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Miyamoto Concerned About Gamer Image Stereotype 76

kukyfrope writes "In a recent interview with MTV News, Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto voiced his concern for the stereotypical image of gamers as kids alone in a dark room. He says that Nintendo wishes to change that image with the Wii, a sentiment made obvious by the wide array of people shown playing Wii in Nintendo's recent promotional videos." From the article: "I think it's time to break free from that stereotypical definition of what a gamer is, because until we do, we'll never truly be part of the national or worldwide culture."
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Miyamoto Concerned About Gamer Image Stereotype

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  • Worldwide? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SkankinMonkey ( 528381 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @11:41AM (#15435955)
    This doesn't seem to be a big problem in Western countries as much as it is in Japan. In America I play games with my friends all the time and we're hardly 'the bottom of the barrel' but here in Japan I've yet to hear something good about people that play games, though huge amounts of people do it, just in secret. But it could also be the way Japanese society works, namely it's a very casted and stereotype producing system.
    • "But it could also be the way Japanese society works, namely it's a very casted and stereotype producing system."
      Ever visited the USA? We've got plenty of those too, albeit perhaps more "unofficially."
      The further along a society is economically or socially, the more likely it is to have such disparities.
      Incidentally, Japan is often considered a "Western" country, as far as economic advancement goes. I guess it depends on whether you mean western by geography, or by material wealth.
      • Re:Worldwide? (Score:1, Interesting)

        As a first-generation Japanese American, I've never understood why people like you fetishize [wikipedia.org] my country of origin in such an uncritical, irrational manner. Is it because you want to steal our women? By all means, help yourself--but be warned that Fecal Japan is no myth at all. Is it because you imagine yourselves being able to "fit in" better in Japan? Let me assure you that this is nothing but delusion, an artifact of your Western upbringing perhaps. But unless you share with the Japanese a slavish, unques
        • Re:Worldwide? (Score:3, Informative)

          by Psmylie ( 169236 ) *
          "Is it because you want to steal our women?"

          Steal? No. Borrow? Yes, please.

          What you have to understand is that your typical "Western Otaku" (heh) has no real idea of what Japan is like, has never visited the country, and likely never will. I mean, if you base your entire opinion of a country on a very small set of media exported from it, you're going to have a skewed vision of the society. Watching the entire run of Urutsei Yatsura twenty times through is not going to make anyone an expert in Japanese cult

    • Re:Worldwide? (Score:3, Insightful)

      If anything, I think this definitely is still a problem in the US particularly with females. There are increasing numbers of women who play games but I think the stereotype and the most marketed to group is definitely males by far. If the Wii can garner a female market, particularly teenage girls, then it will definitely be breaking barriers. While blogging and ipods have brought more women to the "geek" hobbies more than ever, I still think that until teenage girls adapt to gaming in large numbers, it'l
      • Re:Worldwide? (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Well, I don't think that it will really take multiple generations to attract a new market like teenage girls; all it really takes is a couple of killer apps.

        Personally, I think Nintendo is the company to break through the barriers because I have seen it in action in my life. Every girlfriend I have ever had started out not playing videogames and eventually bought one (or more) Nintendo gaming systems for themselves; if I was more popular with the ladies I could single handedly give Nintendo market dominance
      • It might not take generations (of consoles that is...), but a few good applications for the Wii and the current DS. Nintendo is already doing something right. I was in a movie theatre to other day, waiting for the show to start, and next to me were four girls giggling with glee as they were playing with a multiplayer game together wirelessly with 4 DSes.

        This incident, plus seeing a mother and her daughter playing a game together wirelessly on 2 DSes, just reconfirms my affirmation that Nintendo is headi

    • With respect: you've passed through the looking-glass.

      At home, in uhMURRkuh, you are so thoroughly immersed in your culture and sub-culture that you're not aware of it. You might as well ask whether a fish notices water.

      Abroad, in Japan, or elsewhere, you have to deal with a new culture, and how you "slot in" to that new culture. While I accept (and know from my own cultural/linguistic experiences) that many things *are* in fact different in each culture, I have noticed that the very strangeness of a new

  • Korea? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Ekarderif ( 941116 ) <benjamin,feng&gmail,com> on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @11:47AM (#15436010)
    Gamers in Korea are worshipped as Gods. Why can't all countries be like that? :(
  • by kmhebert ( 586931 ) <kev@ke v i nhebert.com> on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @11:49AM (#15436019) Homepage
    Rather than read an article about an article why not just go directly here [mtv.com]? It's a very informative interview, I really look forward to Super Mario Galaxy and how the Wii controller will work in that type of game.
  • That's why... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by oahazmatt ( 868057 )
    That's why I love my Gamecube. I love all the four-player games available on it. I can not stress how much fun I've had on a weekend with my friends playing SSBM, passing the controller around, and just generally having a good time.

    I will be purchasing a Wii, and the extra controllers, and will be taking it to a friend's house rather immediately.
    • Yeah Ive always found that Nintendo excells at the 'party game' genre in which a group of people can play together and enjoy. Thats why I only buy Nintendo consoles, if I am solo gaming I just play on my PC.

