Does ‘W’ in Wii mean women?

In the world of Nintendo, guys rule.

  • Sunday, April 6, 2008 11:35pm
  • News

Silvia Otero tries her hand at Wii bowling at the Bellevue Best Buy store as Michelle McConnell looks on.

Nintendo, Best Buy team up to show games not just for guys

In the world of Nintendo, guys rule.

Maybe not any more.

The Eastside company has teamed with with Best Buy stores around the country to host Wii for Women events. From comments at a recent outing in Bellevue, Nintendo is on to something.

“The games are fun and you really use your body,” commented Mary Ciabattari. “You’re not just sitting on the couch and I like that.”

According to Camie Morris, the operations manager at the Bellevue store, Best Buy is trying to focus on getting women into their stores, as shoppers and as employees.

“Some women are intimidated by all the technology and it just makes sense that they would feel more comfortable asking questions from a woman employee. And we all know that women have the buying power so it makes sense to cater to them.”

Rachel Harris watched as her two girls, Olivia and Nell, knocked down bowling pins while trying out the Wii.

“We would absolutely get a Wii. My girls had great fun and I could really get into it,” Harris said.

Ciabattari agreed.

“I’ve been exposed to my husbands Xbox, but I think the Wii caters more towards women,” she said.

Nintendo designed the Wii to allow players to be a part of the game through natural and intuitive movement. During the Best Buy demo, women were shown how to maneuver the remote while playing their choice of bowling, part of Wii Sports, or Cooking Mama.

As an added bonus, the women were given a flower and a candle and were entered into a drawing for a chance to win a spa gift card worth $100, a Garmin GPS or a Wii.

Silvia Otero came away a winner of one of the spa gift cards after trying her hand at bowling. “It was so much easier than I had thought it would be and a whole lot of fun,” Otero said. “I loved the movement and action. It really gave me a workout.”

The Wii console retails for $249.99 and comes packaged with one Wii remote, one nunchuck attachment, a Wii remote jacket, a Wii stand, a sensor bar and Wii Sports featuring tennis, bowling, baseball and boxing games.

The Wii also has a specialized feature called the “Mii Channel.” Here, players can customize the characters in the games by selecting from a variety of face shapes, hair styles and color, skin tone, eye shape, and more. The personalized character can then be stored on the console itself and transferred to the Wii remote – allowing players to take the Mii character with them when playing against friends.

According to Nintendo, some games that everyone can enjoy include Mario Party 8, Wii Play, Dance Dance Revolution Hottest Party and Guitar Hero III.

One of the most anticipated Wii products to hit the market soon is called Wii Fit. The new software is based on the idea of health, combining fitness with fun. Wii Fit includes a Wii Balance Board that is the world’s first game accessory capable of measuring the player’s body weight and body balance.

“Wii Fit is such an exciting product that I think will draw a lot of interest from women,” said Toni Powell, a Nintendo representative. “The board records your weight and body mass and then you manually enter in your measurements and daily food intake through visual graphics that appear on the screen. It’s so simple.”

The Wii Fit will offer games designed to improve balance, burn fat and calories, tone certain muscles and stretch your body to improve posture. The games are organized in categories including Balance Games, Aerobic Exercises, Muscle Workouts and Yoga.

Morris was thrilled to see how many women seemed to really enjoy playing the Wii.

“This is just one way Best Buy is trying to reach out to the community and help women to feel more confident about the world of technology,” Morris said. “We have another upcoming event called Digital Makeover that I think will be a huge hit with women.”

On April 27, Bellevue Best Buy will invite women to come in and learn about upgrading their current technology with the help of personal shoppers. The event also will include Geek Squad training, snacks, and special deals. One lucky participant will win a $300 gift card towards purchases made during the Digital Makeover event.

“It’s going to great,” Morris said. “What women doesn’t love having a personal shopper? Our goal is to make women feel more comfortable when it comes to technology. We want them to have a positive experience and to show them that being a ‘techie’ isn’t just for guys anymore.”

Lindsay Larin can be reached at llarin@reporternewspapers.com or 425-453-4602.

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