Ok, that headline may be a bit confrontational. Do me a favor and reserve judgement for a minute or two? Here’s a handy link to take you straight to the article that inspired it. Remember, as you read, that this article is time-stamped 6PM EST on December 16, 2014, and had a few hours later at 4AM EST. It doesn’t appear to be a holdover from 2008, although I’ll also admit to not searching the archives to verify. There’s enough wrong here on the face of it that there’s no need to go looking for more. So-
“Is Nintendo a safe Christmas present?” asks The Daily Mail in a headline that goes on to lead the reader in exactly the direction they want to send them. Epilepsy, stroke, and incontinence, oh my! I was going to buy my nephew a 2009-model Wii for Christmas, helpfully pictured after three single-sentenced paragraphs, but now I think I’ll go back to gifting the children on my list a more traditional hoop and stick, or dead rat, or whatever was popular in the glorious olden times that existed in the days before electronics and devil dance music corrupted our world into the scary death-soaked hellscape its become.
After the first few paragraphs explain the deadly plague of Nintendo sweeping the land, out comes the anecdotal evidence. Massive chest bleed (because a woman fell down), incontinence (because two kids refused to stop playing), hernia (moved wrong on Wii Fit), etc. The total number of medical issues topped out at 38. Seeing as the report is obviously reaching back over the last eight years the only possible conclusion is that giving “a Nintendo” is the single safest present one could possibly hope to give. “Safe” being not the same thing as “wanted”, though, because it’s not Christmas 2006 any more.
Mainstream press frequently has a problem with gaming, but it rarely fails quite as hard as this. It’s not just fearmongering, it’s fearmongering over a product people stopped buying a couple years ago while also somehow neglecting that all of video gaming doesn’t happen on a single console. The Daily Mail’s audience is scared old white people, many of whom were probably in their adult prime in the 80s and 90s when gaming platforms were referred to as “a Nintendo” even if Sega’s logo was sitting boldly on the front. Even so, video gaming is mainstream culture and it doesn’t take that much research to learn that the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are the consoles kids are hoping to find under the tree. Fortunately, the article does come with its own punchline buried in the fourth paragraph from the end-
“The researchers, led by Dr Maarten Jalink of the University of Groningen, said: ‘Overall, a Nintendo is a relatively safe Christmas present.”
So as it turns out, “a Nintendo” won’t kill you and everyone you love. Who knew?