Operation Rainfall’s biggest challenge

It’s not from Nintendo. It’s not language barriers or translation issues. It’s not some greedy CEO who gets a hard-on from punishing people. It’s the gaming media, and so called “fans” who are threatening boycotts and trolling Wii just like they’ve been doing since 2006.

Operation Rainfall is a campaign set up by fans of Xenoblade, The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower in an inspired effort to get these Japanese games localised and released in North America. It’s to show Nintendo what kind of demand there is for great games, and give them confidence in these titles. It’s a responsibility a large majority of the gaming media – sites like IGN, GameSpot, and GameTrailers – have completely ignored. Despite dozens of interviews held with Reggie Fils-Aime (President of Nintendo America) at E3, not ONE game journalist asked him about Xenoblade, The Last Story or Pandora’s Tower, instead using it as an opportunity to ask if Zelda can “look like Uncharted“, and asking the same question about Friend Codes in 20 different ways.

Through efforts like this video, a targeted letter campaign, and concentrated messages on Nintendo’s social media pages, Operation Rainfall is picking up the slack for gamers everywhere. Despite all their efforts, their support is only 5000 people strong on Facebook, which is miniscule when you compare it to a day of traffic on IGN.  They’ve only now caught wind of the issue, but rather than putting their support behind the campaign they’ve pulled out the victim card, which is the same thing that got us all into this mess. Wading through IGNs bloated layout and dozens of obnoxious flash ads, dodging articles like “Weak Wii”, you’ll find this.

This is about Nintendo’s attitude towards its most passionate customers – IGN

Passionate customers like IGN who haven’t said a word about these games in months, and they’re acting SURPRISED that Nintendo hasn’t been talking about them. Only because of Operation Rainfall are these games getting the spotlight they deserve, and even now they aren’t doing much to help the cause, instead shifting all the blame on Nintendo themselves and sympathising with “angry” gamers. Who should gamers really be upset with? Nintendo currently has no plans to release these games, because they have no CONFIDENCE in people buying them. They don’t want to lose money, and games are Nintendo’s only business. These three games have been praised all over Japan as incredible experiences, getting a handful of perfect review scores, and you can tell just by looking at them they are extremely well designed. Why is there even a threat of them doing poorly here? Lack of awareness is the answer, and my reason for that is poor coverage. People go to game websites to get information about games, and the websites are letting us down.

boooooring... no custom kart skins... not enough polygons... no licensed music, try again next year nintendo. sigh, what a hard job.

Here’s another article. IGN purposefully selects the most angry, over-reactive and provocative comments. Here’s a few samples of what IGN have done to their readers,

I feel incredibly disappointed and almost disgusted in Nintendo of America’s decision here.

I have had every Nintendo console since the NES and have been a huge carrier of the Nintendo flag but this right here has wiped out my loyalty and not only made me decide I will not be getting the Wii U, it makes me heavily regret my
3DS purchase. If they don’t want to take my money for these games and support the system I currently own, they will not be taking any of my money in the future.

I’m an intelligent consumer of their products and I deserve to be treated as such.

Nintendo has lost my loyalty, respect, and commercial support.

That’s a whole lot of emotion over a bunch of games that may or may not be released. These people have adopted the “us vs them” victim mentality. They don’t even buy Nintendo games: they’re only in on this to get off on the social wankfest. Nobody bought any RPGs on DS besides Pokemon. Nobody bought Crystal Bearers or Fragile Dreams. Nobody buys new Nintendo franchises like Steel Diver and Chibi Robo. Nobody bought ExciteBots. Nobody buys the various WiiWare games that are only released in America. These games are some of the best on their respective platforms; their only obstacle was lack of awareness. This entire crusade had no credibility to begin with, it was years in the making, and now people are feigning ignorance and lighting fires. This is how wars are started.

Every post IGN “selects” for this article targets Nintendo as the bad guys. What’s the purpose of that? Is that supposed to guilt them into giving us games? If someone calls me an idiot, I’m certainly not going to give them a game. What this tells me is that IGN doesn’t actually care about the end result, only about generating advertising revenue. This makes them full-circle hypocrites for criticising Nintendo for looking after their own interests. They want traffic and debate, so they’re trolling the most successful company in gaming. Read the comments by actual readers below the article, and you’ll find the tone is completely different to the image IGN tried to portray. People are saying it’s not that big a deal, and waiting for an official response from Nintendo. The gamers themselves are doing a great job being level headed, but ultimately the success or failure of this campaign is going to come down to the numbers, and that’s where IGN drops the ball by silencing the majority and coating a layer of bullshit over everything. What’s the purpose of IGN if they aren’t actually contributing to the gaming community? Why aren’t we boycotting them? They are in a position to influence a lot of things in a very positive way, and they’re completely ignoring it. I wonder how they’d react to thousands of comments bombarding them to change their attitude? Probably not as enthusiastically as Nintendo did.

