Last week I whizzed through Seattle with my two sons, excited to visit Nintendo headquarters and check out Nintendo’s holiday gift line up. It was a dream-come-true opportunity for my boys and a pretty cool one for me too. We loved seeing Seattle, but even the Space Needle had a hard time competing with Nintendo.
Walking through the “museum” of Nintendo products was a definitely highlight for all of us. I only realized how many of the items I’ve owned when I walked the timeline and saw it all laid out in front of me. I even had one of their plastic toys from the 70’s, when I was a kid!
My kids dubbed it “Nerd Heaven.”
Part of our visit included hearing from Nintendo’s CEO about the company’s vision and what sets Nintendo apart from other gaming companies. It’s actually very simple. It’s all about putting a smile on people’s faces and finding new ways to play.
Nintendo has never been about the fast buck. Throughout my childhood and up to the present, they have been making quality toys and games designed to bring joy to multiple generations and made to last. You won’t see their characters on cheap clothing or toys, as they don’t want to see their items discarded and ending in the dump. You also won’t see violent/adult content in their most popular games. Parents and kids know that Nintendo is a relatively “safe” place to play.
We could not wait to check out the new Nintendo titles coming out this holiday season. While at HQ my kids got to play with their Nintendo DS XL units (I love the design on the Galaxy edition) and tested the games that are hot holiday purchases.
Their favorite 3DS XL holiday gift game choices included:
Mario games are always great fun, we just don’t get sick of that dude! Nintendo manages to put new spins and gaming challenges into each title release. Super Mario Maker 3DS lets kids design their own game courses and play and share them with friends. We were already fans of Super Mario Maker for Wii.
Mario Party Star Rush is a fast action multi player game with no waiting for your turn. There’s just a whole lot going on in this game.
Animal crossing is a very cute and social game that’s even more fun when you connect and play with your friends, inviting them into your world and visiting theirs.
My younger son especially loves this one and had a blast playing with other kids at the event. This somewhat shatters the notion of kids with their noses in a 3DS XL being anti social. My kids connected with old friends and made new friends at the event. All of these kids could not wait to get together and share and compare what they were were creating, and looked forward to staying in touch and virtual visiting and playing with each other some more (via wifi) in the future.
I think it’s really cool that kids can connect up this way. I also love that Nintendo has kept the units so safe for kids and that there are parent controls so that I feel really comfortable with my kids playing with others online.
Nintendo has some great Black Friday deals – you can get a 3DS for only $99 in Black or White on Black Friday. I’d be tempted to give it before Christmas if we didn’t already have one. Especially if your plans include travel, it might be worth it to pre-gift. I can’t imagine hitting the road without the 3DS XL. We picked up a clip on Pikachu case to keep ours safe!
One more thing parents need to know: Several of these games are compatible with Nintendo Amiibo – small collectible (affordable too!) figurines that unlock features and characters in the games, extending play options. There’s so many Amiibo and they are pretty cute.
My sons also played the preview for Pokemon Sun and Moon, which we purchased today (more details to come). I have heard about this game release for months. My calendar is circled in red. They just asked if they could have the day off from school to play with it when it launches. It is VERY IMPORTANT to them. In their defense, it’s not just them. The game looks pretty cool and Pokemon fans the world over are pretty giddy about it. I’m hoping to get a cheat sheet so I can pretend I understand.
Nintendo experts were on hand to help the kids with bootcamp style tips and tricks for all the games. I want to go to Nintendo bootcamp too!
Also a hit with my guys:
We also came home with a super duper NES Classic Edition that I was able to purchase at the Nintendo HQ store. I was pretty happy to get my hands on it as it was instantly sold out all over the country. Although I had the best of intentions to save this unit as a holiday gift, we had to unbox and use it a little sooner because… well.. we just had to. The Wall Street Journal calls the NES Classic Edition the best gadget gift since 1985. I think they nailed it.
The Nintendo NES Classic Edition comes with 30 of the retro classics that my husband and I remember from our childhood. Arcade classics like Pac Man and Galaga, Donkey Kong and Zelda. The games look and feel like the original which is a shock to my kid’s 3DS acclimated systems and a welcome throwback to childhood for me.
The best part is hearing your kids exclaim how HARD the games used to be as they die in Pac Man again. For once we parents have the mad gaming skills. For now. Something tells me they will be eating ghosts like champs in no time.
I just love the idea of bringing the NES to our family get togethers because just about everyone there can enjoy playing these games together. The nostalgia factor of the NES is 100% on point and these arcade classics feel so right for holiday family gatherings – like the stuffing & turkey and playing football on the front lawn. We can’t wait to challenge all the cousins to NES Classic games. Grown up cousins too. Some of us have decades old Donkey Kong battles to settle.