OPINION: Nintendo Turns on their Core Fans in Favor of Casual Fans? I’m Not a Gamer Ads

Friday, October 5th, 2012

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By


I’m a Hardcore Gamer Dammit!

The dispute between core Gamers and the casual ‘Gamers’ – yes I put that in quotations, because remember, as the ads tell us, they are NOT Gamers – has been going on around the internet world for a very long time.  Core Gamers have always been very adamant and defensive of their title as Gamers, and have often looked down upon the casual crowd and at times even refuted the notion of calling someone who plays Farmville – for example – a Gamer. Playing Facebook games does not make you a Gamer. Your hot, blonde girlfriend who plays Guitar Hero with you every now and then is NOT a Gamer! How dare those casuals declare themselves Gamers! Heathens!…and thus the pitchforks come out and the war begins.

Below is one of these ads:

The interesting twist to this scenario that has plagued the internet for a very long time is that Nintendo has embraced that mentality and has ran with it by recently launching an ad campaign that does exactly that; it differentiates the Gamers from the casuals! What is the result? More pitchforks and more flaming and more butt hurt people on both sides of the spectrum of the argument.

This baffles me in more ways than one! Wasn’t the whole notion of the beautiful woman playing video games and being a –gasp – girl Gamer impossible? Shouldn’t she be full of pimples and weighing in at 800 pounds? We all know there are no girls on the internet, much less very attractive ones! Or so the stereotype on the internet tends to portray women, and brand them this way if they ever touch a game, much less own a system.

So what exactly irritates Gamers about this ad campaign? Why is the notion of differentiating casuals from Gamers so appalling and so offensive? Better yet, is that truly why this huge backlash is occurring, or is it because Nintendo has somehow cast such a negative light upon being a Gamer? If we delve deeper into issue, the question then becomes “HAVE they truly cast a negative light upon the title Gamer, or are people blowing it out of context”?  Has Nintendo turned its back on the people who supported them before gaming in general became mainstream, or have they simply reached past their core fans and tried to reach out to another part of the market?

There are so many questions associated with this debate and this ad that it not only fascinates me as a writer, but also as a girl Gamer who has always been proud of the title of Gamer and proud of being able to keep up with my male colleagues when it came to discussions about the newest games and gadgets.

With the mission of finding out answers to these burning questions, I ventured out to the oprainfall team members, and asked them for their opinions on this issue. Each member expressed their opinions, and shed new light on the subject and controversy surrounding this ad campaign. (Stick around until the very end of the article on page 3 if you wish to be…amazed, insulted, and a little amused!)

First up is Ryan Tyner, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of oprainfall. He expressed the following opinion, which also touches upon the feeling of betrayal that this campaign has brought upon avid Gamers:

“I can see why Nintendo is doing this. Their money is not with the core gamers, it is with the casual gamers. It was not the core gamers that bought the majority of the 90 million Wiis out there. From a business perspective it makes perfect sense because they are targeting the majority of their audience with these ads. Personally though, I consider myself a gamer and I do not think there is  anything wrong with being a gamer. It is almost as if Nintendo is saying that being called a gamer is some kind of derogatory name. I read so you can call me a reader. I go to movies so you can call me a moviegoer. And yes I play games, so you can call me a gamer. 

It seems to me that Nintendo is becoming less and less the company for me, as a core gamer. I understand why they are doing it, they are following the money, and that’s fine. But I’m going to have to do my gaming elsewhere, where Gamers are accepted with open arms! I’m guessing that Sony or Microsoft will have a counter ad campaign with ” I am a gamer” or something similar. They would never insinuate it is not a good thing to be a gamer. I am a gamer Nintendo. You used to love me and I used to love you. There was a time where I never would have considered getting my gaming fix from another. What has happened?

The issue of betrayal has often permeated a lot of the arguments against this ad campaign. Gamers feel betrayed and marginalized by this push to bring in casual ‘Gamers’. Gamers went against the grain and put up with a lot of negative stereotyping – ‘World of Warcraft’ stereotype, anyone? – and continued to purchase games and support these companies when the mainstream society did not even bat an eyelash at their products.

Another interesting opinion is given by Kyle Emch, one of oprainfall’s seasoned writers:

“I don’t really think their ad campaign is insulting gamers in any way. Nintendo is still offering games for people like me in the core demographic (Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Pokemon White 2, etc.). I’ve got nothing against Nintendo wanting to get non-gamers to use their systems. I just don’t think it’ll work. Thing is, most casual gamers have already moved on to their tablets, smartphones, and to their Facebook accounts to get their gaming fix. I’m sure there are some couples out there that were convinced to play Mario through the Wii or the DS. But there are far more casual gamers out there that thought of the Wii (and still do) as the Wii Sports machine. Why would they want a Wii Sports machine when they already have a Wii Sports machine? Indeed, why would they want a 3DS when their smartphone or tablet can offer most of the same casual gaming experiences, if not more?”

