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Mario Brothers Take to the Skies

August 11, 1993|AMY HARMON

Interactive entertainment is coming to an airplane seat-back near you.

In its first foray into the bored-traveler market, Nintendo on Tuesday said it is working with Northwest Airlines and Hughes-Avicom International to provide video games, movies, in-flight shopping, CD audio and informational services to passengers.

Northwest has already installed a modified version of the video game giant's 16-bit Super Nintendo Entertainment System on the economy class seats of two jets and plans to have 20 in the air by the end of the year. Nintendo is also marketing the system to hotels and cruise ships.

Passengers will pay $4 an hour to play a video game such as Star Fox on a 4 1/2-inch video screen. The controls will be located in the armrests. Nintendo says it's not concerned by the age disparity between its traditional core customers (8- to 14-year-old boys) and the adult traveler.

"Our research shows that business travelers may tell their bosses they're working on laptops or making business calls," says Nintendo marketing Vice President Peter Main, "but what they really want to do is kick back and be entertained."

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