      My philosophy: There is no better control sys than a mouse and keyboard
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto voiced his concern for the stereotypical image of gamers as kids alone in a dark room. He says that Nintendo wishes to change that image with the Wii ... by giving it a high powered LED that will light up their parent's basement.
  • Console Vs Pc (Score:2, Interesting)

    by meh13579 ( 975202 )
    This doesn't seem to be as much of a problem with console gamers as it is with gamers on PCs. It's much easier to imagine someone playing in a group of friends on a console than it is on a computer.
    • Well, I remember seeing four of my friends (nicknamed the Teletubbies by the way) playing pokemon in an emulator that allowed up to four instances of GB games. All four at the same time. All eight hands on a single keyboard. I think I understand what that article is about.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @11:53AM (#15436054)
    It's not the "stereotypical definition of what a gamer is", it's the lack of games that non-hardcore gamers want to play.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @11:56AM (#15436086)
    I was about to say that the stereotype of living in your parent's basement is wildly inaccurate, but one of my best friends who is 28 just moved back in to his mother's house, in the basement, where he plays WoW...
  • by stubear ( 130454 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @11:59AM (#15436108)
    The Atari 2600 was originalyl marketed this way. They tried to appeal to the sense of family gathering around the TV to play Pong or whatever. All their early ads had photos of families in them to reinforce this idea. In reality though, kids who spent much of their time in arcades were the lion's share of the market for the 2600 and that's why consoles have been developed and marketed towards this crowd for the most part.
    • Some work, some don't. Apple marketed its iPod as cool, funky, etc, in an advertising campaign; at that point the public's perception of Apple was probably more "cute"/"different" with the original iMac shape. iPod was a hit hit hit because it got marketed right or hit a sweet spot or both; depending on how Nintendo markets the Wii, they can go the way that Apple has gone in the mp3 player market, or how Pong went in your example. The Wii has massive potential to be freaking awesome to gamers as well as int
    • you mean like this NES packaging? [notd.net]
    • "The Atari 2600 was originalyl marketed this way."

      I suspect ever console released was marketed this way to one degree or another. However, in the ~30 years since the 2600 was released, the only fundamental (non-gimmick) change in the way players interact with the games is that the controller now rumbles.
  • Kids in a bright room wearing dark sunglasses going "wheeeee!" when playing Nintendo's latest console.
  • uh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    He says that Nintendo wishes to change that image with the Wii, a sentiment made obvious by the wide array of people shown playing Wii in Nintendo's recent promotional videos."

    I applaud Nintendos efforts to increase the number of attractive models playing video games and am delighted by their commitment to encouraging a wide diversity of hot people playing their console.

    However I doubt it'll increase profits that much ...

    • Re:uh? (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      They're talking about senior citizens, middle-aged adults, younger adults, and children all having fun together. "Hot?"

      I think you might be looking at Microsoft's press starring 18-30s breakdancing around the sofa, skipping double-dutch, or playing gunfinger in public. Or maybe you are watching Sony's non-ads starring 18-30s throwing PSPs around in the air at other people after less than 2 seconds of "enjoyment" (along with hot squirrels, hot fuzzballs, hot whitespaces, and other miscellaneous kinds of bu
    • If you look at the promotional materials he's talking about, it's not exactly like they picked super models. Sure, they didn't pick a bunch of overweight, greasy, nasty people either, but some of them look awfully goofy.
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Wednesday May 31, 2006 @12:13PM (#15436221) Journal
    All well and good for him to say that, but at least here in the US, part of the very typical group dynamic is an exclusive sense of elitism even if the group is relatively 'low' on the social dominance scale.

    Thus rather than saying "OK, we need to broaden our appeal, let's try to get lots of people gaming!" (a message that would of course appeal to a BUSINESS selling good to the identified market segment), the members of the group behave rudely, and reject any broadening of the franchise to "outsiders".

    Look, for example, at the level of scorn directed at casual players of World of Warcraft by 'hardcore' players in-game. Or (for a broader, but similar example) the sneers of derision by /.ers at people who find Windows XP perfectly adequate. The 'geek hierarchy' writ large.

    Sure, it's a defensive reaction based entirely on protecting the ego. The lame geek KNOWS he lives in his parents' basement, KNOWS that while spending 12 hours a day playing a video game he's missing out on other social activities that are widely considered to be more constructive, KNOWS that virtual wish-fulfillment might be very satisfying, but really doesn't compare to actually accomplishing anything.

    But to welcome in the unwashed masses into his 'world'? That would be to at least partially accept their 'yardstick' of normalcy, against which his self-image would measure smaller. Who would welcome that?
    • Geek gaming culture is . . . sad at best.

      I've given up most online games not because I don't like to play anymore, but I don't want to put up with the subcultures that grow up within them.

      • U cant h@ndle mI l337 haxxor skillz I put ph34r in ur mom I know U watch gay teletubby pr0n fag

        Y dont U go j4ck ()ff with your WII

        ROFLCOPTER! 1 just h34dshot Ur post! Ima put my pr0n spray on ur corpse now.

        (P.S. I hate Counter-Strike)
    • People like that are a lost cause. There's no need to dig them out of their world. They're like the "crazy cat ladies" of the gaming crowd. Once you get them out into the public, they'll make a scene and then go running back to their basements.

      Forunately, though, they're only a minority amongst gamers. A highly-visible minority (ironic, I know, seeing as they live in basements), but still a minority.

      (In a way, this kinda reflects how Linux will take a LONG TIME to reach the mainstream desktop: it's mired in
  • Although these really aren't new characters so to speak, the "Wii Sports" series features these little models which you can put your own faces on ... and then you may start to see those characters, with faces you've created, appearing in different games on the Wii system.

    Huh. So your WiiSports avatar might be, say, an enemy in SMG? Make a cameo in a crowd in Smash Bros. Brawl? Methinks this ties into the WiiConnect24 service, as well...your little head popping up in other people's games and so on. I'm surpr
  • The Red Steel was a guy alone in a dark room doing the *BLAM BLAM* *SWISH* with the Wii-wand...

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan