Do Nintendo have to put the boot in?

2 Nov, 2007

We appreciate what Nintendo is doing. Really, we do. All that broadening of markets, shifting of paradigms and sculpting of new landscapes is, undoubtedly, helping put games in the hands of an entirely new audience and giving the industry a healthy glow in the process. But does the company that got many of us hooked on video games in the first place really have to put the boot in to 'traditional' gamers with images like the one below? It hurts us.

Shown to the gathered press at a Nintendo showcase in London this week (which was predominantly attended by mainstream and lifestyle media with just a peppering of specialist gaming hacks), the picture was used to show some of the 'key barriers' (ie what the majority of other people think gamers are like)encountered when trying to attract lapsed and non-gamers into the fold.

Above: That's us, that is

And in case the pictorial message wasn't crystal clear enough, Nintendo UK's marketing director Dawn Paine emphasised the point. "At best, games are often seen as a waste of time. At worst, an isolated - dare I say it? - sad addiction that removes the player from normal reality." We had to wonder whether we'd wandered into aMAVAVmeeting by mistake.

We acknowledge that many people outside gaming's inner circle may very well see us as a bunch of sad, isolated, glazed-over addicts. And we're comfortable with that. We also understand that Nintendo wants to define and evangelise its new image to the masses, but if it could find a way of doing it without perpetuating the old stereotypes of an entertainment medium that it played a pivotal role in establishing and developing, we - the gamers weaned on its milky rich gaming bosom - would feel much happier about it.

There was, of course, a subsequent bi-polar image shown that represented Nintendo's wholesome new ethos. Continue to the next page for a look.