A few weeks ago a invitation came in the mail that was extra special. I was invited to visit Nintendo Headquarters in Washington State with my two sons.
This blog has opened up incredible opportunities for myself and my family. But this one in particular, was the proverbial “Golden Ticket” for my boys.
Let me explain.
I’ve been a Nintendo Brand Ambassador for around a year now. We love our Wii U and we love our Nintendo DS units. These items are in constant use and constant play by all six members of our family. We are card carrying game-store membership geeks, rushing into local stores for special ops. There’s a change jar on our counter, designated to save for Nintendo games.
I can’t even watch TV without firing up the Wii U – my access portal to Amazon Movies and TV shows.
It’s safe to say we all love the the products, truly and authentically. But what I haven’t written about is how much we love the brand.
When my kids heard about the trip, they about jumped out of their skin with questions that surprisingly had little to do with Mario 3D Land and the gorgeous 3DS Galaxy Edition that they’d been sent. Which they all caps LOVED, of course. But for them, it’s really not just about the swag.
They wanted to know if they might get to meet any of the designers and developers that hold court as their personal heroes, and whether they would have the chance to preview and talk about eagerly awaited games like Pokemon Sun and Moon – the reason Nov 18th has a big red star on it, on our kitchen calendar.
Say the word Nintendo, and you are likely to get an earful of trivia from my sons. They can tell you what year the company was founded, what their original product lines included, and how that trajectory changed over the decades. They can tell you the legendary backstory behind Donkey Kong, and what happened when Universal (the owner of the King Kong franchise) tried to sue them. Then they can tell you about the obscure movie with Fred Savage and Christian Slater, that Universal came back and partnered with Nintendo on.
Yes my kids are that invested.
I’m fascinated as well. Aside from this blog I am a business owner and a woman in tech. I love to study successful companies and the challenges they faced, the decisions that they made.
It may surprise you to learn that Nintendo has been around for over a hundred years. Founded in the 1880’s, it was originally a playing card company that later branched out to toys, taking advantage of their distribution networks.
When I was a child, growing up not far from Nintendo’s Elizabeth NJ warehouses, Nintendo was a familiar name. I wasn’t aware then of how they turned a potential disaster into a near overnight success, and how corporate history was being made in those warehouses. Now, as an adult and businesswoman, I love studying the clever pivots that launched this amazing, creative company into the stratosphere.
I’m beyond thrilled for my kids, who truly see this trip as a Charlie in the Chocolate Factory Moment. The opportunity to see the HQ, to see and give their opinions on all the hot holiday games and devices that are at the top of every kid’s wish list, and the chance to learn a little bit more about the company they are already devoted fans of.
I wish I could take all my fellow Nintendo fans along with us to visit Nintendo Headquarters but since I can’t stuff you in my suitcase, we’ll be doing our best to share on Facebook with some live video, and on Instagram and @momfluential on Snapchat. Please be sure to follow along with us on this adventure. We can’t wait to tell you what we learn!
Here’s a little test for you, to see if you love Nintendo as much as my sons. The answers are at the end!
- What year was Nintendo founded?
- What did the company sell originally?
- What cartoon character formed the original inspiration for Donkey Kong?
- Who is Mario named after and what was his original name?
- Name the legendary game designer (and hero to my kids) who created Donkey Kong and the Legend of Zelda, amongst other titles
Holiday Mario Photo Credit: Nintendo UK