Nintendo Shouldn't Treat 'Gamer' Like A Dirty Word

Just when we start thinking that the world has accepted that gaming is a widespread, diverse hobby on the same level as any other form of media, an awful marketing campaign comes along to remind us that, oh yes, some people still believe that "gamer" is a dirty word.

"I am not a gamer," proclaims 16-year-old Olympic gymnast Gabrielle Douglas in this new commercial for Nintendo's 3DS and New Super Mario Bros. 2. "With my 3DS, I'm a coin-collecting champion." Because she wants to make it clear that no, she's not one of those fedora-wearing neck-bearded acne-ridden gamers; she's just a girl! Like you! Play Mario! Buy a 3DS!

The other advertisements in Nintendo's campaign are similar. "I am not a gamer," says actress Dianna Agron in one of the other commercials. "With my 3DS, I'm an artist."

This sort of misguided advertisement campaign is especially disconcerting coming from Nintendo, the company that helped link gamers and non-gamers all across the world with the widely-appealing Wii. That was a console marketed for everyone, from your ageing grandmother to your little brother to your squealing children. And the Wii's ads did a pretty decent job of reflecting that diversity.

So why has Nintendo suddenly taken a step backwards? Instead of trying to bridge the gap between people who play video games and people who don't, this advertising campaign is widening it. Spokeswomen like Douglas and Agron are propagating the stereotype of a "gamer," disavowing the word and making it quite clear that yes, they might be playing video games, but they're not like all those other gamers. It's OK for you to play New Super Mario Bros. 2. You won't suddenly start growing unkempt facial hair and eating Gamer Grub.

Playing games is already as acceptable a hobby as reading books or watching films. In an era where gaming is a $US20 billion industry and massive franchises like Angry Birds and Call of Duty have taken over modern culture, the word "gamer" might very well be obsolete. Everyone plays games. Which makes it even grosser when a company like Nintendo conveys the patronizing, condescending message that being a gamer — that is to say, being someone who stays up to date on gaming, who spends tons of time on Steam and Xbox and maybe even plays some Mario and Zelda — is not something to be proud of. It's admirable that Nintendo wants to appeal to people who don't play a lot of video games. But do they really need to step on some of their biggest fans along the way?


Comments

    I do like to think that there is a difference between being a "gamer" and somebody who plays games.

    Gamers dont use nintendo products so the ad is accurate. All gamers i know have built their own pcs for gaming. Consoles are handy for when family are over to keep kids entertained but even my ps3 is a basic toy when compared to an sli rig. Nintendo have a specific market and its cartoony looking games are great for children and grannys

      Ahhh young Padawan, no platform is perfect - how much money do you spend every six-months on your rig when it won't play your newest game at 3000 fps with retina-peeling sharp graphics? I used to be like you. Been there, done that. Over it.

      Lol your a moron what about those who can't afford a pc good enough to make moving from console even a remotely good choice because if you buy a chep pc you might as well use a console any way

      Obvious troll detected?
      Gamers enjoy games, platform is irrelevant, quality of the game is not.

      But yes, I agree Jason, this move seems especially odd coming just before the launch of a console they're trying to bring the hardcore back with so hard.

      tisme, You are the epitome of everything that is wrong with the term 'gamer' and I loathe the idea of being mistakenly associated with people who think like you. You are someone that enjoys building computers for a hobby, not someone who appreciates and enjoys games.

    Did everybody miss the subtle "Play As You Are" slogan in the last couple of seconds of the ad?

    Seems like Ninty's campaign is saying 'be who YOU want to be' instead of being concerned about being stereotyped by non-players as some kind of socially-inept, potential mass-murderer simply because you have a console in your hand...

    So Neo-Kaiser may be right but the point is, as long as Nintendo sells boxes & "apps", they're making money, and the platform maintains it's longevity. Just as long as we're not flooded with crap titles e.g. Barbie's Petz Art Sudokuz, and there's a higher ratio of quality GAMES then it can only be a good thing, right? :-)

    Well a lot of "gamers" gave up on Nintendo years ago and many feel Nintendo gave up being for "gamers" about the time of the release of the Wii.

      Nintendo haven't really changed, it's everyone else, at least they are still pushing for games unlike Microsoft pushing so hard for Kinect and it's non-game related services.

    I don't think they're trying to avoid the stereotype, just create a new market. "I'm not a gamer, I'm an artist" says you can do more than just games on a 3DS, it makes it seem appealing to people who maybe don't play games (or do) but love to draw, so they buy a 3DS for the art software and that opens up gaming to them. It's a marketing tactic, nothing more...

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