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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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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.


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