Friday, April 29, 2011

Party Like a Game Star: Nintendo 3DS Launch in Seattle

A few weeks ago I was whisked up to Seattle by Nintendo and Brand About Town for a whirlwind, fun-packed weekend centered around the release of their brand new Nintendo 3DS. I was part of a group of over a hundred bloggers who were lucky enough to tour the Nintendo headquarters and get an in-depth introduction to their newest gaming device. I also came home with shiny new Nintendo 3DS – I was so excited I didn't even bother to steal the soap and shampoo from the hotel. (I did take the shower cap – some things are too good to pass up.)

Speaking of places I get 99% of my toiletries from, here's a view from our hotel. I love Seattle.

The weekend started with a happening party complete with a DJ and fantastic food and drink. You don't know crazy until you let a bunch of bloggers loose in a room with Nelly on the speakers, martinis, pork sliders and cupcakes. Let's just say my shower cap came in really handy.

(And yes I used the word 'happening' to describe this party. I'm going to bring it back, along with 'boss' and 'hullabaloo.')

The next day was spent at Nintendo headquarters, trying out all of the new Nintendo 3DS games and getting a tour of the grounds. We were absolutely forbidden to take any photos except for in the main conference room we were in, but as you can imagine the facilities are beautiful, and extra impressive since they have taken great strides to make sure the entire campus is green and LEED certified. Definitely one of those places where you leave saying, "I'd sure like to work here." Or in my case, "I'd sure like one of my kids to work here so I could come visit."

Here we are listening to an into from Nintendo President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. He's like the Steve Jobs of Nintendo.

The Nintendo 3DS is like nothing you've ever seen, and certainly one of the few gaming devices that I've been interested in enough to play that I had to actually fight my kids for it. (The other one is the Wii Fit, but that's a little easier just to push them off the balance board when I want a turn.) We played a variety of games that day, including Super Street Fighter (Asians really ARE good at martial arts!) Steel Diver and Nintendogs + Cats (which I brought home for each of my kids, courtesy of a gift card generously given to us by Nintendo.)

But my favorite game still remains the AR games that I was first introduced to in New York in January. Point the screen at a card you place on the table, and 3D images appear to come right out of the table. I can't wait to show this to someone after they've been drinking at a party. Here, take a look:

Something else I've become unreasonably fond of is the Street Pass feature. If you keep your Nintendo 3DS on (in sleep mode) while you're walking around, it will pick up on other Street Pass users and you'll see them 'walk on' to your screen. Kind of like a party in your purse! Or something like that. Here's another helpful video:

(I'll admit I've only used this around people I know, so that I usually recognize the other users who I'm interacting with. I may change my mind about this feature once the first 14-year-old boy walks onto my screen saying he's down with the ladies.)

Then there's the Face Raiders game, that lets you take a picture of your friends (or enemies. Or frenemies) and then put their face on a target that you can then shoot the hell out of. Saying this game speaks to me is an understatement - I feel as if the game developer must have been right there in the car with me the last time I was cut off in the school drop-off line.

After bringing down my enemies in a hail of virtual bullets I was pretty hungry, and since Nintendo knows exactly how to make a gamer happy they had a reception for us in the hotel lobby that night. I had my fill of oyster shooters at their seafood bar they had set up just for us – these people are classy. Then we were all taken out to dinner at various restaurants in the Seattle area. I chose Branzino, which was just perfection.

It was a great trip. Thanks, Nintendo and Brand About Town for giving me a fantastic weekend where I got to hang out with great people, gain some knowledge and party like a rock star. Or at least a game star.

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