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Beware the Wii zone

It's easy to do damage or get hurt with a Wii ... so when do the lawyers come?

NEW YORK ( -- Emergency rooms aren't fun, especially on Christmas Day. But that's where we were ... thanks to our new Wii.

Yes, I scored the hot video game system. It took some groveling and the help of some very nice people. And it was definitely a situation of who you know, not what you know. But I did pay some dues.

And my kids were thrilled. Heck, I was thrilled. It is a very fun system. Too fun. One daughter got a little over exuberant, slipped on the wood floor and hit her chin against a nearby stool. Blood splurted out and to the hospital we went. (In my day it would have been stitch time, but they have this great new Crazy Glue for skin now).

Injuries and the Wii are not uncommon. You'll recall Nintendo had to beef up the straps on the controllers because people were swinging them more forcefully than anticipated. The original straps would break, sending the controllers (or Wii-motes in gamer jargon) into TVs, furniture, ceiling fans, people, etc.

But accidents still happen. Just surf the Net. is full of Wii-violence videos. Stories are circulating through various Nintendo-related blogs. And there's a very fun Web site dedicated to the phenomena,

"We've seen an upturn in emails since people started opening up their Wiis for the holidays," said Jim Walsh, who started the site with two friends on Nov. 22.

And as more people play with their Wii post-Christmas, we'll see more damage and hear more tales, no doubt. Other than the strap issue, the Consumer Product Safety Commission hasn't seen any reports yet, according to a spokeswoman. But she noted it's a little early yet.

Should people blame Nintendo? No. Sure, the Wii encourages body movement and when bodies move, collisions happen. That's a fact in any sport or backyard game. And the Wii has constant reminders about safety and movement.

But should Nintendo worry? Maybe a little. Some folks have a problem taking responsibility for their actions. And lawyers love that. Also, if someone will go to the trouble of putting a finger into a bowl of chili in order to extort a restaurant, someone may try to stage an accident to extort a game company (Here's a funny video on that subject).

Well, the Wii is successful and a frivolous lawsuit or two is probably worth the price. It'd never be worth a "Wii-call." In the meantime, if you get a Wii, be careful.

And it used to be that you only had to worry about Nintendo-thumb.


Allen Wastler is Managing Editor of and appears on CNN's "In the Money." He can be emailed at Top of page