Operation Rainfall Coins

Here is something weird that Nintendo of Europe did recently. They gave me coins.

Operation Rainfall Coins


You may not be familiar with Operation Rainfall. It was basically a fan campaign to convince Nintendo of America to localize and publish 3 specific Japanese Wii games: Xenoblade Chronicles, Last Story and Pandora’s Tower. It started out with Xenbolade Chronicles being announced for a European release but not for a north american one. The 3 games have been identified by the movement as particularly exceptional examples of complex, core-gamer titles which the Wii console was somewhat lacking in the west.

Operation Rainfall was an exceptionally successful campaign of this sort. It gained quite some traction with various, well-organized and productive forms of raising awareness. It eventually developed into a full gaming news site / blog. It was successful too. Nintendo of America eventually did release Xenoblade Chronicles. The other two titles were picked up by Xseed and found their way to North America.

Meanwhile in Europe, we got all 3 games in luscious special editions. And then we got coins.

Operation Rainfall Coins

SWAG detail

The first European Club Nintendo members, who registered all 3 games received a free special set of 3 coins as a “thank you”. I was among the lucky ones. It took Nintendo of Europe quite some time to actually ship them so by the time I received them I kinda lost track of the whole story and forgot to post about it.

The coins are pretty nice. Not sure what material they are from. They certainly feel heavy so I assume some kind of painted / coated metal? Each coin has the logo of one of the 3 games. There is a graphic from the corresponding game on the back. The set comes in a nice, back box. Each coin is in it’s own removable, plastic shell. I’m guessing that’s to avoid wear. As you can tell, I’m not a coin expert.

Operation Rainfall Coins - Motifs

All of the SWAG from every side

This is one of those incredibly bizarre gaming stories we may never really completely understand. What motivated Nintendo of Europe to spend that extra money for that kind of reward? I’m pretty sure most of the fans in Europe were already pretty glad they didn’t have to convince Nintendo of Europe to import the games. The extra reward seems so incredibly superfluous. Especially since the actual artifact is so arbitrary and anonymous. You could make those kind of coins for any game, really. Perhaps it would have been more justified for a game like Mario, where collecting coins is actually part of the game.

So perhaps there was some kind of political reason at play here? Was this Nintendo of Europe rubbing it in to Nintendo of America? Was it Nintendo of Europe’s way of weighing in and trying to convince Nintendo of America to import the games? Were they just exploiting the situation to raise their public image? Did they even have an image problem in the first place? Were the developers involved somehow? Or was this just a genuine tip of the hat to the fan movement of Operation Rainfall? I guess we assume that the coins would have never been made without them, right?

Apart from speculations I really have no clue what caused this to happen. Perhaps we are going to hear an explanation years later. Or perhaps you, dear reader, have a better idea? Until then I’m going to file these babies in my vault under W as “Weird” or “WTF”.

P.S.: The games are actually quite interesting. So coins of no coins, I recommend checking them out!

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

One response to “Operation Rainfall Coins”

  1. bongoHerman

    My guess would be that this was a try to sell the last of the three games (Pandoras Tower) to people that already bought the other two and hence have an interest in jrpgs. Pandoras Tower has by far the least mass market appeal, it being a pretty bare bones dungeon craller with lower production value and no big names attached to it. So telling people “buy this one too and you get something shiny in a velvet box” might t be what they tried here.


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