Nintendo - nurturing addictive behavior since 1985.

If you've seen the commercials lately, you may have noticed that Nintendo is trying to turn girls into "gamers". When I happened to look through my junk email and found an invitation to host a Nintendo party for ladies only, I was intrigued. When they mentioned that it included free electronics for me and all my friends, I didn't hesitate.

Dangling the proverbial electronic carrot was a marketing firm (www.brandabouttown.com) who had read my blog and decided I was the perfect demographic for this marketing experiment.

Their invitation stroked my ego gently, applauding my coolness, and suggesting that I must have a wide range of influence over my friends. Because a party sounded like fun to me, I did not correct them.

I must start out by saying that, once upon a time, I gave 2 years of my life to a dark world of Super Mario Brothers, Tetris, and speed. Imagine a young me, living at home, an unemployed, unshowered tweaker on a 3-day Mario bender. Not unlike this:

On one such day, my sister walked into my room and quietly observed me playing my one-hundred-thousandth game of Tetris. I was doing that weird thing that people on drugs do with their mouths (we called it 'eating invisible sandwiches') and thumbing the controller violently. Scrutinizing my deranged state, my sister said simply, "Are you serious?"

Not too long after that, my mother hid the controllers from me (only back then they were called "paddles") and demanded that I get a job. With that, my extended bout of loserdom came to an end.

Today, I am a model citizen. I haven't done drugs in many, many years, and my Nintendo habit has long been kicked. Until now.

So my job as party hostess was to gather up to 30 of my closest female friends and invite them to my 'Girlfriends Guide to Gaming' party. I had to employ the assistance of my friend Tawnia to round up some bodies, because, contrary to what I let the marketing folks believe, I have only a handful of girlfriends. And like me, they are all agoraphobic. But between Tawnia and myself, we were able to round up a very nice bunch of ladies, all lured by the promise of a free Nintendo DS.

The event was held in a cool little loft-type space downtown, which was thoughtfully decorated and stocked with ample food and beverages. Upon walking through the door, each guest was provided with a gold charm bracelet. The room was divided into 4 stations, each featuring a different Nintendo DS game. We were instructed by the lovely assistants how to play each game, and upon completing a round or two at each station, you were given a charm. Once you had collected all four charms, a shiny, new Nintendo DS was yours to take home. Make no mistake about it, it is their hope to turn all of us women into video game addicts. Fait accompli.

It was a lovely, stress-free soiree, completely planned and orchestrated by the Nintendo/marketing reps. So pleasant was my party, that I won't even begrudge them the fact that this happened downtown during a bloody Padres game, and the traffic made me want to go home and hide under the bed.

I am not under any obligation to promote or blog about Nintendo, but I am now considered an "enthusiast." And as an enthusiast, I do hope I get more free gadgets and accessories sent to me. Otherwise I'll have to score them on the streets.

To see all the pictures from the party, click here.