Thank you for your enthusiasm. We promised an update, so here it is. We never say “never,” but we can confirm that there are no plans to bring these three games to the Americas at this time. Thanks so much for your passion, and for being such great fans!

Can't say much else, but thanks for your enthusiasm

That was the reply that caused so much uproar. I think it’s progress that Nintendo has acknowledged the issue. Operation Rainfall is really the first support these games have ever gotten, so any decision made by Nintendo on the issue won’t be done in 3 days.

It’s a good opportunity to build good will and reinforce fan loyalty, and honestly, they’re throwing it away. – NintendoWorldReport

If “releasing games” was enough to build a good fan environment with active game purchasing, we never would have arrived here in the first place. The opportunity is OURS, as gamers, to support new inspiring content, something we’ve FAILED at, through years of misleading coverage, jumped conclusions, and elitist remarks, while hiding behind the word “hardcore”. Nintendo won’t get a single dollar from “fan loyalty” or “good will”. They are a business. We can’t prove to Nintendo that there’s a market for these games when history shows there is NOT. All their “hardcore” targeted efforts in the last 5 years have bombed. To reverse this trend we need significantly better coverage for these games.

Oh, but The Last Story is nothing like ExciteBots! Are you stupid? – Dickhead

Yes, but let’s talk about the subject, not my lack of intelligence. Nintendo is a business. Both games fall under the “RISK” category; the investment is equally high. If the comparison still isn’t enough, I’ll use Baten Kaitos, a game not only the same genre as Xenoblade, but by the same developer. It’s a great game like Xenoblade, but it absolutely bombed, “nobody” bought it and Nintendo incurred a loss. Yet still, Nintendo was brave enough to bring over the sequel Baten Kaitos Origins, and it sold even worse as the GameCube was in its final stages and Wii was on the horizon. Hmmm, sounds familiar.

These games have no market, no previous fanfare and are expected to survive after being thrust into the hands of an industry that actively ignores new content. Games like this aren’t just a risk for Nintendo, they’re a risk for gaming journalists. A review copy of one of these games isn’t going to come with a fat sack of cash inside it. Giving Steel Diver or ExciteBots a high review or wide coverage is a risk for journalists, because they’ll get less clicks and discussion than an established game. Steel Diver is not a big talking point. Pandora’s Tower was not a big talking point until the Operation Rainfall revolution. I think this is the very core of the problem: these games not only lack a market, they lack a community to give them a chance. Fragile Dreams was one of the best experiences I ever had in my life, but I didn’t see any reviews giving it 10 and saying it’s the best game on Wii. Sure, personal opinion and all that, that’s fair enough, but in my personal opinion, reviewers went into games like this expecting to get them over with as soon as possible. Any reviewer giving it a 10 would have been deemed “weird”, and we can’t have that. Instead of big game websites using their influence and PROJECTING their enthusiasm onto new games, we’re getting nowhere. The result is more Wii Fit and less Pandora’s Tower, and that’s not conjecture – it’s reality – and it’s happening right in front of us.

Any game ever made could be bad depending on IGN's agenda

There’s more depth to this problem with the gaming media. The whole “buddy” system with western companies, local contacts, and PR firms is another hurdle for Nintendo. Here’s an article a Kotaku member did on game developer Nnooo, seems pretty random doesn’t it? They’re a great company and their games deserve attention, but the only reason this article was written is because they are best buddies on Twitter. I see this all the time with western companies and big sites, you often get special “exclusive” stories and interviews, sites exchanging praise and coverage for stories. Eventually, the whole site is covered with “exclusives” and handouts, obscuring the bigger picture and pushing games like Xenoblade aside. This is a hard problem to overcome because Nintendo is so far away from these companies; it’s not every day you socialise with Miyamoto. Nintendo could be a bit more open; I’d like to see more interaction from them and a more active PR presence, but perhaps re-evaluating the way some sites operate is in order as well. A site like Nintendo Life where you’ll often find DSiWare games on the front page is my biggest hope for the future. Everything is treated equally; it’s a setup that benefits the millions of gamers reading, rather than the 5 people who run the site.

