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.

A look behind closed doors at NoA marketing circa 2006?
The DVD has a few more candid, but not as bewildering, photos

Long before home automation and the internet-of-things Nintendo was pitching the Wii as a device to bring families together outside of gaming and make their lives simpler: Messages sent to Miis detailing the week’s shopping list. The SD card reader enabling photo editing and sharing (even turning them into a slide puzzle game I’d forgotten about). The Forecast and News channels bringing the outside world to your TV without having to boot up a desktop PC.

At one moment host Michael even recommends that you “switch over to the Wii console and book travel plans during commercial breaks of your favorite TV shows… you’ll never want to go back to using a mouse”. Amazing. Forget the 1950’s daydreams of flying cars and servant robots, I want to know how Nintendo would’ve evolved to eventually offer a home security system, internet-connected vacuums and refrigerators, or mesh networking. Had these features taken root in 2006 we might still be video calling one another on something like Wii U Chat.

TL;DR: just watch the whole thing right here on the It Came From The Collection channel or over at where it’s not as likely to get hit with a copyright claim. I’ve scanned and built a PDF of the physical freebie over there too so you can see the whole package.

Nintendo Wii: You’ll love it so much,
you might as well marry it!

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