Nintendo Brings in Sand, Steel Drums for Tropical Game Launch

To introduce Sports Resort, the latest title for its Wii console, Nintendo turned Military Island into a tropical arcade.

By Michael O'Connell July 27, 2009, 3:47 PM EDT

Gamers at Nintendo's Times Square island

Photo: John Minchillo for BizBash

Wii Sports Resort Times Square
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With well over 400 titles available for its Wii console since it hit the market almost three years ago, Nintendo understandably doesn't introduce each game with a great deal of fanfare. But when the brand saw a synergy of communal playing and the potential for thematic decor in its newest release, Sports Resort, the marketing team decided to launch the game with a Times Square incarnation of its fictional island setting last Thursday.

“The idea of creating an island within an island and all of the added public space from Broadway now being closed really made us want to do this,” said Nintendo of America product marketing manager Bill Trinen. “Wii is a social experience, and what we saw with the first Wii Sports was that it really brought people together. Anytime we're lucky enough to have something like that, we take the opportunity to put the games in people's hands so they can experience them together.”

Plenty of hands had the chance to find Wii controllers at the event. Nintendo worked with USMP, the events division of the Marketing Arm, to set up a cluster of gaming stations on Military Island, which included 13 televisions hooked up to the multiplayer game. Hundreds of tourists and commuters lured by the tons of sand, steel drum band, and looming Nintendo logo stopped by to play between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.—or just to sit in the complimentary lounge chairs by the temporary fountain. 

To encourage maximum participation, event staff passed out tickets to everyone who played a game. Tickets could be redeemed at a concession stand for complimentary virgin daiquiris and piña coladas.

Though it was the biggest push for the new title, the island was not the only location where Nintendo plans to get the game into consumers' hands this summer. There are gaming stations planned for dozens of state and county fairs across the country, and as part of the brand's longstanding relationship with Six Flags amusement parks, all of its locations will also host Sports Resort booths over the coming months.

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