I see two different types of people in this “issue”: those who want something to complain about, and those who care about the overall enjoyment of videogames and life. Operation Rainfall fits into the second category. It’s about showing Nintendo our passion for games, and inspiring other gamers to stand up and support good content. This kind of compassion is how wars are ENDED, they have my full support and I hope the campaign is successful, not just so more people can play these three great games, but to help kickstart a new era of communication and information sharing to promote a healthier gaming industry. Great art needs to be seen before it can be shared.

22 thoughts on “Operation Rainfall’s biggest challenge

  1. First up, best article I’ve read on the issue.

    My biggest worry is about how sincere people are about geniuinely supporting the release of these games with their wallets. How many people would have bought these games if they had been released without an issue? How many people who were interested in buying the games would do so on release and how many would instead wait until they end up in bargain bins?

    There’s support and there’s support, I mean, am I throwing my hand into support the release of these games on behalf of other gamers or am I supporting the cause so I go out and purchase them for myself as soon as they’re released?

    The problem I think within this “Operation Rainfall” there would be only a fraction who are actually going to go out and support these titles with their wallet (if they see release, that is) and I think this is what Nintendo realises. These games don’t sell too well on Wii, especially in Western markets. As you say a huge reason for that is the lack of exposure and media support. “OR” has done a lot to raise the profile of the games, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to see them get released and, if they were released, to ultimately increase their sales.

    The worst part is if these games do see release (which I don’t think they will), and then dion’t sell as well as hoped, then it’ll set a bad precedent for anything positive coming from a situation like this in the future.


  2. I have been following X, TLS, and PT news since first hearing about them months ago. I am fully prepared to spend money on them and I’m active in Operation Rainfall’s writing campaign. This article is great. We definitely need better communication, more positive communication, and a show of good faith on both sides of the argument.


  3. “It’s a responsibility a large majority of the gaming media, sites like IGN, GameSpot and GameTrailers have completely ignored. Despite dozens of interviews held with Reggie Fils-Aime (President of Nintendo America) at E3, not ONE game journalist asked him about Xenoblade, The Last Story or Pandora’s Tower,”

    lol, no. Stephen Totilo asked about it, and I’m pretty sure Geoff Keighley did too:


    IGN, before Operation Rainfall was news, did almost a dozen stories about Xenoblade over the years. There were almost twice as many for The Last Story. How much more coverage do you expect for something that isn’t even getting released here?


  4. Disagree, Pete. IGN and those others did as much to bury these games as anybody else, especially in the crucial early development months when they COULD have been generating interest for the games, being late 2009-mid 2010. What were they more interested in instead? Calling Wii owners jerkoffs for buying NSMB Wii and not an XBLA game. Readership in their Wii website (in fact, in their website in general) PLUNGED after that stunt, because nobody wants to log into a website and be called an asshole as your top story. Geoff Keighley’s embarrassing display at this E3 showed he was more interested in horse-race graphical bullshit between Wii U and Uncharted 3 than he was about asking Nintendo-related questions to Nintendo. A critical moment, instead wasted on bullshit. He’d rather “challenge” Reggie on forum post antics than actually ask Reggie about these games.

    This is their JOB to stoke the fires of interest in these sorts of games. If they don’t like the job, they can quit. But they are the ones with unfettered access and the ability to ask these questions in the stead of the powerless masses of gamers they represent. They were sorely needed, but missing.


  5. “IGN and those others did as much to bury these games as anybody else, especially in the crucial early development months when they COULD have been generating interest for the games, being late 2009-mid 2010.”

    IGN articles in 2009-2010:
    1: E3 2009: Eyes-On Monado: Beginning of the World – June 02, 2009, Preview
    2: Nintendo Wii 2010 Preview – January 28, 2010, feature (includes Xenoblade)
    3: Nintendo Brings Major RPGs to Wii – January 29, 2010, News
    4: Xenoblade Detailed – February 17, 2010, News
    5: Nintendo Kicks off Xenoblade Push – April 01, 2010, News
    6: Xenoblade Dated in Japan – April 08, 2010, News
    7: Secrets of Xenoblade’s Monado Sword – April 22, 2010, News
    8: Xenoblade Update – May 07, 2010, News
    9: Xenoblade’s Combat System Revealed – May 19, 2010, News
    10: E3 2010: The Nintendo No-Shows – June 15, 2010, News (includes Xenoblade)

    Who’s burying what now? In your rage over a single editorial, you seem to be ignoring facts.


