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Wii goes where no video game has gone before - Image courtesy Chicago Tribune
Nintendo console has officially gone geriatric

Nintendo is off to an incredible start with the Wii. With continued demand and leading sales even after the holiday season, Nintendo couldn’t be happier with the system’s early success. The Wii’s innovative controller design has opened up video gaming to a previously untapped market—non-gamers.

The marketing minds behind Nintendo looked beyond the traditional gamer mediums and advertised its innovations at targets as far from gaming as you can imagine, such as retirees. Nintendo even went against the current and took the Wii to an AARP convention. “The AARP thing was a little bit tough at first. They were like, ‘We don't really want to talk to you because we're all grandparents and we already buy stuff for our kids,’ and so we said, ‘No we want to talk to you about you,’” said Perrin Kaplan, VP Marketing & Corporate Affairs for Nintendo of America. “It took several attempts for them to finally say, ‘So why do you want to talk to us?’ And it's because we have products for them as well now.”

Nintendo’s efforts seemed to have paid off. The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Wii is now the latest rage at the Sedgebrook retirement community in Lincolnshire, where the average age is 77. In particular, the Wii Bowling component of Wii Sports has members of the retirement community hooked on playing the Wii installed inside the Sedgebrooks’s clubhouse lounge.

“I've never been into video games, but this is addictive,” said 72-year-old Flora Dierbach. “They come in after dinner and play. Sometimes, on Saturday afternoons, their grandkids come play with them … A lot of grandparents are being taught by their grandkids. But, now, some grandparents are instead teaching their grandkids.”

Wii Bowling has become so well received that more than 20 residents signed up to participate in a virtual bowling tournament without the need to leave the clubhouse lounge. Sedgebrook's entertainment committee said that they even have a fan for people to dry their hands before they bowl, just like at a real bowling alley.

Although Wii Sports features cartoon-like graphics and characters—imagery normally aimed at children—the retirees are absolutely taken with the realism offered by the Wii Remote.

“This is pretty realistic. You can even put English on the ball,” said Don Hahn, 76, a veteran of numerous real-life bowling competitions. “I used to play Pac-Man a little bit, but with this you're actually moving around and doing something. You're not just sitting there pushing buttons and getting carpal tunnel.”

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impending lawsuit
By phatboye on 2/22/2007 8:25:24 AM , Rating: 3
One of those retirees might get a heart attack while playing Wii Sports and try to sue Nintendo =)

RE: impending lawsuit
By Tsuwamono on 2/22/2007 8:40:22 AM , Rating: 5
or break their hip

RE: impending lawsuit
By encryptkeeper on 2/22/2007 9:36:27 AM , Rating: 5
Don't give them a racing game, they'll wind up driving the whole time with a blinker on.

Seriously though, this is really cool. It must be a trip to see people in their 70s teaching kids how to play a video game.

RE: impending lawsuit
By AkumaX on 2/22/2007 12:35:24 PM , Rating: 2
OMG :thumbsup; for this comment LOL

RE: impending lawsuit
By FITCamaro on 2/22/2007 5:26:38 PM , Rating: 5
No they'd just go 35 in the 150 mph straight. Or somehow, defying all the games physics and boundaries, end up in the stands. South Park episode anyone? :)

Seriously though. I think its cool. I know I damn sure plan to still be playing video games when I'm 70.

"Grandpa do you wanna play some Halo 10?"
"Sure Jimmy. But don't cry like a b*tch when I pwn your ass with the rocket launcher."

RE: impending lawsuit
By PrezWeezy on 2/23/2007 12:34:15 PM , Rating: 5
The real question is are you going to be playing on your XboX 1080 or your quantum computer?

RE: impending lawsuit
By oTAL on 3/16/2007 10:23:23 AM , Rating: 2
He'll be playing in his PS3!
It is "future proof", didn't you know....?

RE: impending lawsuit
By robharvil on 2/28/2007 5:04:02 PM , Rating: 2
I love it..No grandkids for me, but I'll pwn some whippersnapper in a good game of C-Strike.
I'm only 35, but to mangle a quote from Charlton Heston...
"They can have my controller when they pry it from my cold, dead hands!!"

RE: impending lawsuit
By jay401 on 2/24/2007 12:32:19 PM , Rating: 2
hahahah so true :D

RE: impending lawsuit
By Senju on 2/22/2007 8:53:36 AM , Rating: 2
Oh come on guys! You can say that to anything!
I bet it is safer than going for real bowling.
It gets people active or a chance to motivate certain people to be active who would otherwise rot away.

