At 9:50 PM EST, the latest post on Nintendo's Facebook page lists 639 comments. At first glace, one would assume it were a trivia game with prizes or some sort of silly poll - these sorts of fluff pieces litter the Facebook realm, plastered across every page dedicated to any number of sold goods.
But these seem different.
"Release The Last Story, Xenoblade and Pandora's Tower in english speaking countries NOW!!!"
"Last Story and Xenoblade please. It would be so wrong to keep a magical Sakaguchi work from us, and I have been waiting for Xenoblade since forever."
"Where's that Xenoblade, Nintendo? You made an official Facebook page to outreach to the fans. Here's hoping you listen to them and bring Xenoblade and Last Story stateside. ; )"
I made my own comment, with a foolish typo, and yet within five minutes six people hit their like button. A flurry of activity the likes of which few video game related posts ever see.
The annoyance comes from a list of games that have finished development and have already seen release in Japan, but Nintendo is refusing to release in the US or the UK. The main culprits? Xenoblade, The Last Story and Pandora's Tower: three games for the Wii.
Xenoblade is a Final Fantasy XII-like JRPG with a sweeping, awe inspiring world design with some very exciting nerds-in-the-know buzz. It's the star of the show. The UK is getting the game as Xenoblade Chronicles, with both Japanese and English audio, but the US' release has been silent for nearly two years. It appeared initially as Monado: Beginning of the World, which is its name on Amazon. The Last Story is another JRPG that takes the third person camera view and landscape interaction from Gears of War, and Pandora's Tower is an action game. Again, UK gets both, the US does not.
These are not the first games Nintendo has refused to localize or release in the US or the UK, despite large windows that display a baffling lack of software. But not even a limited run of these games is allowed by the company. The software drought for the Wii has been a rough one. Gamers feel entitled to at least something for them to purchase and enjoy, especially when the system is barely on its fifth year.
The passion behind this massive spam attack seems initially unjustified, yet when it comes to something like this, the sense of betrayal runs deep. Let me explain: Nintendo has just finished their E3 press conference where they promised WiiU software that caters to the hardcore and the enthusiast gamer. But their actions speak louder than their words, and Nintendo has seemed fairly ambivalent to said community for the past five years. These are three incredibly highly rated games that the online communities are buzzing about that Nintendo simply refuses to discuss or bring over to the US, showing that their words are empty. The frustration is exponentially grown when the games are seen localized and finished in Europe, but since Wii consoles are not region-free it's even more of a hassle to play the game.
The name of the organizing of this push is Operation Rainfall, a targeted consumer movement of letters, Facebook comments, and Amazon preorders to give Nintendo the message: we want to give you our money. What started as an IGN boards idea spawned a multi-forum movement, which is spreading rapidly.
Will it be enough to make Nintendo change their minds? It's hard to be optimistic, but at the rate this movement is spreading, it's hard not to be impressed.
Update: The game's pre-order has reached the #1 video game slot on Amazon, and the Facebook comments are growing.