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Wei Man takes a look at what Nintendo's first- & second-parties have to offer

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Wiiiiii!
Marketing Genius or Marketing Suicide?
or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Wii

My initial reaction to this name change from something so bold and overstated to something so meek and childish was wholly a negative one. I decried Nintendo for coming up with a name that could so obviously be associated with so many negative qualities. We have already seen so many of the silly puns people can make with a name like "Wii" and the supply seems limitless. How could Nintendo knowingly try to push for such a horribly conceived name? Despite being only one syllable, it still manages to feel clumsy. As soon as one hears it, one starts to imagine all of the myriad connotations a word like "Wii" has. Comparing the name to something like the "iPod" is missing the point. The word "iPod" has no discernible meaning aside from the product name. When you hear it, all you think of is the product itself. When one hears "Wii" there are far too many things other than the console itself that come to mind. By making the name homonymous with so many words, the mental image of the product gets muddled. Even a name like "Revolution" was in my opinion a little too easy to disassociate from the system, but "Wii" just seems to mean too many things to too many people. Sure, the "Wii" hasn't been released yet, but even so, how long do you think it will take before people stop thinking of male genitalia first and the product second when hearing the name?



So yeah, I got to thinking - there has been a lot of buzz about this name change in even the most mainstream of press. It is in the news nationwide, and forums across the world are in an uproar with regards to it. There is a more palpable buzz than we have seen regarding a Nintendo project in a long time. The only thing anyone can seem to talk about is this new name. Granted, the majority of people out there hate it (and rightfully so), but at least it is being talked about. It is now only four days since the initial announcement and already the internet is abuzz with rumors and wild speculation concerning the console. Nintendo didn't even do so much as release a single screenshot of a single game and they managed to have editors from every reputable (and not so reputable) gaming site weighing in on the issue despite their console affiliation. I think things will only get worse (or better?) in the coming week as E3 approaches and people all over the place start to hear about this odd new name that Nintendo has for their console. Word of mouth about this thing will spread like wildfire. The various humorous gifs and the like have already made their way through internet forums and blogs everywhere and discussion (as well as mockery) of the name has become all pervasive.

But again, people are actually talking about it. The biggest shortcoming that the "Revolution" brand had was that not all that many people knew about it. Those who did were usually people who were avid Nintendo fans to begin with. I have had to explain the nuances of the Free-Hand Controller (FHC) to so many people who were not entirely clueless about video games on the whole. But now that this "Wii" fiasco is going on people everywhere are going to start talking about the system. People who are not interested in gaming in the slightest will still stumble upon the name and wonder what it means. Furthermore, the only game that has even been revealed in any real capacity is Red Steel so the flagship title for the system has de facto become a mature oriented shooter which looks to do a lot of new things for the genre. In the weeks leading up to E3, interested potential consumers will be intrigued by this preposterous name and seek out information regarding the "Wii" and what it can do. As it was before the name change, there are still going to be a whole lot of skeptics out there who can't fully accept the potential that the FHC holds for gaming. Even so, I am certain that their eyes will still be glued on Nintendo as they finally unveil just what the hell they have planned with this machine.

So that pretty much brings us to one of the most hyped console unveilings that I can remember. Granted, I have only been playing games for 20 years, so what do I know? This E3 is going to be crazy. Media outlets all over the place are going to be watching Nintendo intently to see what they have up their sleeves. This means lots of media coverage in even the most mainstream press. Furthermore, the hardcore gamers out there will have their gazes firmly fastened on Nintendoís E3 showing because, well, playing the console seems to be believing, and Lordy, do I ever want to find out what people think after playing the "Wii."

Which brings me to the "marketing genius" part of the title. I still regard this name as a fairly moronic asinine choice for a console name. It really does nothing but conjure up childrenís jokes in my mind as well as those of many others. But nevertheless, people are talking about this system like there is no tomorrow. Word is going to spread the new Nintendo console and why the hell it is called the "Wii." Personally, I am hoping that Nintendo had planned this all along and never intended to actually use the name "Wii." Once the press conference starts, they will show some mock ad for the "Wii" only to stop mid reel as the final name cuts through and it is revealed to be something wholly impressive with a sleek elegance to it (or, you know, basically anything other than "Wii"). Nintendo has never been one to go for "cool" in their marketing, so I donít really think something like this could happen, but if it did, it would do wonders to shatter the "kiddy" image that Nintendo has been burdened with.

Uh, so there you have it. It seems that for the first time in Nintendo history, they have used a well-thought-out viral marketing campaign in order to get the word out about their new product. Only time will tell whether or not the gamble pays off, but I am deciding to view this whole hullabaloo as a positive at this point. Hell, at least people are talking about the damn thing.

Written by: Micah Seff

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