Everybody Votes

Everybody Votes Channel title screen.

Everybody Votes Channel was one of the many different channels available on the Wii, and must be downloaded by the player through the Wii Shop Channel (for free). In the channel, you'll be given the chance to vote in a poll that only contains two answers. The polls are typically just for fun and are usually not related to Nintendo video games, such as "How tall would you say you are?" (with the answers being "average" or "above or below average"). After voting, the user will be allowed to chose which answer he or she thinks will receive the most votes, and after a set amount of time they can see if which answer became victorious. The user's score is permanently recorded.


Early on in development, the channel was simply called the "Questionnaire Channel", and would serve the purpose of simply sending out daily questions to owners of the Wii. Another name they considered was "Citizens Votes Channel". However, as development progressed, they thought that they should create the program so that it's different from the many voting websites. They felt it was appropriate to stray away from asking questions that some people may not understand, such as asking whether the player likes Mario or Link better, simply because some people who did not play games prior to the Wii might not understand the question. During development they added the "How Tuned In Are You?" feature, which was originally called the "Understanding of Common Sense Graph", though changed it to sound more appealing and casual. When they added it, the designer who would be required to implement it thought that development was almost finished, and was slightly disappointed. In retrospect, however, he mentions that this feature made the overall experience better.

During the creation of the game, the developers knew that players would want to vote using a caricature of themselves, and originally had sketched faces that they would use. However, they eventually decided on using Miis, which at the time they were also developing. At first just a Mii's head would be displayed, but since they took note of how people enjoyed to watch Miis walk around, they decided to use the entire body of a Mii.

On the first day it was released, it wasn't formally announced and thus they didn't expect many people to vote on the poll. It was released in such a way so that they could see if it was working appropriately, and were reportedly shocked by the end of the poll to see that over half of a million people voted, with 100,000 alone coming from Japan. They stated that because a user can only vote once, it gave the number more meaning whereas a user online can vote multiple times in a typical online poll (and even if you're not allowed to, people can bypass this rule with proxies). One of the developers of the program was impressed by the results of the first Japanese poll asking "Which do you like, udon or soba?". By the end of the poll, the map of Japan was divided in half, with the lower half liking soba and the upper half liking udon (note: this poll was not released elsewhere). According to the developers, within the first day they received 40,000 poll suggestions (10,000 of them coming from Japan alone). In Germany, the developers encountered a problem where the lines were longer due to the words being longer, thus making it span two lines instead of one. They eventually managed to sort the situation out.

In America, the first poll was supposed to ask whether or not the user can whistle, but a day before the poll launched Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime requested that it be changed to "which is a more romantic Valentine's Gift - Chocolates or roses?". The developers were reluctant since it was just a day before its release, though after hearing that the president requested it, they went straight to work. On the day of the channel's release, Nintendo of America sent out cards to the press asking the question accompanied by three Nintendo of America employees who each gave their answer (each one a different reply, with one of them being chocolate roses, which was not a possible answer in the poll).

The first global poll asked the question "which do you prefer - dogs or cats?" It was a colossal success, and according to the developers some of the countries that you normally wouldn't talk about got brought up in conversations, specifically the Republic of Guatemala, which was at the top of the poll when it came to people who liked dogs. According to them, only 62 people from that country voted, but it showed just how widespread the Wii was in that it was being played by people in countries where you wouldn't typically find a video game system.

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