Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Op-Ed: I Wii. And You?


Illustration by Jeremy Schlangen

By John Zuarino


Several weeks ago, beefheads and the socially awkward camped out at the Toys "R" Us in Times Square for the Nintendo Wii release. With its odd name and especially phallic controller, one wonders if Nintendo has finally created the gayest video game console ever. Given the hetero-normative sociological expectations in video gaming, the idea of men waving phallic motion-sensing controllers at each other can be somewhat unsettling to most gamers.

I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing. When the company announced back in April that they would name the console "Wii" instead of the originally intended "Revolution," millions were outraged. "Gay," said one Japanese publisher. "Sorry if that offended. I hate using that word in the pejorative sense, but it totally applies this time. …Joe Schmo from middle America can't say 'Wii' with a straight face, whereas he has no trouble saying '360' or 'PS3.'"

Honestly, I can't keep a straight face saying any of the three names. Saying "I want a 360" and "how 'bout that PS3" just creeps me out. But 'Wii' has a bit of a ring to it. Not only does it embody the onomatopoeic equivalency of the word "fun," it also says something sexy about the machine. "I want a Wii" and "how bout that 'Wii?'" just roll off your tongue, and make you tingle in all the right places. It's no surprise that gamers started a petition to force Nintendo to change the name.

Even more amazing is the slew of reports that players have been accidentally throwing their Wii remotes through their TVs and even in each other's faces. Have you ever heard that saying—that homophobia stems from self-hatred? Well, just imagine sitting with a group of frat boys jamming their six-inch Wii phalluses in each other's faces during a game of Mario Bowling, and you'll get the idea. Follow the debauchery of crushing beer cans on your head with a long night of trading Wii blows, and you've got a deal!

At Towleroad.com, the "blog with homosexual tendencies," contributor Andy writes, "Part of the fun of the Wii is designing your own character, called a Mii. You start with a head shape and add from dozens of features until your character is created. Of course, this ultimately turned into an incredibly amusing diversion. As you can see, it wasn't long before our friend Martin's journey into cyber-drag resulted in the character below." Andy refers to a Mii character resembling a coked-out circuit boy one would find on the dance floor at the nightclub Heaven. "When hooked up to WiFi, you can send your Miis over the internet to participate in a parade on another user's Wii."

This Christmas, why not don your Link outfit and role-play with your partner over a Nintendo Wii? That's what I'll be doing, and I'll be sure to order the purple silicone skin from eBay to slip over my Wii for that extra effect while I swordfight with my bros.

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