If you're anything like us, then you like freebies. The notion of getting something for nothing is a titillating prospect, and like you, Nintendo believes that everyone deserves free extras at the expense of money-grabbing corporations. We invest so much love and attention in games consoles - why shouldn't we expect a prize?
As you may recall, earlier this year Nintendo relaunched its official European site, apparently with the intention of bringing it into line with the American one, and in the process introduced a new 'stars' (not 'shines', oddly) system of loyalty points. Collect enough stars and you can redeem them for free goodies in the Stars Catalogue on Nintendo's website. Collect 400 stars, and you could win various iron-on transfers for your T-shirts. 450 might net you a poster. Collect 600, and you unlock screensavers, and so on.
However, until today, you weren't about to walk off with anything amazingly tangible. Waltzing up to Nintendo-Europe.com and registering the 'VIP details' supplied in game and accessory boxes was likely to net you a grand total of nothing to wave about and be proud of. Have you honestly played the system and won just because Mario pops up when you leave the keyboard for long enough?
But if you can muster enough patience to accrue 4,500 stars, you could be entitled to a free Nintendo WaveBird, easily the most anticipated peripheral on any platform this year (by virtue of being the most useful). The best things in life are of course free, and this is one of the best things in life at the moment. And if you want to get a bit closer to killing off your joypad cables, then you could do worse than buy Super Mario Sunshine, Eternal Darkness and Starfox Adventures - if you buy all three before the end of the year, you net an extra 750 stars. Handy!
Although that said, you could just wait until November 22nd and buy the WaveBird yourself. Is £29.99 really too much of a stretch?