Nintendo misses the mark with their “I’m not a Gamer” campaign
I have to admit, I spend a portion of my free time watching reality TV that is aimed at women on channels like Lifetime, TLC and Bravo. It’s how I enjoy my downtime, with that all the advertising catered to that audience (women). Unfortunately, one of those commercials is the latest Nintendo 3DS campaign, “I’m not a gamer.” The two commercials are below and focus on Olympian Gabrielle Douglas and Dianna Agron from Glee. There may be more commercials, but those are the only ones I have seen.
According to a press release (that for some reason I still have in my mailbox) Gabrielle’s campaign is supposed to be focused on “Play as you are.” I remember reading the press release and the following line struck me as weird…
“..which is designed to show women and girls that you don’t need to be gamer to enjoy Nintendo 3DS.”
This is very disappointing on many levels. Nintendo has made AMAZING strides over the past 5-8 years to make gaming and specifically Nintendo gaming acceptable to all. They put the fun back in gaming and families everywhere were clamoring over a Nintendo Wii so their family could “play together.” Nintendo Wii’s simplified controls assisted with broadening the gaming base. Both Microsoft and Sony rushed to try and capitalize on the same magic.
So why in one swoop, would Nintendo undo all that great work to expand the gaming community, by advertising that being a gamer is a horrible thing? By specifically marketing to women with women saying that “they are not a gamer,” it brings back the stereotype that “gamer” is a bad thing. Fat, lazy, and males – that’s what gamers are. A woman who is accomplished could never be a gamer, but she will spend time with a 3DS. WHAT? Why do that? Nintendo had so much success being inclusive, that now they feel that being exclusive is a good thing?
If moms are watching these ads, how do you think they will feel about letting their daughters play video games? We’re telling the moms in this ad, that these successful women are NOT gamers, so they should make sure their daughters aren’t gamers either. We wouldn’t want them to be a part of a horrible stereotype. That in turn tells girls to not go into the Gaming Industry for a career because “being a gamer” is a negative thing. How can that be considered a career. The ripple effect of a lack of women in gaming only takes off from there.
The other problem I have with it is, these ads are specific to the 3DS, when the 3DSXL is out. So because these two women don’t consider themselves “gamers” and they aren’t “gaming” then they should purchase the older version of the hardware? It boggles my mind.
This is my opinion and not one of GamingAngels (I hope the staff does comment). This ad campaign has bothered me since it was announced and to see the commercials come to fruition, it’s even more insulting. In my opinion, anyone who plays any type of game is a gamer: Facebook, indie, phone, console, and PC. If you pass your free time with any type of “game,” you are a gamer. Sure there are levels of passion, and maybe all people that game won’t want to work in the industry, but they will have a respect for the industry, and that is what we are looking for.
I thought this was a good campaign. They're not saying gamers have negative connatation attached to them, they're just saying "Hey, I don't usually play games but this is great fun! Maybe it's not as lame as we thought it was!" Seriously, as a gaming community, we're pretty god damn up tight.
I was actually angry when saw this commercial. Somehow it made it sound like being a gamer is a bad thing but being an artist was commendable. Gamer is but one of the many adjectives I would use to describe myself. I am also a mother, wife, sister, programmer, avid reader, music lover, cat lover, history buff, podcaster, blogger and much, much more.
Also, I only saw the one commercial and never even thought anything of the fact that it portrayed a female. I didn't make that connection. It seemed to say that gamer=bad but artist=good and the fact she was female didn't even enter the equation for me.
Some of us know the truth. There is no shame in gaming. I laughed to myself when walking through the living room and my 19 year old daughter yelled to her 15 year old brother "Cover me! I'm reloading!' as the zombie swarms were approaching. Then I went and murdered some pixels myself ^^
OK, so I do get what they are trying to do...sharing that Nintendo is more than just "games". But, yeah, I do agree with you. It feeds to this stereotype that gaming and being a gamer is "bad". I have met many parents who don't like the term "gamer" and are even embarrassed that their child is a gamer. They are proud when their child is athletic (such as the gymnast) or proud when they are an artist (such as Dianna Agron), but not proud that their child that is a gamer. The ads are marketing to those parents so they can feel ok when their daughter (who might currently write or love to read books or cook or whatever is considered "good") says she wants a Nintendo 3DS.
What kind of gets me is that the first commercial...she is clearly playing a GAME. She is a GAMER. Is that everything about her? No, of course not. The second one...okay, maybe not a "gamer" if she's using it only to take photos and create art, but seriously, not many people own a Nintendo 3DS and never actually play game on it (I'm not familiar with the "Art Academy", so it may have a "game" aspect to it too).
I don't identify as a gamer, although by your definition I would be one. I guess that's why I don't get offended on feminist grounds by these two ads. I actually like the ads. And I'm usually fairly sensitive to gender issues. Your point of view is a big eye opener for me.