and a message that reads 'With the Compliments of Mario' instead of the typical boxart design (the back of the box is blank).

The mystery box, plus the instruction manual and cartridge.

Since then, another collector - retro gaming champion Ross Willett - has come forward with a pair of similar NES boxes, this time for To The Earth and Urban Champion.

So far, all ideas as to the games' distribution is based on speculation and educated guesswork; my initial thought was that they might have been competition prizes, while Ross has suggested that they may have primarily been review copies that were later redistributed as competition prizes. One piece of evidence that supports this theory is that the games' instruction manuals have different, blander covers from the more colourful ones included with the normal releases.

Top: Manuals from the 'promotional' games. Bottom: Manuals from the normal releases.
(Note: The 'normal release' manuals are based on the US versions.)

If anybody has any more information on these boxes, then we'd love to hear from you.

Picture credits: Hogan's Alley NES cartridge box and manual images kindly provided by Jakob. All other merchandise images kindly provided by Ross Willett. Normal release instruction manual images from Games Database.