What happened to the Queen’s Golden Wii?

What happened to the Queen’s Golden Wii?


In mid-2009, a gold-plated Nintendo Wii was
sent to the actual Queen of England as a gift. Well, I say as a gift… in truth, this was
part of a marketing strategy for a title you won’t have heard of, called Big Family Games. It was a bit like Wii Sports, I suppose, but
instead of focusing on your more mainstream activities like tennis or bowling, publisher THQ made the arguably braver decision of putting together a minigame collection featuring the likes
of Horseshoes, Horseshoes with boats, and everybody’s favourite, throwing horseshoes near chickens to get them to move in a certain direction. [mumbles] This really isn’t very good, is it? With interest in the game seeming a little
muted ahead of its release, THQ decided to do what all truly great video game publishers must in moments such as these and they manufactured an entirely superfluous reason for people
to talk about the game anyway. But how’d the Queen get involved? Well, about a year or so before this point,
there was an article from The Sunday People, which is a tabloid in the UK. And it quoted its anonymous source within the palace who claimed that Queen Elizabeth II, the head of the Commonwealth, bloody loved a go on Wii Bowling. Well, thought the team at THQ, wait until
she finds out about Horseshoes. Here’s a press release they sent out in 2009, entitled ‘Wii are not amused’: And of course, this made headlines. As they say at Eurogamer where I used to work,
it’s a solid Friday story. You can give it a daft headline, throw in
a decent pun like ‘The Royal Wii’, and THQ had even provided a picture
of the console sitting on a velvet cushion. This stuff basically writes itself. A successful PR stunt this may have been,
but it’s also a little bit of a fib. You see, this most extravagant of consoles
never actually reached Queen Liz. Why not? Well, because you can’t just send stuff to the Queen of England. Actually, you can, but it has to go through her official Correspondence Team first, before it ever reaches her, and they have a fairly strict policy when
it comes to gifts, which is: it doesn’t matter what it is, for security reasons, the
palace will not accept it. That policy does not change even if your
gift is gold-plated, as THQ discovered. They did stick to their word, I’m told,
and sent the console to Buckingham Palace. But when it arrived the palace refused to sign for it. And so, if the Queen does indeed enjoy the odd game
of Wii Sports, as the tabloids suggest, she’s likely playing with a grubby original
model just like the rest of us. [Queen’s voice] Very unwieldy. And so, because it’s almost Christmas and we don’t feel like doing a particularly serious video right now. We’re here to ask the following question:
what happened to the Queen’s golden Wii? Well, I say it’s almost Christmas. We’re actually a little bit past that at this point. Yeah, the next part of the video requires us to get on a plane and last time we tried to do that, Well, this happened. All flights in and out of Gatwick, Britain’s second busiest airport, have been suspended after two drones were seen flying near the runway. So, yep, let’s give that another go. Right, so the first thing we need to establish is: what happened to the Golden Wii once it left Buckingham Palace. As you may already know, THQ went bankrupt a few years after this actually happened, so there’s no longer a point of contact for the publisher who we can talk to, but we’re not going to let that stop us. Are we Anni? If we go back to that press release from 2009, we can see that it mentions a woman called Danielle Robinson. She was one of THQ’s product managers at the time. I got in touch with her a few weeks ago, asking if she wanted to be a part of this video, and, well, she politely declined, explaining that it had been about ten years since any of this happened and that she didn’t have much to say. Anyway, I did end up chatting with several other THQ employees instead and although I wouldn’t say I was greeted with quite the same level of enthusiasm I have for this story, we did start getting some answers. It turns out, after the palace declined to accept it, the Wii was sent back to one of THQ’s offices and there it would stay. As far as the world knew, Her Majesty was now the proud owner of a golden Nintendo Wii, to match her golden piano. And isn’t that a dream worth protecting and also, let’s be honest, it’d be kinda embarrassing to send out a second press release explaining that the Royal Family had, in fact, turned away THQ’s golden gift. And so for the next three years, that was that really. Right up until the moment in which THQ went bankrupt in December of 2012. Around this point the details get a little bit more hazy. Nobody I’ve spoken to seems to know what happened to the Wii during this period. But after another five years, it does show up again. This time it’s in the possession of a man known online as Dan2K0, a collector who specialises in developer hardware. That’s stuff that’s not usually available to the public. He’s acquired the golden Wii, along with a another few bits and pieces belonging to THQ from a contact of his. And he is looking to sell it. But who even buys something like that? It’s not exactly going to be cheap, is it? I suppose you’d just need to be the type of person who’s really, really into collecting consoles. So much so that you, I don’t know, created your own website called consolevariations.com, where you and like-minded collectors would catalogue the world’s many different types of console and and colours of consoles, and I guess there’s also a decent chance your name would be Donny and you’d live in the Netherlands too. So, it’s a good job that’s where we’re going. Okay, so we’ve come to Utrecht in the Netherlands to meet a man about a golden Nintendo. I think he lives here. So we’re going to do the thing where I knock on the door and really hope that it’s the right house. I’ll double up. Please be the right house. Hello Donny! How’s it going? Hey, nice to meet you. Come in, come in. Oh, thank you very much. Shall I take my shoes? This is Anni. Nice to meet you! Where is the golden Wii, I’m trying to… Okay, it might be in the first thing I should have looked at. Hey, you’ve got Big Family Games as well. I think you might be the only person in the world that displays Big Family Games in a case. Have you played it? Actually, no. We played it, well, I played it a little bit. It’s not great. Remarkably, Donny only began collecting consoles about six years ago after picking up a Gameboy at a flea market for five euros and has since then spent considerably more than that, as he aims to collect amongst other bits and pieces, one of every colour of every Nintendo system, from the Virtualboy to the Switch. Do you have a lot of games as well? I have a massive collection of… 35 games. You have 35 games. I have 35 games. How many consoles do you think you have? 280. Right, I’m seeing a slight disparity there. There are two different approaches to collecting as far as I can tell and Donny actually does a bit of both. The first approach is the one I just described: it’s quantitative. Usually, the collector will have set themselves a certain numerical goal like acquiring each of the 25 different coloured versions of the Nintendo 64 and then they work towards that target, picking up different items as they appear for the right price. To be honest, I’ve never quite understood this desire. You seem to either have it or you don’t, and I probably don’t. But the other approach, now that’s something I can get excited about: collecting items because of the stories they’re a part of. The Golden Wii is a great example of this. But meeting Donny made me realise something else. The origin of the console is kinda cynical, if truth be told. I highly doubt anyone at THQ ever believed that Queen Elizabeth II was going to accept their gift and I doubt many of the journalists who wrote about it thought that would be the case either. And that’s okay, it was a daft PR stunt to make people chuckle on their way to work and I’m sure it achieved that goal. But 10 years later, I think the golden Wii now means more than that. It’s become the prize at the end of a treasure hunt for Donny and the other collectors like him, who managed to track the console down after it disappeared for the best part of a decade. And now he keeps it on the top shelf of a display cabinet with a light that reflects the gold onto your face as you peer down for a closer look. The very act of collecting this object has given it value. I’m not talking about money, it was already gold-plated. But in 2009, this console was a PR stunt for a game that nobody was talking about and now, it’s more than that. As Donny will tell you himself, this is the console which nearly belonged to a queen. It’s the story, not the gold, that matters to him. And I think that’s great. We need people who care about stories to help preserve the history of video games because before too long the idea of buying a physical copy of something and popping it in a box that’s connected to your telly will seem embarrassingly old-fashioned. But I still want to remember that Panasonic once made a GameCube for Nintendo that was very shiny and could also play DVDs. I want to have a bash on the Virtual Boy and talk about just how ahead of its time it really was. I want to show people what my childhood was like, I guess. That’s often what collecting comes down to at its heart. Here’s what things were like when I was a kid. It was colourful and weird and there was loads of plastic. That’s a kind of story too, I suppose. A bigger one than the Queen’s golden Wii even, but it’s hard to see this many things wearing a Nintendo logo and not immediately grasp for your childhood memories. Anyway, here’s to the collectors amongst you. Oh and if any of you happen to come across the golden nunchuck from that original press release photo, do let Donny know. It disappeared at some point during all of this and I think he’d rather like the full set. I can’t believe we’ve chased this console across an ocean. This video was sponsored by Skillshare, an online learning community full of videos like this one I’ve just found about spray painting. [Immediate warnings about using spray paint without safety equipment] If you don’t have a ventilator either, there are hundreds of other classes to take a look at with a Premium Membership costing $10 per month. One that we thought was kind of cool is this: an introduction to Motion Graphics with Kurzgesagt. And if you’ve been around on this channel for a while now, you’ll know we love their work, despite the fact that I can’t say their name correctly. I just can’t. I’m from Stoke-on-Trent, I’m sorry. I don’t say a lot of things correctly. Anyway, if you go this link right here and you can find it in the video description as well, the first 500 people to sign up will get a free subscription for 2 months to Skillshare. And that’s that. Thank you for watching and we hope you’ve had a lovely start to 2019 so far. We’ve got some exciting plans for the channel this year and we can’t wait to share some of them real soon. Alright. Good. See you soon. Bye. He got a slider, didn’t he?