Kyle’s stance in this argument is also very valid and interesting. The question here is whether or not this ad will even work, when other mediums catered to casual gamers already exist and are well utilized by the masses. Has Nintendo made a mistake by insulting the Gamers in favour of the casual ‘Gamers’, and will the casual ‘Gamers’ even be reeled in by this new campaign tactic?

More on Page 2

About Ceruleath Noreleth

Former Volunteer- A girlie gamer that likes long walks on the beach, vanilla flavoured ice cream and...I lie.

I collect weapons, I PWN newbies on CoD, and if I put as much time into studying as I have put into Video Gaming, I would have cured every disease in the books, and then some. I am a closet nerd, a gamer, and a fan of everything out of the ordinary. GET AT MEH! ';..;'


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  • The ad campaign is extremely  blown out of proportion and stupid, on the other hand I do think there is a distinct difference between Gamers and Casual Gamers in the same way that someone who only watches the super bowl (and nothing else) every year isn’t really a sports fan.

    • RyanOPR

      Nicely said

  • Kai

    worst

  • bulletproof3DS

    Haha Richard Ross…Good job. Really, aren’t people past trying to find ridiculous subliminal messages in things? lol

    Yeah, totally taken out of context. It’s not just “I’m not a gamer.” It’s “I’m not a gamer, I’m a coin collecting champion.” The words gamer and champion are being compared in the sentence. So when you play NSMB2, that makes you a champion, metaphorically. Different games make you feel like different things. This is why I like to play the games I do, where I get to be a hero. I’m not very strong in real life, so being a hero in a game feels good.

    And if they are targeting girls/women in this commercial, that’s kinda nice. I’m a female “gamer,” and it’s nice to know that Nintendo knows we exist lol.

  • OMG. I just saw the new 3DS ad and this smoking hot model (not gamer at all for sure) grabs a 3DS and says in front of the camera, “Im not just a gamer, Im also an artist”, and starts playing a drawing game in her 3DS.  What in the WORLD!! 🙂

    • RyanOPR

      “I’m not just a gamer” makes a lot more sense.

  • Totes agree with Richard Ross. I’m just too much of a wimp to say so myself.

  • I think it’s simply saying that you don’t HAVE to be a ‘gamer’ to enjoy these games. People are looking at it too much and taking too much out of it.

    •  Honestly, most of them are butthurt sonyers. They search for even the slightest nonsense in nintendo’s declaration’s/products and then go around bitching in forums like this. And if a nintendo fan really gets offended of a stupid less-than-a-minute add, then they should go see a psychologist.

  • I’m going to have to agree with what Jeff Neuenschwander said. This ad was supposed to convey the message that “I’m not a gamer, I’m X”, X being a title you get from the game you’re playing. Like with the upcoming Luigi’s Mansion game you could say “I’m not a gamer, I’m a ghost hunter” or (because I just watched the SMT4 trailer before reading this), “I’m not a gamer, I’m a demon-slaying samurai”. Nintendo is trying to reach out to everyone besides just the gamers because honestly, reaching out to everyone is a bigger number than reaching out to just the gamers.

    This was seriously blown out of proportion. If I didn’t read this article beforehand, I wouldn’t have thought anything of this commercial and moved on with my life.

    • Exactly. I saw one of these commercials before this whole thing exploded, and I never would have thought that it would be such  big deal.

    • Yeah, that’s how I see it as well.

    • Honestly, I play games, but I don’t even call myself a ‘Gamer.’  But that is just me, I’d rather not be labeled as something when it only pertains to an activity I do for fun in my spare time.

  • You mean there are people with Nintendo systems who aren’t gamers?  Impossible!  Seriously, though, I found these commercials to be a bit stupid, but Nintendo has done dumber things in the past.  Do these commercials mean they’re abandoning the core gaming crowd?  Heck, no.  They’ve just made a batch of commercials to appeal to the casual crowd, nothing more.  We can expect commercials catered for us (the core gamer), in the future.

    • RyanOPR

      I hope so. Most likely.

  • Nah I think the commercial was fine. Nowadays people get butthurt to easily

  • Yeah, the ad campaign blown out of proportion.  Good read.  

