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Friday, July 6, 2018

Nintendo, could your eShop card activation code be a little bigger font size?

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - I can barely read it.

I just gave out, at the start of this month, one $10 code for the Nintendo eShop, and one $10 code for Amazon. You know, for the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program. Great program. Just for commenting on KoopaTV articles and doing other activities, you compete with other people and whomever has the most points by the end gets a prize. Full details in that hyperlink.

So I deal with a lot of gift cards from retailers in order to make this possible. For Nintendo's eShop cards, you need to scratch off the back for this 16-character code that I then privately give to the winner. For Amazon, you peel off a sticker off the back for a 15-character code.

Now, take a look at the picture below for a comparison between the code for a Nintendo eShop card, and the code for an Amazon gift card:

Nintendo eShop card code Amazon gift claim format KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program InComm Fastcard ACI
Above: The Nintendo eShop card code given to Kody B. for his second-place prize.
Below: The Amazon gift card code given to ShinyGirafarig for her first-place prize.
(The codes are used already, so I don't recommend trying. But you're free to participate on this site and win a code for yourself!)

You have to squint really hard to read the Nintendo code, and you have to go out of your way to scratch it off with something. Not only are the letters small, but they're bold and with nearly nonexistent kerning, so it looks like they're going to bleed into one another and it's hard to transcribe. What a pain. But Amazon's is a nice and big healthy font, with a user-friendly peeling method.

As you may suspect, different vendors handle each gift card. Amazon's are issued by an Amazon subsidiary called ACI Gift Cards Inc. Nintendo's are by InComm, a global company based in Atlanta that specialises in gift card technology and products that also provides for many, many other companies and brands. (Fun fact: Back in 1999, Nintendo founded a company called SIRAS that tracked Nintendo's product returns through retailers, and then sold SIRAS to InComm in 2014.)

Nintendo and InComm work together on the designs of their eShop cards. One would think that Nintendo could influence InComm to improve the design (and font size of the code) for the back of the card. Amazon has significantly less domain knowledge in gift card development than InComm, but they've managed to design a much friendlier card.

I don't think Nintendo considers this font-unfriendliness that much of an issue, because here is what Reggie Fils-Aime said in another recent interview, this time with Waypoint

With retailers and digital, one of the initiatives that we've driven, from the Nintendo of of America perspective, is the ability for the consumer to buy digital goods at retail. And, Austin, you might say to me "Reggie, why would a consumer want to do that?" Well, there are consumers who have only cash. They don't have a credit card. And for them, the ability to buy a game with cash that is a digital download has power.”
You know what kind of customers only pay with cash? Kids with a Nintendo 3DS who receive cash from their relatives for presents. You know who has the necessary eyesight to be able to comprehend those cards? Kids. The younger generation.

The target audience can read it. Still, there's clearly space on the card for bigger text. What does it hurt by increasing the font size and the kerning? Please? Nintendo, you may even benefit people outside your target audience with less than stellar eyesight — and there may be millions of those people.

Suppose the right guy at Nintendo reads this article and calls up InComm for a conversation. Ludwig has already bought enough eShop gift cards to last the rest of the year in terms of the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program, so he isn't expecting that speedy of a timeline before he needs to buy more. Ludwig also hopes this article clears up any doubts people have about the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program — it's legitimate, 100% skill-based, and incredibly transparent. You can participate by non-anonymously commenting on this (or any other) KoopaTV article!

Nintendo's war against readability extends to their own videogames (which they certainly can control) — borderless white font on white.


  1. Oh, and let's not forget when you scratch too vigorously and wind up nearly scratching off part of the code itself! D:

    1. I hate that, which is why I do everything very gently.

      And then spectators think I'm weak. No, I'm delicate. Same with opening chip bags and stuff.

    2. See, that's why you never HAVE spectators in these circumstances. And as for having trouble opening things, do NOT get me started on TCG packs. I have a decent handle on it for the most part now but...GEEZE.

    3. Yeah because I TOTALLY wouldn't look like a complete dork...well, an even DORKIER dork than the other dorks bringing SCISSORS to a Magic the Gathering draft. Where you have to open packs right there in the store, in case that wasn't obvious.

    4. Nothing wrong with being a dork.

      I'm proud my AIM screen name was Nintendork 13 13!

    5. um can i have a 3ds eshop code i have never had one in my life

    6. Check out the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program for information on getting eShop codes from me.

  2. Replies
    1. There's a code in the article... it's just used already.

      If you want fresh codes, you'll have to participate in the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program and not be "Unknown".

      Does that sound fair?

  3. Well i think your cool Ludwig Von Koopa!

  4. Ludwig do you have a 3DS?¿?¿?¿?

  5. Replies
    1. My friends list is full, but it's on KoopaTV's Contact page.

  6. To be honest im kinda a dork too...But thats fine...right?

    1. If you're under 13 years old, that's not fine. Please leave KoopaTV immediately.

  7. Honestly thats harsh…i just wanted to be friends…

  8. Ħσηεςτιγ ī ταικ ιīкε τħīς…ßυτ ιτ ςυιτς мε гīgħτ¿?

  9. σħ ςσøгγ…īтς τħατ ι ðøлт гεαιγ ħανε ƒгīεπðς

  10. ßυτ ī шīłł ğσ αшαγ…νεгу ςσггγ

  11. Replies
    1. ...What didn't work?

      I mean, the font size is still small, so I guess the article's purpose didn't work. >_>

  12. Replies
    1. Please don't spread the CCP Virus in the comments section. Wear a mask. Cover your mouth.

  13. Replies
    1. There is nothing fake about anything written or depicted here.

      Please explain yourself.

  14. I love how you did this for people! I would love a code but I know I probably won't get it. I would use it. Also I notably haven't killed your adopted father...

    1. You can fairly easily get a code if you participate and try to win in the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program. Just like the article says.

      Obviously, if you're "Anonymous" you'll never get anything.


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