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Alongside gaming Nintendo also pitched the Wii as a family-uniting, home info hub

Iwata has an important message for the family

Talking to Skyevlyn while working on the ‘List of Wii Games that Came in Cardboard Sleeves‘ I was reminded of *something* Wii related that I had in a cardboard package — of some kind. Yup, pretty vague memory there. Turns out it was this: a free DVD and booklet that I’m fairly certain I picked up at Target back in 2006 shortly before, during, or just after the release of the Wii.

This was pre-social media, long before executives like Satoru Iwata, Reggie Fils-Aimé, or Bill Trinen were the regular faces of Nintendo marketing. It’s equally as far removed from Nintendo’s aggressive marketing in the 90s and early 2000s. This is about as straight-laced as it comes, probably the reason I’d forgotten I even had this filed away on a shelf.

Looking back at it sixteen years later has been a fascinating reminder of who Nintendo was aiming for at the time: e v e r y o n e. The sizzle reel of gameplay footage is the same as it’s ever been — a montage of quick cuts and cinematics backed by generic guitar rock — but the majority of the disc’s chapters and menus are focused on the stuff that Nintendo hoped would win over more than just traditional gamers.

Besides the meme-morable marketing that so easily comes to mind when thinking about the Wii — retirement home activity nights, the absurd seriousness of Red Steel, and the happy white families playing Wii Sports — there’s the long-forgotten dream that Nintendo had for an even bigger market.

List of Wii Games that Came in Cardboard Sleeves

Or paper sleeves, card sleeves, slip sleeves, slip cases, slip covers, cardboard slips, paper slips, card slips – turns out no one can agree what to call these things.

This list is probably nearly complete? At least I hope so cuz I’ve spent so much time on this haha. But yeah uh, not for resale games and alternate versions of shovelware are really hard to track down! It was basically up to what was available on eBay at the time I did this because that’s the only reliable place to find photos of this stuff. (yeah, I know, that’s not inspiring confidence that this is complete. Look – if you want to eBay search all 50 games Zoo made for the Wii a few months from now, be my guest. Once was enough for me.) If you have any info on anything I’m missing, please leave a comment and I’ll update the post!

So why do these games come in cardboard sleeves? There are three reasons I’ve found. The first is if they come in a console bundle, likely to save space. Though there are console bundle games that come in a normal plastic case, too. The second is games that come bundled with peripherals (looking at you, Zoo) they’d just stick the small game sleeve in the box, I’m guessing it was to avoid having to make a bigger box. The third is demos for games, which since they were never going on store shelves, they could cheap out on the packaging.

Nintendo’s Many Video Game References to Hanafuda (and Karuta)

I really doubt this list is complete, though I did my best to include as much as I could. If I find more stuff I’ll add it, and feel free to leave a comment if you can think of anything yourself!

Appearances in Nintendo Games

Game Boy Camera Japanese version has this picture in the B Album

Pikmin 2 had you collecting real-life items, including a hanafuda deck https://www.pikminwiki.com/Talisman_of_Life

Hanafuda is available to play in both Clubhouse Games …games (as well as Clubhouse Games Express: Strategy Pack and the Japan only like, reduced version of clubhouse games called Daredemo Asobi Taizen). In the DS versions, it is called Koi-Koi, as that is the actual name of the game, and hanafuda is the name of the cards.

This card shows up in Quite Puzzled microgame from the Japanese version of WarioWare: Touched! (It was replaced by a western playing card in the international versions)

One of 9-Volt’s microgames in WarioWare Gold is based on hanafuda https://www.mariowiki.com/Hanafuda

These hanggliders in Mario Kart Tour are based on a real deck Nintendo produced, see below

There were a bunch of Hanafuda items added to Animal Crossing Pocket Camp

In Super Mario Odyssey, Bowser’s Kingdom Sticker features some Mario themed hanafuda cards. Also its industry is hanafuda cards according to the in-game map – https://www.mariowiki.com/Bowser%27s_Kingdom

The Nintendo Labo Variety Kit house has this picture of Napoleon from one of Nintendo’s hanafuda deck boxes

https://www.reddit.com/r/NintendoSwitch/comments/7r5n73/the_tamagotchilike_labo_game_has_a_reference_to/

There’s never been a better time for disposable income!

While the economy teeters on recession Japan is unwavering in their temptation of frivolous goods. Since I just spotted SO many of them at the same time today I figured I’d do a roundup. Get your currency converters and international Amazon accounts ready!

The heavy hitter of the day is definitely the Sega Mega Drive Mini 2, a follow-up to the 2019 mini console, only this time there are more weird games I love AND a functional(ish) Mega CD 2 add-on. Well, it’s functional in that it flips open and a miniature copy of Sonic CD snaps inside. The games, sadly, do not play from miniature discs.

“The miniature retro console will cost 9,980 yen, or somewhere around $75. It’s very cute, and appears to come with a simulated miniature cartridge for Virtua Racing and a simulated miniature CD for Sonic the Hedgehog CD. The Sega CD mini add-on is 4,500 yen extra, or about $35.”

Polygon

The full roster of 50 titles and surprise bonuses hasn’t been revealed yet but of the assortment shown I’m already excited for Sonic CD, Silpheed, Virtua Racing, Bonanza Bros., and Thunder Force IV. Although I don’t have the patience for it, I’m also amazed to see The Story of Yumemikan which we got here as Mansion of Hidden Souls. I didn’t realize Sega published that one in Japan and apparently still has ownership of it. If Ranger-X somehow makes it into the package I will absolutely buy this thing. No word yet on a matching Genesis Mini 2 for western release.

Next up is a ridiculously varied assortment of soft Nintendo goods starting with 13 Pikmin plushies and soft desk organizers. The blue Pikmin is the star of the show and on the backside you can fondle his little plush butt. Then there’s a cast of  11 plush items in a new “Super Mario All Star Collection” including my personal favorites Birdo and Mecha-Koopa. Monty Mole and Buzzy Beetle are two more notable standouts along with a plush question block and block bar trio that are storage cubbies. Complete with adorable power-up icons inside. Honestly, I could fill that question block with other question block trinkets I have.

Finally, of least personal interest but still very wholesome and cute, are twenty-seven new hand towels from Pokemon Center Online. I have no idea what I’d do with a small hand towel but “Lovely Flowers with Pikachu” just melts my heart. They’re $5-$10 a piece.

God that’s a lot of cute junk! Check the links for more and bigger images from Impress GameWatch, if you think you can withstand the temptation.