Guest Column: What’s in a Name? Wii Wonder!


Probably more than William Shakespeare thought! Little did the famous playwright realize that his now immortal lines “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” would take on a totally new perspective in today’s world of gaming and its associated community. When Nintendo announced the Wii, there was a great deal of speculation behind the eccentric name – while some thought it had a Japanese meaning, others pondered over the pronunciation. After all, there is bound to be a certain amount of gossip when the most-awaited game of the year changes its name from a sedate Revolution to the more flamboyant Wii.

Contrary to popular belief, there’s no Japanese term coincident with the word Wii – Nintendo meant the name to be a W with two lower case i’s as a way of representing two people standing side by side, like players of the game. There’s also no Nintendo tagged on before the Wii – it’s just Wii – another first for the Japanese giant who chose the name since it is easy enough to remember on a global basis, as opposed to the longer revolution, with its larger number of syllables.

But no amount of explanation seemed to satisfy some ardent fans of the name “Revolution” – they’re still bummed out at the fact that Nintendo went with a dumb name that gives rise to all kinds of wee-wee related jokes. But not everyone’s complaining – the name certainly changed the fortunes of this young man who can now go around bragging that he’s the eponym for Nintendo’s newest offering – Wii Yatani, a graphic designer of Japanese origin who lives in downtown Manhattan also faced the teasing and jokes that the gaming console did, but he had learned to take things in his stride.

Little did he realize that he would have to thank his mother for her delay in picking a proper name for him 25 years back for the free publicity he’s earning today, thanks to the Wii’s immense popularity. His only regret is that he didn’t think to register the domain name, a move that would have made him many times a millionaire today! The game has made his name much easier to live with though, and has taught people to pronounce his name correctly.

The grumblings against the name have not yet died down, but Nintendo’s not complaining too much – after all, it’s not everyday that someone can ask for so much free publicity!


This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of the cosmetology scholarships. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com.

Thanks, Kelly!