  • You mention that the ad campaign supposedly refutes stereotypes about girls who play video games (as I understood it).  In actuality the opposite is true–the ads *endorse* deep rooted stereotypes about gamers.  The message is, “NO, audience, I am NOT a gamer–I’m actually an attractive, young, thin, ‘girl next door’!”  The implication being, of course, that the two are mutually exclusive.  It almost treats “gamer” as an insult, especially if you’re a woman.  As a fairly sociable, attractive, young woman (if I may say so myself) who also plays A LOT of games, in a community that is already extremely sexist, I feel like at least *I* (and other women, and all other “atypical gamers” for that matter) have the right to say this ad campaign rubs me the wrong way.  Complete miss for Nintendo’s marketing team, at least when it comes to not totally pissing off the crowd you’re supposedly trying to win back.

    • RyanOPR

      She said, I’m not a gamer….I’m an olympic champion (or something to that effect)

      But yeah,she did say, I’m not a gamer.

  • This ad has been overly blown out of proportion. You know how I saw it? “The 3DS (and Nintendo products) are easy and fun to use, and you don’t need to be much into gaming culture to enjoy it (or other Nintendo Products)”

    • RyanOPR

      I think that in part is the problem many have with Nintendo. With the other systems, you do kind of have to be a gamer to enjoy them. They are just more suited towards gamers whereas Nintendo is more suited for the casual. From my perspective, I could careless about the ad. I just want the Nintendo I used to remember where they were all about core games and could care less about the casual crowd. I know, it’s never going to happen and they would be crazy as a company to abandon their main audience. But damn I miss that Nintendo.

    • They’d be wise to change direction now and go for their older more “hard core” audience, seeing as most casual gamers would rather buy cheap mobile games than an expensive 3DS. I can see Nintendo’s focus on a broader audience eventually leading to their downfall if they’re not careful.

  • all this casual & gamers shit is pure BS… those stupid “gamers” are nothing, they believe that just for playing some shit like assasins creed, battlefield or zelda they are superior beings that the ones who play angry birds… they are just posers, how can even feel betrayed when they haven´t played things like mother or sin & punishment? and then are those faggots who believe in games as a form of “art” just for shitty titles like shadow of the colossus lol

    & do you think this is the first time that nintendo focus on familiar games? look like the vast mayority of core gamers are just post-ps2 kids.

    but actually nintendo did turn away in his true fans for 2 generations, n64 and GC, they forget his familiar concept in order to do hardcore & kiddie shit with mediocre games like mario sunshine, thats why a lot of people abandon those consoles with no games (like ps3 lol)

    i dont have any problem to see a cute normalfag girl playing new super mario bros, actually is better than watching stupid commercials like those from EA about hardcore shit like dante´s inferno (srsly this game was terrible), i prefer thousand times better to see a model playing guitar hero or angry birds than a core gamer gurl playing shit like assasins creed or final fantasy, but a cute girl playing shin megami tensei would be awesome too <3

    •  You were quite…..agressive but I agree with you.

    • Kai

      lol

  • “”You see, I’m not a Gamer. I’m an Interactive Art Enthusiast. As a person who enjoys video games, I often find I am unwilling to call myself a gamer in public. This is not because I am ashamed of my greatest interest, quite the opposite; I’m tired of people making assumptions like “I spend all my time in internet cafes playing games like Battlefield 3 or World of Warcraft” once I proudly declare my hobby. Whether we like it or not, the word “Gamer” is stigmatized by a stereotypical picture of what that inclines.”
    “For the most part, I have no problem with Nintendo’s newest
    campaign. Their biggest customers in the last generation, both in
    handhelds and consoles, were casual Gamers. Even with Nintendo going
    after the core Gamer this time around, it would be foolish to not keep
    the casual audience they have. I think the intent on Nintendo of
    America’s part gets lost in all the arguing. I’m sure Nintendo wanted it
    to sound like you were being more than just a Gamer. However, people
    seem to be fixated on the second to last line, completely missing the
    payoff. If Nintendo does adjust it, might I suggest something: I am not
    JUST a Gamer. I believe this conveys what Nintendo wanted while not
    making it seem like the core is getting slapped in the face again.””

    Pretty much sums up how I feel.

    People just fixating one specific thing and completely misinterpreting something.

    The thing about Nintendo, is that they are trying to appeal to EVERYONE. Have a little something for each type of person.

    And they are succeeding IMHO.

    At least their consoles aren’t filled with ads COMPLETELY unrelated to gaming the moment your console boots up and is connected to the internet and make it hard to figure out how to even find game related stuff in the system menu and through the online store *Cough*360*Cough*

    Or continues to keep removing features from a console, or has a completely incompetent online store *Cough* Playstation*cough*

    From my point of view, despite using my PS3 more, Nintendo has done a FAR better job of focusing on just games and trying to make something for everyone. (Despite their lack luster and incompetent Online services. Though the Nintendo Network may change that.)

    So the reaction and amount of butthurt towards this ad is just silly and hilarious. And proves that many so called “True gamers” really are immature. Unable to stop and think for a second instead of hearing one line and just reacting with a knee jerk.