  6. Were any of those the top story for a week like said editorial was? How many of those stories were just them posting press releases or “this game has a release date.” How about developer diaries, or indepth features concerning the pedigree of the titles? These would be a lot more helpful than just publishing some stuff about Japan. Notice that IGN just STOPPED after June 15, 2010. That’s the point, they didn’t keep the interest alive for an entire year.

    These major websites were just as disinterested in the titles as they usually were until fans took it upon themselves to lobby Nintendo in their stead. Then they jumped on the bandwagon like they cared all along, when it’s clear from the downplayed stories and entire year long silence that they just didn’t care.

    They should have been on Nintendo every week about releases instead of simply writing another clickbait editorial about casual gamers and hoping that will bring the crowds back. (when instead, it drove them away.)

    And that editorial was the worst thing they’ve ever written, which actually DID hurt their influence should they have decided at some point later to care about these games. I dunno about you, but I don’t care how good a restaurant’s food is if the porter kicked me in the balls upon entrance.

    IGN, Gamespot, and the like create the narrative about games and consoles and such. The narrative IGN created was Wii is casual, SD, and for babies, girls and grandmas. Nintendo has “betrayed the hardcore gamer” 100 times over the last 8 years, according to IGN, and the Wii has no market for core games was something else repeated much more often than “Xenoblade has a release date.” That is the cause for the effect that Nintendo believes IGN and thinks there is no market for these games. Even worse is that IGN just has no credibility for this movement, both having not cared in the first place and having insulted their own readers in their most read story about Wii, which did more to raise awareness of Splosion Man than they ever cared about Xenoblade.


  7. That’s more like token news than anything else. I expected someone to defend IGN in all this, I never intended IGN to be the sole target in the article, it’s a bigger issue. They were just easy, and their writing style does warrant a lot of criticism.

    Also a “large majority” of the gaming media ignored it is what I said, I can’t read every interview. The point still stands, it wasn’t enough for Nintendo to notice. I’m sure someone asked about Mother 3 as well. I’ll post more after work, but Deguello makes some great points. Thanks for the interest.


  8. Totally agree on game journalists doing a poor job on covering lesser known titles.

    I recently picked up Opoona for cheap. Haha. Poo. And most reviewers didn’t care for it. Well, the few that actually reviewed it. So I thought I’d get a laugh at what a trainwreck it was.

    Except it’s awesome. Oh, the game is a bit rough around the edges, but so is No More Heroes and that didn’t stop it from being awesome. I couldn’t believe a game of this quality had flown under my radar for so long. The few comments I’ve been able to find from actual gamers that played this are all along the lines of “the Wii’s Earthbound” and “one of the best RPGs I’ve ever played”.

    You can tell from the reviews that most game journalists just didn’t care. Most of them label it a “children’s RPG”, I guess because the main character is a child, or something. IGN’s review in particular (let’s keep picking on them) is so devoid of any real specifics it could’ve been written about almost any JRPG, and of course it has their favorite “ZOMG no voice acting” complaint.

    This is why game journalists have no credibility on this Operation Rainfall matter. They like to bring up the big mean Reggie not releasing Mother 3, yet a game that any Earthbound fan would love already exists on the Wii and they didn’t give a shit about it. And they wonder why nobody buys these games.


  9. Man, I need to get Opoona now. I had no idea it was good either.

    Matto, I don’t think there’s any threat of people taking that guy seriously. I thought it was a joke until I saw how long it was.

    To respond to another point… Steel Diver isn’t perfect, Fragile Dreams isn’t perfect. I know that. But guess what? Neither is Xenoblade. Neither is Zelda.


    1. You would be surprised…

      And yes, basically all the crap he says in that is every single forum post he has ever made. People are enjoying this shit. UGH.

      If it were a webcomic, it’ll probably get a million hits in one day. Or none. Give or take.



  10. LOL @ EMOTIONAL PEOPLE, especially niche game buyers who think they represent an existent core audience. I’ve said this before: Nintendo “fans” should’ve sold their Wiis right after that wagglefest called Zelda: Toylet Princess. They had no reason to look forward to any more Mario/Zelda/Earfbound, so it was best to just give up. Things would’ve been quieter the past 5 years, and today’s “non-casual” consoles might’ve had more customers instead of being a considerably shrunken audience compared to the previous generation’s non-Nintard userbase. About >40 million PS2 gamers are unnaccounted for; why haven’t they shown up this gen?

