Nintendo all grown up?

Japan’s Nintendo built its reputation on cheery games for children. But seeking a bigger chunk of the adult market, the purveyors of the Mario Bros. series and Pokemon are adding zombies, strippers and gunmen to the menu, the Wall Street Journal reports. It’s a shift in resources that carries some risk. The keep-it-clean approach has made Nintendo one of the few good guys in an industry criticized for violence, the Journal notes. And that has translated into big bucks. “In his 21-year life as a game character, Super Mario has grossed more money globally — $7 billion in software sales — than the combined take of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson at box offices around the world.” But times change. Fearing erosion in market share thanks to Sony and Microsoft, Nintendo over the next two months will spend $140 million to market videogames to American teens and 20-somethings, including promotions in nightclubs and tie-ins with brewer Heineken NV and others. New games will be edgier, sexier and more violent.

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