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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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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.

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