Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Nintendo Just Can't help but insult its Target Audience

This commercial must have caused at least SOME argument during production-- a fortysomething guy is reminiscing how, back in the 80s, he was a champ at the Nintendo video game Super Punch-Out. (Being of that age group, I remember that game too, and I don't own a Wii but this might have convinced me to buy one if the commercial didn't tick me off so much.)

In between fond thoughts of how he used to kick butt in Super Punch-Out, we see him playing the game with his kid. Oh, how cool. The guy used to be great at this game, so his experience will FINALLY allow him to win a contest with his little kid and show how awesome his old man is (because you know that in TV land, the father has never won ANY previous contest with his son- no game, no argument, no battle of wits, NOTHING.)

Except- that doesn't happen. For all of his status as a Super Punch-Out Veteran, the guy keeps getting knocked out by his kid. Again. And again. And again. "Best two out of three!" the guy insists. "Best four out of seven!" "Best six out of....whatever!" (The final being muttered as Our Hero is now bathed in sweat, totally frazzled and frustrated in his inability to beat his kid at the game.)

Ok, what the hell is going on here? I thought that the whole idea of re-introducing games like Super Punch-Out in Wii format was to hit the Nostalgia Bone in people like me- "Yeah, I remember having fun playing these games! Yeah, I want to recapture my childhood! I'm buying that!" But then we see commercials which tell us hey, just because you could play the old game, doesn't mean you can play the new one- because it's played differently. The skills you used twenty years ago to mop your friends off the floor in this game won't do you a damn bit of good now- you have to learn new skills. Sorry, you won't be able to show off to your kid using this game.


Here's the Freaking Point, in my opinion-- Nintendo wants men my age to buy Wiis for themselves and their kids. But their desire to get into my wallet isn't large enough for them to depart from their "kids rule" theme, even for a few seconds. Even to make ONE commercial make a LITTLE sense. Because come on- here's the way this commercial could have been funny, and effective:

Fortysomething guy tells camera about how his little boy beat him in ever game they played. Until, that is, he brought home Super Punch-Out. Then we see him beating his astonished kid at this 80s Retro game, again and again and again. Kid is drenched in sweat. Maybe kid's friends look on in admiration, and want tips from Suddenly Cool Dad.

But no. That would have required a tear in the fabric of the Universe, I guess. I mean, can you imagine- Dad coming out on top over kid? No way. Doesn't matter that it would have been more logical- Kids Must Triumph Over Adults, All The Time. That message is more important than making a good commercial.

My money is back in my wallet.

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