Nintendo’s touring World of games arrived in Osaka today, and SPOnG was there to count how many kids had brought their DSs. (It was easy: the answer was ‘all of them’.) We spent some time with the DS too, as there were 44 new titles playable at the show, and met a real-life version of Mrs Arrow from F-Zero
. Hooray for us!
It’s clear that Nintendo’s advertising of the Wii has been hugely successful already. The TV ads have been running in Japan for about a month, but they’re easily remembered and the controller’s concept has already been embedded deep within the minds of a nation. Somewhere near the amygdala, we’d guess, but we’re no brain surgeons.
Anyway, the net result is that people of all ages and both sexes (and some in between!) came out for today’s exhibition. The word we heard most while queuing for entrance to Nintendo World 2006 was not “PS3” (didn’t hear that once), and it wasn’t even “DS” (although we couldn’t move for Pokemôn
players). Nope, the most-mentioned word of the day was “Wii” – “Wii,” “Wii,” “Wii,” all the way home.
Once inside the arena (Osaka’s Intex was the venue; it’s a bit like the NEC in Birmingham, Birminghamshire, England, Europe) we were free to queue for between 30 minutes and three hours for the privilege of playing Wii games.
Three hours for Zelda
, of course, and a mere 30 minutes for the likes of Hudson’s Wing Island
(a bit like Pilotwings
, only infinitely crapper) and, sadly, Sonic
(even though it’s looking like the best 3D Sonic
‘Wii Staff’, as their jackets described them, were mostly employed by Nintendo just for this one day. We really wanted one of those jackets, but none of the staff were willing to accept bribes. We asked one of Nintendo’s girls, Emiko from Shidakawa, what it was like to work at Nintendo World.
You don’t seem tired…
Emiko: “Well, I got up at 5am and all the staff met here inside the arena at 7.30am to make arrangements for the day. And then we started the real work at 9am. But no, I’m okay!”
That’s impressive. Are you interested by anything you’ve seen here, then?
Emiko is the less hairy, drummy one.. we are in love in a very real way.
Emiko: “Yes, I really enjoy the DS title Cooking Navi
. It’s cool. I haven’t had chance to try the Wii yet, though!”
Do you think things are looking good for Nintendo?
Emiko: “Absolutely! You can see how popular this event is, and the Wii and DS are both fun. I’m sure the Wii is going to be a big hit in Japan.”
So are we. Nintendo World was a very well orchestrated event. All who entered the show received polyester Nintendo Wii bags and Wii guidebooks, as well as tickets for a lotto that gave us chance to win a Wii. (We didn't win, but we'll go home to our shiny PS3 – so there, Nintendo.) More easily obtainable Nintendo World swag was around, though – an Elebits pop-up book, a Banana Blitz Super Monkey Bag… Tamagotchi sashes!