Some day you will be 70 years old ( I assume). By that time, there should a good market for senior video games. :D

RE: impending lawsuit
By rtrski on 2/22/2007 9:08:37 AM , Rating: 5
I have to admit I find this article kind of cute. I too hope to do more than sit on my ass and bitch about the past when I'm in my 70s. Anything that gets geriatrics standing and moving even a little bit, and brightens their day, is a good thing. Our culture respects age so little that most nursing homes seem like nothing more than a waiting room for death.

Its kind of nice to read a story about video games that's in the opposite polarity of the whole "FPS games make kids kill people" witch-hunt mentality.

RE: impending lawsuit
By SquidianLoveGod on 2/22/2007 9:25:44 AM , Rating: 2
You know how you get those parents who say computer games are useless and that you should be out doors playing with other kids etc? Well a friend of mines mum was like that, Until I lent her son my Wii for a few weeks while I was on Holiday, Apparently she was on it every waking moment.
I personally think its an Amazing console, And it actually does bring enjoyment into gaming like never before, Kind of reminds me of the Smash Brothers, And Mario Party craze on the 64' When it first came out :) I used to get the Entire family to join in on Mario Party and we would have a ball of fun doing it.

RE: impending lawsuit
By Mitch101 on 2/22/2007 9:34:29 AM , Rating: 2
Wouldnt it be awesome to see a 70 year old at a gaming tournament?

RE: impending lawsuit
By viperpa on 2/22/2007 9:45:07 AM , Rating: 2
I think this is great. I have been to a retirement home and it was sad to see. Being old and put into a retirement home gets depressing for old people especially when family members put them there to get them out of the way and don't even visit.

RE: impending lawsuit
By otispunkmeyer on 2/23/2007 4:04:20 AM , Rating: 4
imagine a geriatric LAN party.

reclining wingbacks
dressing gowns
coherent moaning and reminising about the war

now thats a LAN party i would attend. i bet they'd all have some awesome stories to tell.

RE: impending lawsuit
By PrezWeezy on 2/23/2007 12:37:26 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, remove the moaning about the war and I'm there.

RE: impending lawsuit
By jay401 on 2/24/2007 12:31:56 PM , Rating: 2
yeah, kinda dangerous hobby for them =)

I have to say it.
By Chris Peredun on 2/22/2007 8:43:20 AM , Rating: 5
Wii Bingo.

RE: I have to say it.
By 05SilverGT on 2/22/2007 9:06:02 AM , Rating: 2
They should have a Wii Channel for that!

RE: I have to say it.
By AmpedSilence on 2/22/2007 9:30:21 AM , Rating: 2
i second that! Bring on Wii Channel Bingo, you can even make it worldwide like the new Vote channel!

RE: I have to say it.
By Mitch101 on 2/22/2007 9:32:30 AM , Rating: 2
No I said I made Wee not Wii! Lousy whipper snapper.

Imagine the games they could produce for the elderly? I will let your own imagination do the walking here as I dont want to show that much of my dark side.

However this is a great low impact idea for the elderly.

DOA Volleyball anyone? ;)

Welcome to a new era
By encryptkeeper on 2/22/2007 9:34:51 AM , Rating: 5
Take note Microsoft and Sony, this is what Nintendo was talking about when they said they wanted to go after a new audience. I think this was inevitable for Nintendo, as it seems like they're different than offering something that looks the hottest and is more powerful than anything else. They just like being different, and instead of creating consoles that are hulking giants that just play pretty games (most of which aren't anything other than that, pretty) they want to make something new and original and fun. Console wars are far from over, but it looks *very* good for Nintendo right now.

RE: Welcome to a new era
By AmpedSilence on 2/22/2007 9:43:44 AM , Rating: 2
Imagine Nintendo taking this innovation and then having the hardware that Microsoft and Sony have... now, theres a **DROOL** moment.

BTW, i love my Wii; just got Wii Play and its awesome!

RE: Welcome to a new era
By kelmon on 2/22/2007 9:46:09 AM , Rating: 2
Absolutely. It's been sad to see video games get increasingly "hardcore" over the years such that they alienate people who had been happy to play them initially. I remember my parents showing me how to play games as a child but neither would go anywhere near a games console these days because they are so intimidating. Nintendo has got it absolutely right this time and I applaud them for bucking the trend of making games ever bigger and more complicated.

