Nintendo takes Game Boy Micro to the streets

Miniaturized handheld gets big-time public promotion in Japan to rope in nongamers 10 days prior to its release in the country.


TOKYO--With less than 10 days before the launch of the Game Boy Micro in Japan, Nintendo gave ordinary Joes a sneak peek at the diminutive handheld up close. Over the weekend, Nintendo showed off the Game Boy Micro in various major cities throughout the country to give the general public a chance to try the handheld before its release on September 13. GameSpot checked out one of the events at Shinjuku's Takashimaya, one of the largest department stores in Tokyo.

Nintendo held one of its GB Micro promotions right outside Takashimaya's entrance, a perfect location to get the attention of shoppers and pedestrians walking around the area. At 11:00 in the morning, Nintendo's booth at Takashimaya was already gathering a crowd of people who were lured by the old-fashioned 8-bit music blaring from speakers. The Nintendo employees on hand wore two-toned red and white costumes that were based on the Famicom's (Japanese NES) color scheme, and they each had two Game Boy Micros strapped to their necks. One of the Game Boy Micro units had Super Mario Bros. running, which looked stunningly crisp and clear despite the fact that the handheld is barely larger than a business card. The staff also had a Game Boy Micro running a stereo-sound video clip with a Play-Yan Micro. People who tried out both of them were given a commemorative notepad that mimics the Game Boy Micro's size and weight, printed with the handheld's release date and price.

Ever since Satoru Iwata inherited Hiroshi Yamauchi's position as the president of Nintendo, it's become the company's main objective to expand its consumer base to the non-gaming, general public. When Nintendo launched its DS in December, the company held a nationwide promotion, opening events throughout major cities and also launching promotions in the streets where pedestrians could try out the handheld. The Takashimaya event area for the Game Boy Micro was right near one of the locations where Nintendo held its promotion for the DS last December.

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