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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 =)

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