I'm sure that the 360 and PS3 will do well with the hardcore gamers but the Wii has the unique ability to truly appeal to the mass market.

I dont think so PS3
By DangerIsGo on 2/22/2007 11:44:57 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, lets see the PS3 do this...go in retirement homes...Wont even get past the front door.

In all seriousness though, I believe nintendo has revolutionized the gaming industry with this. 3d mice have not been new but to implement them in a gaming way is. Good job nintendo! Keep up the good work!

RE: I dont think so PS3
By deeznuts on 2/22/07, Rating: -1
RE: I dont think so PS3
By mircea on 2/23/2007 3:19:47 AM , Rating: 4
Let me get this translated for everyone else. You say that:
old people playing Wii make's it uncool vs. you playing PS3 & Xbox 360 make's it cool

WOW, please buy and play Wii cuz it seems everything you play becomes cool. I'll keep away old people from PS3 and Xbox 360 (can I still let my aunt though?? she can kick your but in some games)

I agree with the first part of why not the Xbox there too. But that is true about the Wii as well. Take any PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii but only with the clasic controller and you'll have the same result. But the Wiimote changes everything.

Every system has (as it should) games that appeal to specific age groups. Both Playstations before 3 had plenty of stupid and bad games that you can't find on any Nintendo system (and viceversa), but the system didn't become uncool. You choose what games you play on what system, that doesn't change anything of it's adjectives :)). It should affect only the games itself. Nintendo just had the least bite of the developers pie, and got stuck.

So stop lying to yourself and try to convice that Zelda, Metroid, and most exclusive Wii titles, along most multiplatform titles will suddenly become dumb cuz some old people piked up Wii.

I think most people that complain about the simplicity of Wii haven't played NES and SNES games (when gaming was really fun and less stats) and are scared that because so many people buy Wii it's natural for developers to migrate and will force them to play cool games on low graphics. See they would have no problem playing them, but ah... the shame of boasting on graphics for 5 years and now the humility of having fun without them.

RE: I dont think so PS3
By deeznuts on 2/23/07, Rating: 0
RE: I dont think so PS3
By afkrotch on 2/22/2007 8:52:57 PM , Rating: 2
umm...motion devices have been in gaming for years. Never go to an arcade?

They've had games where you have a sword you swing around and block. They've had games where you shoot a gun and you had to actually duck to hide behind objects.

Nintendo hasn't done anything revolutionary. They simply took other ppl's work and brought it to home users. I don't see the Wii lasting all that long. Wait until the end of the year and tell me how they enjoy playing another Wii Sports or another random sword fighting game.

Me...the Wii was fun for about 15 mins. I got bored of it pretty quickly and went back to playing my PC and PS3 games. Will be picking up an Xbox360 soon. I don't buy consoles to play kid's games.

RE: I dont think so PS3
By zeroslugfm on 2/22/2007 11:18:29 PM , Rating: 2
well the Wii is more or less an "arcade" experience. Like the above poster's not revolutionary in the sense of mechanics but it is the first time this has been successfully launched on a home console.

As far as "difficulty" is concerned, deeznuts is obviously not the target audience for the Wii, but there is something "retro" about having the instant-action gameplay that everyone can jump into. Anyone else remember getting drunk with friends while playing Ms Pacman?

I'm not getting any younger anyways~ ;)

I think its a good Idea
By kmiller1700 on 2/22/2007 12:30:21 PM , Rating: 3
It gives people who aren't very active (due to disabilities and such) a chance to be active.

RE: I think its a good Idea
By afkrotch on 2/22/07, Rating: 0
RE: I think its a good Idea
By Le Québécois on 2/23/2007 1:36:08 AM , Rating: 2
Have you actually played the Wii? I can sit in lounge chair and play any of the games.

I think you don't get it.

While you can certainly play it that way, it's way more fun to let yourself be "in the game". Imagination and immersion are what you need.

Try it again with that in mind, and who cares if you're looking stupid, that's part of the game. Then again, if you prefer to look like a couch potato with little to no mouvement, I won't stop you.

By crazydrummer4562 on 2/23/2007 3:46:08 PM , Rating: 2
haha yeah and that mindset is why you probably never get ass.

Dead Era
By porkster on 2/23/2007 8:48:24 AM , Rating: 2
Lets face it, the era of joypads without 3d motion positioning detection, is dead. Sony and Microsoft are scambling to design their own 3d controllers this moment, and you'll see them in revised or new consoles.

