Pinal County resident Phil Chiaravelle’s house sounded like a bowling alley Thursday. And it sounded like a pool hall and a boxing ring.
That’s because Chiaravelle, who lives in Solera at Johnson Ranch, was host to a Nintendo Wii party. The party was the first in Arizona, and one of many the company has in the works to introduce Baby Boomers to the interactive gaming system.
Nintendo provided three plasma-screen televisions, plenty of food, and three Nintendo Wii consoles.
“My kids would tell you I’m one of the most stone-aged people but I just bowled a bodacious game,” said an excited Chiaravelle. “It’s easy to use; the directions are simple.”
Chiaravelle said he’d consider buying one of the $249 game consoles. Accessories and games cost extra.
Janet Braulio, Nintendo corporate affairs coordinator, said the game is intuitive and isn’t intimidating to the boomer set.
Featuring games such as golf, tennis, fishing and bowling, the gaming system isn’t your typical video game, Braulio said. The Wii works wirelessly as a hand-held controller transmits motion to a console. People have to actually move to play the games.
“People can pick it right up and play,” she said. “The reaction is extremely positive.”
Braulio said these parties are a “viral” marketing concept. Nintendo selects an ambassador who invites friends and family, and those who experience the Wii spread the word about it. Nintendo is having another party at Sun City at Anthem at Merrill Ranch today.
Jacque Petroulakis, spokeswoman for homebuilder of Solera and Anthem Merrill Ranch, said having the game tested at Pulte’s Del Webb communities is “a very good fit.”
“Baby Boomers want to continue to be more active than ever, and they always want to try new things,” she said. “Nintendo has found that their new Wii products are very social and something an active Baby Boomer would be interested in.”
That active lifestyle is something Janet and Bob Grogitsky embraced as they tried games such as bowling at the Wii party.
“I did a lot better compared to what I really do,” Janet Grogitsky said about her Wii bowling. “This is great. We need something to keep us busy and to keep us active. My grandkids would love it, too.”
In addition to playing a variety of already released games, residents of Solera at Johnson Ranch and Sun City at Anthem at Merrill Ranch tested out the a new game not being released until next year: Tiger Woods Golf 2008.
Craig Crandall, 25, came to the Wii party with his mother, Karen Guthrie. She thought the games were “awesome.”
“My mom’s never been into video games,” Crandall said as he watched his mother bowl a game on a Nintendo Wii. “I love it.”