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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 00:54 GMT 01:54 UK
GameCube's wide appeal
Star Wars fans
Star Wars fans were eager for their Cube
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By Darren Waters
BBC News Online entertainment staff
line

As the GameCube goes on sale around Europe BBC News Online reports from the official launch in London.

It could not have worked better if Nintendo had planned it.

At the head of the queue for the honour to own the first Ninendo GameCube in the UK was a 19-year-old woman.

The stereotype of a games player is a spotty, teenaged boy with a sallow pallor and an aversion to exercise.

Sarah Dodd
Sarah Dodd: Nintendo's dream customer
But here was an attractive, exuberant woman who boasted an extensive collection of games consoles and, to the delight of PR staff, appeared to converse in "Nintendo speak".

"Nintendo make the most original, playable games," said Sarah Dodd, a student and part-time clerk.

"Their products are always high quality with a lot of depth to them."

And so on.

Studying for her A levels, she not only had a formidable console collection but also the skills to match.

"I've beaten everyone here at games," she said outside the HMV store on London's Oxford Street.

Escape

The downcast demeanour of the clutch of teenage gamers around her, only confirmed the fact.

A crowd of about 200 people had gathered outside the store hours before the official launch.

Entertained by characters from several Nintendo games, some fans had brought their own fancy dress.

One group of games fans came dressed as Star Wars characters, eager to get their hands on the game Rogue Squadron.

A few hours later, with her prize clutched tightly, Sarah Dodd had to negotiate a long series of press and TV interviews before she could finally escape.

Pikmin characters
Pikmin characters entertained those waiting
And she was desperate to leave because she was due to work on Friday and wanted to spend the early hours of the day with her prize.

"I don't think I could pretend to be sick. I'm working for lawyers in court tomorrow as a clerk and they would notice if they wasn't there," she said.

Female audience

The management at GameCube have been keen to sell the new machine as a toy for all and here was a customer to fulfill all the promises of its marketing campaign.

The publicity officers laughed when it was suggested Ms Dodd was a plant.

Joking aside, the 19-year-old is exactly the kind of customer all the key manufacturers are chasing.

The $20bn industry is already beginning to rival the film business but the female audience remains largely untapped.

Unsurprisingly, games that feature sport or mass slaughter apply to a narrow spectrum, often young and male, but that could all change if more customers like Sarah Dodd come forward.

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