RE: Dead Era
By jconan on 2/23/2007 8:39:14 PM , Rating: 2
yes and eventually the holodeck with live scenes and lifelike characters will coming soon if not this generation maybe a couple generations down the road ...

RE: Dead Era
By bldckstark on 2/26/2007 1:28:17 PM , Rating: 3
Games are not what is going to push the holodeck into reality. pr0n is. Think about it.

By fic2 on 2/22/2007 3:20:17 PM , Rating: 2
I thought about getting my dad a Wii for Christmas. He is 77, loves golf, but can only play 9 holes at a time now. I thought that he would like it and better than just sitting in front of the tv when he comes home from work. Anybody know anything about Wii golf? Is it any good?

RE: Golf
By spwrozek on 2/22/2007 4:23:08 PM , Rating: 2
Wii Golf is very fun. Since he enjoys real golf on March 13 Tiger Woods 07 comes out for the Wii. It will be a great game using the Wiimote to the fullest. It also features real PGA players and real courses from around the country. It is supposed to be very realistic to playing golf. Since it isn't out yet this is just game speculation though. All other versions of Tiger woods have been good on other platforms.

RE: Golf
By fic2 on 2/22/2007 6:05:52 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks! I tried to google Wii golf and it came up with something that, according to the review, was kind of goofy. I think he would like the more serious kind. March 13 - just after his birthday. I feel a Wii shopping spree coming on.

By Roy2001 on 2/22/2007 12:52:57 PM , Rating: 3
I just hope that 360 or PS3 would have this kind of games/controllers or Wii would have an updated version with enhanced video, at least capable for 720p.

4 generation Wii
By Den on 2/24/2007 1:12:23 AM , Rating: 2
We got my Wii when my 60 year old Mom was in town visiting. She loved playing it with me and my 6 year old son so much that she bought two. One for her and one for my 82 year old grandma. My grandma loves it so much she told my Mom she never needs to buy her another present again. She has her bridge club over (all 70-85 years old) and they spend more time on Wii Sports bowling than they do on bridge now. She talks about it to everyone she knows, and I expect around 10 of her 20 friends she sees regularly will buy it. Talk about an untapped market...

Can't wait
By Cave Troll on 2/25/2007 2:39:48 PM , Rating: 2
I guess later this year the Wii will get Guitar Hero II. I hope they do a follow-up article that shows us the rest home rocking out to some Kiss. Now THAT is a photo op!

Viva old folks playing Wii and having some fun instead of waiting for death. I hope I can enjoy something like that when I'm 80 too.

so wait...
By michal1980 on 2/22/07, Rating: -1
RE: so wait...
By spwrozek on 2/22/2007 4:39:40 PM , Rating: 2
Old people don't blow, they rock.

Also you are an idiot, If you find it hard to believe that seniors didn't play console games then you think they do play them. So why would they, if already enjoying previous console games, not buy any more console games?

Also there are 2 Wii consoles in my apt, 8 games (plan on buying 6 more in the next month between roommate and I), 4 Wiimotes, 4 nun chucks, and 20 bucks worth of VC games.

Point being do you honestly think that only old people are buying the Wii????? Because a report of ONE retirement home that has seniors who enjoy it. You do understand this is in Chicago, and for the past month and a half it has been so cold and windy in the mid-west that young people didn't want to even go outside. So it makes sense for old people to get exercise this way.

Lastly why are you such a prick about the Wii all the time. The article is about old people getting exercise instead of sitting in chairs playing cards or other non athletic activities. What about old people who love to bowl but can't do to physical limitations, this is great for them. Why would you drag in that the Wii isn't going to sell any games via some horribly inaccurately drawn connection.

RE: so wait...
By akugami on 2/22/2007 7:59:26 PM , Rating: 3
In the infamous words of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: What is your major malfunction, numbnuts? Didn't Mommy and Daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?

Seriously, wtf is your major malfunction? You're a confirmed Sony fanboy too stupid to be part of the Sony Defense Force (SDF for short on some blog sites and forums). Why must you crap on everything non Sony and jerk Sony like it's a cock pump.

RE: so wait...
By crazydrummer4562 on 2/23/2007 3:47:52 PM , Rating: 3
You're going to be old one day, unless you die before that. If that happens I don't think many people will be sad.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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