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Travel, Teach, Live in Japan

Why Has The Nintendo Wii Become So Popular In Japan
By:Darren Lintern

Two weeks after it was released in the US late last year, the Nintendo Wii came out in Japan, and consoles literally flew off the shelves. Reports received from areas such as Akihabara (the major electronics district of Tokyo) and Shinjuku (another massive shopping location) said that it was nearly impossible to walk down the sidewalk anywhere near an electronics store.

Without doubt, the most popular choice of games console by the Japanese people is the Nintendo Wii, although the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have sold quite well in Japan. You couldn't escape the ads for Wii anywhere last year, and it seemed to be all Japanese video gamers were talking about. So, why is the Nintendo Wii, loved so much in Japan?

To start with, the Nintendo's have always outsold the other gaming systems in Japan. A survey noted that the Nintendo games tend to contain subject matter that was interesting to Japanese gamers. They said that the Nintendo games appeal to all ages and tastes.

The interactive features of the Nintendo Wii have become extremely popular. The Nintendo Wii makes use of a new remote sensing technology, which means that while playing a game, such as golf you can actually take a swing to hit the ball. Naturally, this technology has caught on with the non-gamers as well as gamers. Recent studies have discovered that more woman and older adults, demographic groups that don't normally go for games consoles in a big way, get a big kick out of the Wii's interactive features.

There was tons of promotion and advertising. It was almost impossible to get anywhere near an electronics store in Japan at the end of last year without noticing a guy dressed up like a giant remote controller, or kids of all ages crammed around a Wii demo console. The Wii was witnessed just about everywhere last year, much more so than any of the other consoles. With such a big push off, it had to be popular.

One of the main strengths of the Wii console is it sports games. Lately, sports games have become more and more popular in Japan, and they have started to outsell the more traditionally popular adventure games such as Legend of Zelda. The Wii offers great quality, realistic golf, baseball and tennis, among others. For the Japanese gamers, these are a great step forward from the sports games of yesterday.

Then again, maybe the massive popularity of the Wii in Japan is due to those wacky pictures in its safety manual. The Wii has been stirring up headlines worldwide mainly because of the Wii strap related incidents, and the Japanese safety manual covers everything. It's packed with comically rendered pictures of housewives whacking their husbands around the head with controllers, Wii-motes stuck halfway down a child's throats, and people injuring themselves in a variety of outlandish ways. Do a quick internet search yourself and see if you can find some pictures!

While the Nintendo Wii is undoubtedly the most popular new gaming system in Japan, the PlayStation 3 does come in as a close second. Some sources on the web believe that the PS3 does actually sell better, but it's hard to say for sure. Certainly, the new interactive features are a draw for Japanese people, who are always searching for something new to enhance their gaming experience.

For more information on the Nintendo Wii try visiting www.andallconsoles.com, a popular games console website that provides console news, tips, and game reviews for the Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

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