Kerry Hemingway Engl. 402.7 L. Sena October 19, 2009 The Corporate Rhetoric of Nintendo Introduction Nintendo is a corporation that has been around since the late 1800s and turned its production towards electronics in 1975. The company got its big break when it released the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1983. The release of the Super Mario Bros. game to go with the system made it a big hit with consumers’ world wide. Along with its first video game console, Nintendo released the handheld Gameboy in 1989, which would be the start of its popular handheld franchise. From there, Nintendo has gone on to upgrade and create new video game consoles and handhelds. For the most part, these upgrades were met with positive reactions from the public, especially the newest edition to the Nintendo family: the Nintendo Wii. Even in our present time, Nintendo is still a formidable video game developer who has recognition and respect all over the world. Layout The layout for the Nintendo Corporation’s web site has never been one of my favorites. The home page for the English site found at http://www.nintendo.com/ is cluttered with pictures. For example, the entire page is on a white background with screenshots and images of their products covering the page. There are two big pictures of the Nintendo Wii and the Nintendo DSi that serve as links for the two consoles. Then, there are two long pictures advertising the games right underneath those. If you scroll down from there, you’ll see screenshots from DSi and Wii games and there are even more images below that. The effect is that the eye wanders all over the page, not really sure what it should be settling on. It is really overwhelming and for a company that prides itself on being creative and making their customer’s experience enjoyable, this web site layout is pretty disappointing. Use of Images There is no lack of images on the Nintendo Corporation’s web site. In fact, on most of the pages on the site there are far more images than text. For example, if you go to the Nintendo DS page at http://www.nintendo.com/ds, you will see that almost all of the words are used as links. The images themselves present an interesting rhetoric, clearly showing that the company believes that the DS is for children. For example, the picture on the DS banner at the top of the page shows a young boy smiling at his black Nintendo DS as he plays it. In addition to this, the screenshots and games that are featured on the page all show childish graphics and child friendly titles. There seem to be no teen rated titles featured and certainly no mature ratings either. The strategy here is to be as kid and parent friendly as possible so that this prospective audience is much more likely to buy. The Wii page uses images in a very similar fashion, which can be viewed at http://www.nintendo.com/wii. First off, the banner on the top of this page also features children who are playing with the Wii remotes and their expressions show that they are having a good time doing it. Most of the pictures on this page showing people also focus on children and teens, with the exception of the adults depicted on the “Wii Fit” box art. The screenshots and games featured on this page are also all geared towards kids and teens with two exceptions. On the very bottom of the page, there is a screenshot from a “Silent Hill” game, which is a horror genre game. Along with that, there is a picture of two basketball players competing in a sports title that looks a little more adult then the other games featured on the page. The placement of these images is interesting because they are at the very bottom of the page and it is almost as if Nintendo does not want their consumers seeing them. This may be because they do not want to detract from the child friendly visual argument that they have constructed so well on other pages. Overall, the images on the pages remain child oriented and it is very clear who their marketing audience is. Use of Text There is very little text to be found on any of the pages. However, there are some rhetorical details that can be discerned from the text that is there. One interesting point is how small the text is on all of the pages, except when the text is supposed to be giving the user instructions. The Nintendo Corporation clearly wants its instructions to be legible and simplistic for its customers. An example of this can be found on the “What is Wii?” page (http://www.nintendo.com/wii/what) where they give a short explanation of what a Wii is next to a picture of the console. The font is noticeably bigger than any of the previous text that is on the web site. However, it also seems like they do not care if their other text is read considering how small the size is. It almost seems to be placed on the site as an afterthought. The only significant text on the page seems to be the instructions for their products and their descriptions of the products themselves. On the “What is Wii?” page, they have a section trying to answer the question of why someone would want a Wii. The corporate rhetoric on this paragraph is quite humorous as Nintendo describes the Wii as something a person “experiences” and not just something that they play. Scroll down the page and the user will find a paragraph that elaborates on all of their big franchise characters that can only be played on the Wii. For example, when describing the games that the Wii can offer the consumer they say, “Wii offers legendary Nintendo franchises like Mario, Zelda and Metroid, as well as all new classics like Wii Sports and Wii Play.” By combining the older titles with the newer ones, Nintendo is clearly trying to please both the older fans and accumulate new ones by emphasizing the variety of games the Wii has to offer. This text is definitely part of their marketing strategy and it is interesting to see how their words appeal to both new and old gamers alike. Overall, Nintendo is not relying on text to back up their argument about their products. The text is very minimal on each of the pages and most of the words are just there to serve as links. Very little content is provided through the text, leaving more room for pictures and screenshots for all of the pages. Visual Argument If a person visits the Nintendo web site, they are immediately surrounded by screenshots from games, pictures of game systems and kids playing their products. There seem to be two purposes behind the use of all these images. The first is that Nintendo has a reputation for being a family friendly company. Some critics claim that this stereotype has hurt Nintendo’s sales in the past and that the company has been trying to shake off their family friendly label. However, when compared to other video game developers like Sony and Microsoft, it is clear that their games are focused on mature audiences and there is very little there for a younger gamer. Therefore, Nintendo basically has a monopoly on games for the younger gaming audience and they are taking advantage of it. By showing all these innocent looking screenshots from their games, they are simply promoting their reputation as a family friendly gaming company. To go along with this, the company also wants to assuage parents’ worries about what their children are playing. When they see all these cute screenshots from the games, along with kids having fun playing them, they feel more at ease about buying the product. Also, since Nintendo is selling their products to children they want to make the information about their games as simple as possible. Thus, they reduce their pages to a bunch of pretty pictures with few words to entice kids into buying a certain game based on its screenshots. Therefore, Nintendo’s use of pictures is all about promoting their family oriented gaming and all that games that are geared towards children. It is a sound strategy for them to follow since no other gaming company really appeals to the youngest generation of gamers. By doing this, Nintendo is most likely hoping that they will make new fans that will be faithful to Nintendo for the rest of their lives. Conclusion Nintendo’s web site shows their corporate rhetoric through plastering images all over their pages. The images are meant to simplify their rhetoric so that children who visit their web site see screenshots they like and go tell their parents about them so that they buy them the game. They want to show that their gaming systems are for families, unlike their competitors who market their products only to a particular age group. Although the web site layout leaves much to be desired and the load time can be a pain, the minimalism on the text and the emphasis on images makes sense for Nintendo’s marketing strategy. Overall, Nintendo’s corporate rhetoric is focused upon selling their products to children and their parents and they use their family friendly screenshots and pictures to prove their point. Works Cited Nintendo.com. Nintendo Corporation. 2009. Web. October 18, 2009. Wikipedia.org. Wikipedia the Free Encyclopedia. Web. October 18, 2009.
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