100 Comments

  1. Hey, you know that bit where we sent the Queen a copy of Gavin & Stacey on DVD? A month later, we just received an official response from Buckingham Palace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuKpcdsYXwQ

  2. When the Queen heard they weren't gonna bestow to her, her own Golden Wii, she went ninja style on them and managed to get the Nunchuck. But the traitor bastards managed to get away with the rest. One of her soldiers stands on guard with the golden nunchuck and a regular wii sword. ;(

  3. LOVE the production value you put into your videos, the fact that you actually traveled to the Netherlands to meet this guy gives your channel such a breath of fresh air to the usual of someone talking into a mic with archive footage or a skype call over the top! Keep it up!!

  4. Maybe because she was not interested in video games and sold it on ebay for 23 "pounds" we call money pounds here in the uk

  5. great video but I hate the background music. theres a part in it that sounds like an iphone ringtone which throws me off all of the time. sorry for sounding so angry lol

  6. The same thing that happened to every other Wii. They spent a night or two bowling on it and then never touched it again.

  7. It ain't a mock if they really are mocking

    This guy a click bait

    How can a powerful leader of a great nation be ignorant to every shit

    I guess your the real ignorant one about nukes

    She could send thousands of troops and nuke on your way

  8. Its probably somewhere in the royal cellar somewhere near the moloch alter along with the children awaiting their sacrifice.

  9. A friend of mine once worked at Windsor castle. He told me that the Queen keeps every gift she's ever received – notably in some large warehouses that hold rows and rows of gifts. I think this is common knowledge

  10. I didn't know about Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Nintendo Wii until I watched part of this video a few weeks ago.

    EDIT- 11:03 A.M.: finishes video 14 minutes later
    It's a shame that the Queen couldn't accept THQ's "gift". The Golden Wii looks cool!

  11. "its nearly christmas so we don't want to spent much time on this one"

    is most successful video on channel

    thats youtube

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