    Cry me an endless ocean, so that I may wave race on it.

    Any comments, Reggie?
    [Reggie] “Not my problem.”


  11. I’m going to have to agree with this whole post. There is a big disconnect between the gaming media and their readers. As some of you know I have really stopped going to the big sites because they tend to just be about about getting page clicks and they really only focus on the bottom line.

    I also linked this post to another forum I go to because you guys make lots of good points.


  12. Thanks Maxi

    Another thing i’d like to add is that RichIGN acted DISAPPOINTED on his Twitter when his article didn’t get comments like the ones he hand picked for the article, confirming his intentions to start a shitstorm. It’s middle school bullshit at that site.


  13. Wired also did a troll article that had readers send in pictures of their dusty Wiimotes. You would think the point they were trying to make is that there is currently a drought on Wii and if Nintendo released these games, their controllers wouldn’t have to be dusty. But if you read some of the quotes they provided…


    “I’ve included a picture of my Wii Remote sitting on top of my entire collection of Wii games,” writes reader Daniel Bowman, who bought his white console the day it launched and has only purchased three Wii game discs.

    “Very few games exist on the Wii that interest me to begin with,” writes reader Chris Taran, enclosing a photo of a dust-and-hair-covered Wii Remote. “On the few occasions that I picked up a promising title” like Fragile Dreams, he says, “the controls were such a mess and so frustrating to me that after an hour or so I put down the Wiimote and never looked back.”

    “I know dusty Wiis and their controllers implies they haven’t been used for a while, but ‘a while’ could only be a few weeks,” writes reader “sm pit.” “How about a photo that proves they’ve never been used since Oct. 6, 2008, not by the dust, but by the fact the controllers are still in their original packaging with the receipt to prove it?”

    Reader Kyle’s Wii has “been in this box for four years,” he says. “Gets broken out about once a year for Christmas family time.”


    Yes, these are the diehard fans Nintendo risks losing. A tard who only bought 3 games for his Wii. Well, that’s more than Ian, at least. A tard that can’t figure out motion controls. A tard that hasn’t found one worthwhile game since 2008. A tard that has only used it four times.

    How does this help Operation Rainfall, again? Oh, right. It doesn’t. It’s just trolling the system and proves that the biggest whiners aren’t the huge fans they claim to be, and they certainly can’t be counted on to buy jack shit for the system.


    1. Thanks for reminding me of that “piece”.

      I did glance at it for a second this week to see what slob would retain a dusty wiimote, then quickly moved on since “dusty wiimote” articles are so 2010/2009/2008/2007… (uh-huh, this is intereting…)

      but the fact that a certain category of “industry” “gamers” insist on bringing it back to the headlines magnificently highlights the problem Grub addressed.


  14. Man, that’s on a whole other level. It borders on propaganda.

    It reads like one of IGNs reviews, in that it could be about anything. Just switch Wii remote for PSP, switch Wii console with PS3, which statistically has sold even less games in something known as the real world.

    The real victim here is information.


    1. As someone who writes for a video game website, and is a avid Nintendo fan who, like everyone replying to this article, has a brain, that “lol my wii is dusty” is absolutely insulting to me as a Wii gamer and a video game website writer. That is absolutely bottom barrel, and some people wonder why I don’t give two fucks about Former Nintendo Fan Planet anymore; its a shell of its former shelf, instead pandering to whiny shitheads like Broadwars and Ian Sane. No wonder Bill Aurion gave up on NWR, the staff were basically allow trolls who were pretending to be Nintendo fans have full run of the place.

      This is why I hate modern gaming and still play Nintendo games: they don’t bullshit game design. Say what you want about friend codes and other things, I still like their games and I quite frankly don’t give a flying fuck if you think I am casual.


  15. So I looked up the old Opoona thread on Former Fan Planet to see how the game was received at the time. A few nice things said about it, but nothing that does the game justice. The important part is what Bloodworth had to say.

    “Another game that I want to confirm is awesome. Yes I gave it a 6.9 for being downright dull at times, but at the same time I think players with a bit more patience will find plenty to love.”


    You absolutely nailed it, Grub. Reviewers are AFRAID to give these games the scores they KNOW they deserve.


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