Monday, June 02, 2008


It bothers me when people don't read the entire contents of an e-mail before responding. I spent some time crafting that message, choosing the right words, the best phrases... And then they read the first two sentences and reply.

True story: I'm working on my masters project for computer science. What I would like to do is use games as a medium for education, eg, an RPG where you learn a language while playing. Simple, right? And while I could do this easily on a computer, for the specific game I have in mind, a stylus is preferred. So, the Nintendo DS would be ideal. But, as just a guy, I don't really fit the developer profile they are looking for. However, I decided to send them an e-mail to ask them, just to be sure. Something like:
Hi, I'm a student working on my final project, and I was wondering if Nintendo has an educational program for developers. Since I don't meet the specifications for a developer license myself, could my university acquire one? Thanks for your time.
What I got back was (verbatim):
Hello and thank you for contacting Nintendo,

While I would like to assist you with your project, I don't have access to the type of information you are looking for. Due to the number of similar e-mail we receive, we're not able to assist with projects like yours, and we're not equipped to track down official responses to questions.

It may interest you to know that all of the information we have available is posted on our website at If you visit our site, be sure to check out the "Corporate" section. This is where we have posted Nintendo's business-related information, annual reports, and a company history.

Also, several books and articles have been written on the video game industry. "Game Over" by David Sheff and "The Ultimate History of Video Games" by Steve L. Kent were written several years ago, but are excellent resources on the video game industry.

Although we regret being unable to assist you with your request, we're confident that you will find the listed resources useful.


Nintendo of America Inc.
At first, I thought they were talking about my actual project, but as I continued reading, I realized that somehow they got the impression that I was writing a report on the history of gaming or Nintendo or something. Grrr.

1 comment:

  1. I know what you mean, it happens to me all the time. And just like you said, I took time to carefully phrase my statements and questions. It's insulting to me (and makes the other person look like an idiot) when someone replies asking about something that was addressed later in the e-mail.

    I've also noticed a trend where, if you ask more than one question in an e-mail, only the last question gets answered. I try to read over e-mails sent to me to ensure that I have addressed all of the topics involved.

    And speaking of boilerplate responses, such as the one you got from Nintendo, when I was working at Fox, a user sent me an e-mail asking some questions. I sent a well thought-out, carefully written reply (as usual). They replied, overjoyed that an actual human had read their e-mail and responded the issues raised.

    It's sad when someone gets excited by that because it's _not_ the norm.