Imagine a modern-day Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory scene where they have announced 5 golden tickets have been released. That is pretty much what the trip to Nintendo Headquarters in Redmond, Washington was like. They don’t do tours and simply don’t let in people “off the streets” like they did for us. But, on November 11th, 21 bloggers and their children were invited to step inside the headquarters — and it was pretty awesome!
Inside Nintendo HQ
First, having a family full of Nintendo fans, it was not an easy decision when deciding who should go. But, looking at the age demographic made it a bit easier. Jaci and Joeli both got the golden tickets in our family and we began prepping for our trip. Of course, their brother-in-law was not very happy with that fact, but it was the way it had to be! He simply demanded to know everything once we got back. Fair enough!
Friday morning, we were greeted at breakfast by two of the most iconic Nintendo characters: Mario and Luigi. Joeli really could not get enough of both of them. She wanted to run straight to them and embrace them both in big hugs, but had to patiently wait her turn. After the first picture, she really couldn’t help but want more. When they came anywhere near our table she grabbed her Nintendo 3DS XL and grabbed a few more shots of them. Mario being her favorite, since he wears her favorite color, she probably had about 20 pictures of him before breakfast ended.
After breakfast ended, it was time to head into the next room where we would spend the bulk of our day. Yes, we did take a tour of the facilities, but there were no pictures allowed outside the room where me met and the other one where we ate. But, I can tell you that they have their building set up by Nintendo sections. If I tell you I am on the 3rd floor in Donkey Kong, you should easily be able to find me. Need a conference room? They are all named according to characters, places, things in their subsequent section of the building. Plus, in addition to the store on the first floor and an incredible display case of merchandise on the third floor, there is a pretty epic area filled with classic relics from the past. Walking through that one small room showing my children the exact entertainment system and Power Pad I played with as a kid was awesome!
The remainder of our day we learned about the latest and hottest new games coming from Nintendo! (Such as Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon which just released on Friday!) We were introduced to Reggie Fils-Aimé, the president and chief operating officer of Nintendo of America, as well as a host of game experts. Some of my favorite facts we learned during this time include:
- Nintendo was originally called an “entertainment system” rather than a game system
- company began in 1889 with “Hanafuda” Japanese playing cards in Kyoto, Japan
- brand has established itself to appeal to all ages from “5 to 95” and developed to be as broad as possible
- they use licenses that will last longer then three months past the launch of a new game/device by really knowing their market
And one more business-side fun fact: Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon now hold the highest pre-sale with 1.1 million copies purchased before they went on sale! It is the top selling game for the holidays if you’re looking for a great gift idea!
Oh, and NES Classic Edition? Sold out everywhere the day it went on sale — which, coincidentally, was the day we were at Nintendo Headquarters. So… guess what we could purchase in the store that day? Yep. Have one ready to wrap and give to the son-in-law (much to Colby’s dismay).
The last big piece of news we chatted about what Nintendo Switch. This offers an innovative, differentiated system that is made for the home but can go anywhere you go. One thing I loved hearing was that it was truly inspired by listening to consumers. Nintendo heard its customers talk about how they wanted to continue to play their games but had to leave the house. They worked years to develop the technology to finally make that happen for their consumers!
What does the name Nintendo make you think?
After visiting the headquarters, talking with experts, and learning more about the brand, I am more than excited to continue the Nintendo journey I began as child… with my own children.