We. Whee! Oui?
Posted on Friday, April 28 @ 18:10:59 Eastern by Ben_SilvermanI've been screaming it for 24 hours and it STILL doesn't make any sense.
Look, to be fair, Nintendo stopped making sense to me about ten years ago when they decided to continue making cartridges (N64) while the rest of the free world opted for CDs. That was a bad decision, surely, and one that they've yet to truly recover from. But like any gamer under the age of 40, I spent a huge part of my down time with Mario and company and of course have a cozy spot in my heart reserved for Miyamoto's creations. Nintendo, for better or worse, is a big part of my life.
Wii, however, is a big goddamn mess. It's a terrible name, flat out, and anyone who tries to argue otherwise is in a state of denial so profound they'll need a map to find their way back to the real world (which I'm sure some old crone is willing to sell them for 100 Rupees).
And for real, people are arguing. Nintendo PR guy Matt, by all accounts a kickass dude, actually tried to compare Wii to Yahoo, or Virgin Airlines, or, you know, any other company or product name that might seem weird to a layperson. However, all those other names actually MEAN things and are written in proper English. They do not require a one-sheet explanation or a kooky theory about oceans. They do not provoke the brain into awkward cartwheels as it tries to configure the proper sound of two lowercase i's in succession. They might not be great names, but they are at least NAMES, not esoteric concepts.
What baffles me the most about Wii is that somehow, Nintendo thinks this works to their advantage in swaying casual non-gamers to their cause. They have convinced themselves that the non-hardcore will understand their confusing name because, if you squint, the two i's kind of look like two people, or two controllers, or two something. Hate to break it to you, but my mom isn't that deep a thinker, and I doubt she's going to see the word Wii and suddenly connect the dots. Maybe that's what those i's mean.
How bad is it? Well, some sites are now actually considering that this is some unbelievably elaborate viral marketing scheme. Right. A mere two weeks away from the biggest PR event of the year, Nintendo has blasted a false name across the Internet just to foster some added hype? At the risk of infuriating millions of fans and absolutely mystifying the scads of casual consumers they desperately need on their side in the battle to take back some console market share from Sony and Microsoft? They're about to have the world's attention, everyone waiting with baited breath, and they decide to throw out a decoy?
God, I hope so, and so do Wii.
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