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-Aimรฉ, 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 showsโ€ฆ 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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