Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Seattle, Part the First (written on 4/1)

I'm sitting in the Seattle airport waiting for a delayed flight (oxymoron), and golly I'm just starting to process everything that happened these past couple of days. Off the bat I need to thank a few of my Princess Peach group/bus 1 buddies, who gave me a place to sit at lunch: Jenny, of She Likes Purple; Amy of Just a Titch; and Kate of La Petite Chic. Dolls, every single one of them.

There's a reason that penultimate sentence sounded something like a nerdy 7th grader wrote it; in some ways, the visit to Nintendo's headquarters was like a school field trip. There were over a hundred bloggers (which I heard one of my colleagues refer to as "a herd of cats"), the security was inscrutably tight, and we all had to be accounted for at all times and even escorted to the potty when the need arose. On the other hand, the wonders that we beheld while inside the Nintendo campus were made all the more alluring by their very elite-ness.

We weren't allowed to take any pictures, except in the conference room, where I took these photos:

That, friends, is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Nintendo of America. Let no one accuse me of name dropping, though. (Because I don't remember his name...okay, Google says Reggie Fils-Aime.)

Here are some of the Official (Sanctioned) Photos from the group flickr stream. Can you find me? Hint, I'm wearing a green jacket:

Reggie kicked off the day with some info about Nintendo's brand-new 3DS handheld system—which includes some truly stunning glasses-free 3D and "augmented reality" technology*—and a brief Q&A. I have to give him (and Nintendo) props: The president of Nintendo of America announced, unequivocally, that based on independent research they've studied, Nintendo recommends that children under the age of 7 should not view 3D images.

*I'll get into more details about the Nintendo 3DS in another post

As a parent, there's almost nothing more Nintendo could do to win my loyalty than very publicly endorsing a child-safety recommendation that could potentially hurt its bottom line. With all the 3D movies out lately—particularly kids' movies—I had never heard any recommendations from the film industry against bringing children under the age of 7 to 3D movies. At any rate, the 3DS comes with a number of parental controls, including one that prohibits the 3D function if a young child will be playing with the system.

After the meet and greet, we broke into small groups to play a number of 3DS games throughout the day (including an unreleased Kid Icarus: Uprising, which was literally chained to the table). Finally, we were given a tour of the campus.

Guys, I'm not much of a photographer, but it really pains me that taking pictures was prohibited. The building is spectacular. It's LEED gold certified, includes a 75,000-square-foot living roof, beautiful interior design elements (they even have really cool modern furniture in the shape of the D pad, the plus-sign control on old-school controllers), a mini museum of arcade games and awards, and a fantastic mural tracking the development of four major Nintendo characters (SamusMarioDonkey Kong and Link) from inception to their present-day iterations.

Confession: Aside from the fact that I'm a Nintendo brand ambassador, I've never been big into video games. The Nintendo campus, however, compelled me to care about the industry and its history. Apparently Nintendo fosters a culture that makes people want to stick around; a surprisingly large percentage of employees has been there 10 years or more. The campus includes a soccer field, volleyball court and basketball court, and the cafe even offers a daily healthful option at a very low price, since the company subsidizes it.

Finally, we finished our tour with a stop at the employee gift shop, which is basically the mecca for 10-year-old boys and anyone who even occasionally thinks like a 10-year-old boy (I count myself among that group). With a $20 gift certificate we were all given, plus a little extra of my own cash, I bought three reusable Nintendo bags...

a keychain...

a t-shirt for Noah...

a cap for my brother...

and some Nintendo candy for Ethan (sorry, twas eaten long ago).

After refreshing ourselves on a deliciously stocked snack buffet, we fat and happy ambassadors were each given our very own Nintendo 3DS. Mine is aqua.


To be continued...


Amy --- Just A Titch said...

You can sit at my table ANY TIME. So glad I got to meet you! xo

Julia said...

I'm three shades of green with envy. That aqua--too cool! Did they explain why the 3D disclaimer for under 7? It would be interesting to know how they relate it to childhood development.

stephanie said...

if we ever get to meet, can you bring your nintendo 3ds? sweet.

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