  • Bakuryukun

    I think it’s kind of being blown out of proportion by people…but to be honest I can see why people would be insulted by it. It’s kind of implying that being a gamer is bad, it’s essentially saying “Don’t worry guys, you can play games and still be a normal person” which is a great thing to tell people and all, but when you phrase it as “I’m not a gamer and I still play games” It’s kind of hard not to see that they are just reinforcing that the term of gamer is a bad thing that should be avoided by “normal” people.

    Really the way that I see it, that girl playing New Super Mario Bros. 2 is absolutely a gamer, so is anyone who plays games with ANY sort of regularity and the terms of hardcore and casual are kind of stupid. I think that the ads should have been more to that effect, though obviously not worded the way I said it. 

  • Eugene Ng

    That is a disgrace to the gamers, core or not.

  • Well, I don’t really feel offended. First of all, this hardcore and casual gaming thing is very subjective and stupid. While some people say that casual gaming is playing angry birds and all that stuff, others think that everything nintendo does is casual and shooters are hardcore. Given those stupid circumstances, I prefer to be called not a hardcore gamer or a casual gamer, but simply a guy that plays videogames for fun, not for pose. Being hardcore is not synonim of being tough or intelligent, just as casual isn’t for stupid or blonde.
    I play games as casual as Mario and as hardcore as Radiant Historia (betcha many people that call themselves hardcore do not even know of that great game) and I don’t give a fuck.

  • First comment on the site for me. Hooray. So anyway, I think this has nothing to do with dividing the core or casuals, but diving into the fantasy. So if they had modern warfare it would be I’m not a gamer, I’m a soldier. It felt like simply setting our immersion for the game rather than attacking gamers. Though nintendo could have framed it better if they wanted to.

    Also I’m not a gamer, but I am a little king.

    • TrollingForColumbine

      Actually, you’re a ******.

      Mod Edit: No need for name calling, let’s try and keep things friendly.

  • I can see why Nintendo would take this approach.  Sony and Microsoft, with their campaigns going “Nintendo has the bigger audience, but we have the gamers!” Or, “Nintendo has more gamers, but we have more _Core_ gamers!” Kind of falls flat when you think of those “core gamers” as obesity cases, leeching off their parents 24/7, keeping anime hug-pillows as girlfriends/boyfriends, and calling anything outside of their little dual-stick world “casual”.

    How do you tackle this problem?  Make a new campaign, to show that you can appreciate quality games without the rest of that putrid package, by declaring yourself NOT a gamer.

    P.S.: “Gamer” is still not a word, according to web-form dictionaries.  As I type this, little red squiggly lines invade left, right, and centre.

    We are not gamers.  We are the Dark Weres.

  • I love how the phrase “I’m not a gamer.” has been been taken out of context.

    • Richard Ross

      I totally think it’s being made into something that wasn’t meant to be and being looked into too much.  People need to chill out.

  • Honestly, how is this being taken as a step away from gamers?  It seems all Nintendo is doing is replacing the stigma of ‘Gamer’ with something more tasked focused that exists within a game.  The whole point is to glorify a particular action or achievement in a game so that it seems more real than just being in a video game.  

    In her example, she says ‘I’m not a gamer, I’m a coin collector.”  To me, it seems more about, like I said, glorifying a certain activity within a game.  Also, we all know that the word ‘gamer’ does come with a negative stigma attached to it.  I have no problem with trying to remove that from gaming and making it appeal to people in a different way.  

  • The thing that bothers me is why? Why is this even a big deal? Why are people making a big fuss over these ads? 

    There’s blowing things out of proportion and there’s just making things up. This falls under the latter.

  • Oscar Tong

    These commercials befuddle me. My emotional knee-jerk reaction to hearing Ms. Douglas and Ms. Agron declare, “I’m not a gamer,” is one of anger and indignation. Such words remind me of bullies who insult and belittle nerds, yet have the audacity to use the technology our kind invented, including video games.

    And yet, Ms. Douglas and Ms. Agron look so happy with their 3DSes and their applications. Combined with their following statements about the fun things their 3DS applications let them do, their words, intonation, and facial expressions suggest they are, not trying to belittle gamers, but expressing how much they’re enjoying a game system despite not being gamers themselves. I think that’s the point, but my strong initial reaction blinded me to it. I had to force myself to think really hard to comprehend what they really meant.

    I think “I’m not a gamer” is careless wording. Though succinct, it’s producing a sharp emotional reaction in many dedicated gamers, including me, disconnecting us from their real message: that everybody—dedicated gamers, casual gamers, and new gamers alike—can enjoy video games together. In my opinion, brevity must sometimes be counterbalanced with clarity of meaning. This is the commercials’ failing.