It seems that Nintendo really is speaking in riddles. At least, they are openly toying with us. A recent press release on the Nintendo press server reads thus:
The fourth quarter of 2006 will herald a new era for Nintendo with the launch of its remarkable new Wii™ home video game system. But that's not what this news item is about! How could that be, you ask? Perhaps the secret to the launch information for Wii is somehow encoded in the text of this news item. You might want to pore over it for a few hours before staying up all night to debate phraseology and comma placement with your friends online. Or maybe it's all just a scam to get you to read the other games we have launching this fall. One of the two. (...)Now, there are surprisingly few theories on the kind of code possibly used to hide a subtext in this press release.
For Nintendo GameCube™ owners, The Legend of Zelda®: Twilight Princess will be available for you this fall. An enhanced version also will be a launch title for Wii. That will all happen on … Oh look, we're out of space.
In fact, the only theory I found was courtesy of Gaming Target. Read for yourself:
The fourth quarter begins on October 1. Now look at the list. At least one game is released every Monday in the fourth quarter except for the following dates: October 2, November 20 and November 27.
November 27 is after Black Friday, so it's out. November 20 is after the launch of the PS3, so that's out too. That leaves us with October 2.
The Wii will launch on October 2, you read it here first.
They are right, all dates given are Mondays. However, their logic in discounting November 20th and 27th is not exactly elegant. For example, why wouldn´t it be Black Friday? That´s precisely the kind of day you would want to launch a console. And who said that Wii would definitely launch before the PlayStation3?
Also, how could the actual launch dates for those titles compose a riddle? Do you think Nintendo arranged the launch dates with regard to forming such a subtext when these games could actually have been launched earlier? That appears very doubtful. I am positive that we can discount this approach.
Now, I have tried a number of possible alternatives. In my mind, the strongest clue (if there really are clues here, at all) is to be found in the end. The text ends with the sentence ´Oh look, we're out of space.´ Now, these guys are free to write their press releases as long as needs be. How could they be out of space - unless there was some kind of significant limit? So, I checked the word count of the article and here´s what I came up with:
Word count: 320
Characters (without spaces): 1477
Characters (with spaces): 1783
Text without last sentence:
Word count: 308
Characters (without spaces): 1396
Characters (with spaces): 1691
Text without last sentence and headline:
Word count: 295
Characters (without spaces): 1337
Characters (with spaces): 1620
Though this is getting into splitting hairs, it´s worth noting that the character count on the pure article (i.e. without headline and last sentence) is 1337. This number usually signifies Leet, a simple code language, substituting alphanumerical characters with numerical ones.
But how could this be a clue? The entire text translated into Leet may be full of numbers, but they don´t appear to make any sense. So this approach must be discounted, too.
I also tried anagram software on some of the more suspicious sentences. But that didn´t help, either.
There is one much simpler approach, though. Simply check the text for blatant clues and the first two words of the text read ´the fourth´, which would relate to November. It may just be as simple as that.
The only other viable alternative is that there is no subtext in the statement. After considering all the theories above, this is the conclusion I invariably come to.
But I am sure there are people on the net with more ideas and more time on their hands. I am intrigued what people come up with in the next few days and weeks. Happy hunting, people.
EDIT Thanks to Jimmybald, we have another interesting theory. Here it is (spelling mistakes corrected):
Now, when you look at it, there may or may not be clues hidden in the text above.
4.Elite Beat Agents™
What do all these things have in common. EACH HAVE A ™ beside it. Ten in total when not counting the repeated words. So the tenth month is October. Now...
4.Children of Mana®
5.The Legend of Zelda®:
There is 5 ®'s.
We know Wii will launch in 2006, so ??.??.06
Now, its 10.05.06
Sources: Nintendo press server, Gaming Target
Thanks to: Raphael, Infendo