that time Nintendo flew me out to Seattle

I’ve been talking about and mentioning this trip a lot.  A few days in Seattle all courtesy of Nintendo and Brand About Town.  Nintendo’s new 3DS handheld system has just launched this past week, and well, what better way to get to know the system than at the Nintendo of America headquarters?  So, thus, about 100 Brand Ambassadors (almost all of us in the program plus some extra bloggers/internet folk) all here for one big geeky party.

Day 1 – Thursday

I knew a good handful of bloggers would be coming from Chicago… maybe 6-ish… but there were definitely more than that when we landed and finally found everyone.  And that wasn’t even everyone.  When we finally got into the cocktail reception, well, the Chicago group looked small.  There were a lot of people.  Anyway, before that.

Despite this being a Nintendo trip, one of the things I’ve really been excited about was seeing some of my friends again.  I haven’t seen Rachel since possibly before she was pregnant with Dylan (who’s now 3 months and ADORABLE, and yes, came with us to Seattle).  Even longer since I’ve seen Jamie, Katelin, and Doni.  It’s been since the fall since I’ve seen Rebekah and Stacey.  I’ve never met Lacey.  And, well, the last time I saw Jenn we were very drunk and something about CHEESEBURGERS!!!!  So.  Yes.  Getting to spend time with some amazing women that I’ve missed a lot was something I’ve been very much looking forward to.

The reception was amazing.  The food?  Holy crap.  Amazing pulled pork, seafood, duck, this watermelon-cheese thing on an asian spoon… and then dessert… mini cupcakes, tarts, and CAKE BALLS.  It was all incredible.  I even had steak on a biscuit, which I later learned was actually a small piece of Kobe beef, in a port wine reduction.  I drank champagne (before switching to a rum and coke).  I dance.  I stuffed an entire mini cupcake in my mouth.  And at the end of the night I got to head to my private suite.  I was a little sad about missing some lady-bonding time, but really, I’m okay with it.  For one, it kinda makes me feel like even more of a rock star for having a swanky hotel suite all to myself.  And secondly, it’s nice to come back and relax, turn up Jon Drake & The Shakes as loud as I want on the in-room iPod dock/speakers, set the heat as high as I want, and be as naked as I want for as long as I want.  Sharky* and I enjoyed it.

Day 2 – Friday

Despite going to bed after midnight, I still woke up at 5am.  My body was still on central time.  I wasn’t the only one awake though.  So after getting ready, I spent the morning with Rachel & Dylan before heading down to the breakfast buffet.  Bacon and fruit and tiny condiments… We boarded buses at 9 — and despite our bus leaving last because I forgot my ID in my room, we still beat everyone to Nintendo HQ (aka The Mothership*).

The Nintendo building is just amazing*.  They moved in back in May of 2010.  It’s LEED Gold certified — which means not only is it awesome, it makes a minimal impact on the environment.  Everything from spinny vents on the floor so the heat rises naturally, to bamboo floors, and even a living roof.  And it’s done beautifully.  Even if this wasn’t the Nintendo building, I’d want to live there.  The building is divided into four color coded and themed sections: Mario (red), Yoshi (green), Wario (blue) and Donkey Kong (yellow).  You can find conference rooms with names like “Funky Kong”, “Toad”, and “Moo Moo Meadows”… or one of my favorites “Another Castle”.  The top floor is dedicated to the Zelda franchise and also has some amazing garden areas.  For lunch, we ate at Cafe Mario.  Nintendo didn’t just plop down in any old corporate office.  They thought about it, and made it not only beautiful but fun and responsible.  And from the employees we talked to, it seems like an amazing company to work for.

Back to the event… They divided us into various groups.  I was in the Daisy group.  We rotated through the areas, trying a lot of different games & features: Street Fighter IV, Mii Maker, Asphalt 3D, Pilot Wings, Steel Diver, Nintendogs + cats, Kid Icarus and AR Games.  Now, I actually want to dedicate an entire post to the system itself and the games, so I’ll talk more about those later.  In the middle of the day, my group went on its tour of the building and then to the Nintendo store located conveniently inside the offices.  Awesome bonus from Nintendo?  A gift card for the store and some discounts if you wanted to buy some systems.  Kid. In. Candy. Store.  OMG.  I am very thankful for self control.  I walked away with a water bottle, wallet, tshirt, and a game.  So tempted to buy two games and a little plush goomba… and everything else in the store.

lots of brand ambassadors! and if you look closely, you can see men!

We finished up the day with what everyone had been waiting for… The Oprah Moment.  Everyone walked away with a brand new Nintendo 3DS.  Yeah.  So I’m now in love with my shiny new Cosmo Black 3DS.

Hard to follow that, right?  Well, our massive group split up and we went out on the town for dinner.  I choose the Purple Cafe.  I was tired by this point, but it was awesome.  Private area in the loft.  Super nice server.  And a great menu (we got an abbreviated one for our group).  I went with the lobster baked mac and cheese and a malbec to drink.  The dish was amazing, though rich and heavy.  So I barely made a dint into my deceptively large bowl.  Dessert? A ruby port chocolate torte.  After dinner I crashed.

Rebekah and I are staying an extra night here (crashing with a friend of mine), so we can explore the city a bit more.  Then it’s back to the Chicago so I can start classes on Monday AND sign my lease.

It was an amazingly diverse group and I met a lot of really amazing people.  Too many to list.  But I hope to keep in contact with them via twitter as well as hopefully see them again soon either at another Nintendo event or just elsewhere!

*Yes, I brought my stuffed hammerhead shark — and yes, I do sleep with it.
*Totally said first by Jenn.
*Take my word on it, because other than in the main conference room, we couldn’t take pictures — which, well, I couldn’t find my camera anyway, so you’re stuck with cell pictures.
***If you were on the trip, say hi! Remind me if/when we met, your twitter handle, and yeah, let’s keep in touch!

The flight, hotel room, and Nintendo 3DS were all gifts from Nintendo & Brand About Town.  I was not asked to write about this trip.  The opinions here are my own. I cannot say thanks enough to the wonderful people at Nintendo and Brand About Town.