A Game Counselor was an employee of Nintendo of America who was responsible for taking phone calls from customers who had trouble with certain games. This hotline lasted from 1987 to 2005. The Game Counselor line was a toll hotline, and came with a warning that if one needed to either be the payer of the phone bill or secure permission from whomever pays the bill each time before calling. However, the rates were only slightly higher than a standard long distance call to the Cascade region, dependent on one's geographic area.
Some Game Counselors would also write for Nintendo Power, giving insight to particular hard parts of games in a segment known as "Counselors' Corner".
In 1989 from the time to its termination, the Game Counselor hotline also contained a segment for prerecorded information, where customers could elect to listen to the voicemail system instead of speaking to a live counselor. This was often reserved for popular games and split up into segments which were accessed by number. Although limited, this usually was a faster method and resulted in a lower bill for the customer. The hotline also had a system for Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TDD) to communicate with players who were hearing impaired and could not use a regular telephone.
Becoming a Game Counselor was a highly selective process. Responding to a letter to a reader considering employment, Nintendo Power said that at the time of commissioning the hotline, 800 people made application for the job, of which 33 were ultimately awarded the title of Game Counselor. Requirements for Game Counselors were stringent, to include excellent customer service, fast writing, a high school diploma as well as a geographic requirement of residing within the Seattle metro area. Naturally, a Game Counselor also had to be a skilled gamer.
In 2005, with the rise of the Internet providing faster and more reliable help on gaming walkthroughs, Nintendo retired the Game Counselor hotline. Game Counselors who had been working the hotline at the time of its termination were reassigned to different jobs within Nintendo of America.
List of known Game Counselors
- The Game Counselor hotline is seen in the 1989 film The Wizard.