James O'Neill's Blog

May 2, 2006

Who’s taking the Wii ?

Filed under: General musings — jamesone111 @ 12:30 pm

Back in the 1990s when I was working for a Microsoft partner I read Douglas Coupland’s novel “Microserfs”  The story starts inside Microsoft, and the narrator talks about hanging with the cool guys at Nintendo on the other side of I520 from his building. When I visited Microsoft campus for the first time, I was surprised when our approach into campus brought us past Nintendo.

I was thinking of Microserfs when reading  a recent article of Robert Scoble’s.   In passing he mentioned his frustration with product names.
why do we make cool names like “Sparkle” lame by changing that to “Expression Interactive Designer?”)
And UMPCs [are] another lame name for “Origami’s”

Code names are usually cool, release names less frequently so. “Tahoe” was cooler than “Sharepoint Portal Server”, Hotmail is a better name than “Windows Live Mail”, “Exchange” is a decent name “Live communications server” isn’t. Vista breaks a tradition of Windows versions having lame names. Sadly no one told Redmond that in British English you can’t call a product “One care“… any more than Mr and Mrs Kerr would name a son “Wayne”. Mitsubishi had the same problem when they called an SUV the Pajero – it means the same thing in Spanish (although the similar and more widely told story of the “Nova” is an urban legend.) Joining the list of strange name choices we have the once cool Nintendo, whose new console is called the Wii. Ok, Ok: “Oui !” in French is “Yes!”, “We” is a nice inclusive “all of us”, “Wee”, especially in Scots English is cute or small. “Weeeee” is the kind of thing we shout whizzing down slides. All good stuff, but did they miss its more lavatorial connotation. I mean:

“Did you go for an X-box or a Playstation ? “
“Neither, I went for a Wii”

“OK your friend can come round and play”
“Thanks mum, can he bring his wii ? ”

“What would you like to purchase sir ?”
“Can I have a Wii please” ? 

“Stock levels are too high in the games section”
“Yes we have a lot of wii on our hands”

And before anyone from Ninteno asks, no, I’m not a one-care evangelist.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.


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