Entries Tagged as 'brand about town'

Nintendo Wii U Event

September 24th, 2012 · No Comments

I have been a Nintendo Brand Ambassador for about 4 years now and have gotten to do some really cool things. Remember when they had a Nintendo DS Lite party for my friends and I and everyone got a free Nintendo DS Lite? Or when they threw a Wii Fit party for my friends and I and then I gave a Wii away on my site? How about when they took us up to the Hancock Center for free dinner and drinks then gave everyone a Nintendo DSi? Or when Nintendo and Netflix partnered and I threw a game and movie night party? Not to mention all the fun things they’ve sent me in the mail over the years! And then I thought last year took the cake, when they sent me to Seattle for the launch of the Nintendo 3DS….

Well, that was all awesome, but this past weekend? This past weekend Nintendo sent me to Los Angeles, West Hollywood to be exact, to get a preview of the new Wii console, Wii U.

To ramp up for the Wii U launch on November 18th, Nintendo is doing a road show and visiting cities across the US to give brand ambassadors and VIPs a preview. They actually had an event in Chicago over the summer but I wasn’t able to attend. I was so excited that I would be able to finally see the new Wii in L.A.

We all met in the lobby of The Standard, where the out-of-towners were staying. I got to see Justine again, which is nice because she has been my main contact at Brand About Town for years and I do not get to see her often. I also quickly realized that some of the brand ambassadors that I met at the Seattle event were there and so I didn’t have to remeet every single person over again. Unlike Seattle, where there were 90% women, this event had many men and women. Not sure about the different groups, but a lot of the guys seemed to be big on YouTube. When everyone had gathered, we boarded a bus for Siren Studios.

The Wii U event was like a party! Loud music, lots of black light and stations set up all over. A few games, ZombieU, Batman Arkham City (which, I kept accidentally calling Batman Arkema City, after my friends), Just Dance 4 and Sing Party had their own rooms. The rest of the games were stationed all around. The brand ambassadors were not the only VIPs there to play so it was pretty packed. I did not get to play as many games as expected, but did get to see a lot.

The main difference with the WII U is that the Wii U GamePad includes a 6-inch touch-screen tablet. It still has the physical sticks, directional pad, face buttons and trigger buttons, but also a touch screen. I was afraid at first that this was going to be beastly and heavy, but it wasn’t. The controller was light and designed in an ergonomic way that felt good in your hands.

It was interesting to see how the different games used the controller differently. I have seen Dallas play Batman Arkham City a ton on PlayStation. And as with most first-person games, he always has to stop and access a menu where he can switch weapons and stuff like that. When I played the Batman game, a lot of that stuff was on the touch screen. So I could drag weapons onto a directional pad on the screen and then when I pressed the directional pad it would trigger the weapon as I’d designated. There was also the option to move the whole controller up and down and left and right to aim before shooting. Or you could just use the buttons to do it.

In the Sing Party game, which I spent way too much time in, the Wii U GamePad was used to display lyrics for the singer. So, unlike Rock Band where everyone has to face the TV, the singer could face the crowd and sing to them, while the audience looks at the singer and the TV to get their participation indicators.

In Just Dance 4 you hold your Wii motion sensor controllers, that you already own if you own a Wii, and when you dance, these controllers sense how well you’re doing. One person can go into “pupper master mode” with the Wii U GamePad controller and pick which moves the dance participants have to do. They can also make the dancers strike a pose and choose who did it best to award extra points.

I played a game called Rayman Legends. For this game I actually played with a Wii U Pro Controller, that was very much like a Playstation 3 or Xbox 360 controller. I liked this game a lot. My friend on the trip, Janet, used the Wii U GamePad controller to do other things in the game while I was playing.

I saw that there’s a new Wii Fit game, Wii Fit U and I could see that there were new games inside of it, but I didn’t get to play.

I also did not get to play Ninja Gaiden 3, but I heard that you could throw stars from the Wii U GamePad controller onto the TV, which seems pretty cool.

And who doesn’t love a photo booth!! These were my ladies! Katelin, Michelle, Ashley, and Janet!

After a few hours of hands-on play, we had to go. As a parting gift we got these chocolate Mario mustaches on a stick. Yumyum.

I hear that the new controller can be used as a TV remote (TVii) and that the Wii U will be able to stream Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video and YouTube. And that it also has NFC. I’m excited to see how that works, since I’ve never used NFC for real before. I can’t wait to see one of these out in the wild to really get a feel for how all of it works.

As always, a big thanks to Nintendo for this awesome opportunity! I had so much fun in Los Angeles, checking out the Wii U, seeing old friends and meeting new ones!

I’ve been trying to keep track of stories and photos that other ambassadors have shared:

  • Pretty Sandy Feet: A little bit birthday, a little bit Nintendo & a little bit like the end of Summer
  • The Glamerous Life: GlamReview: Wii U (The Standard West Hollywood too)
  • Ashalah: Weekend Recap: A Los Angeles Quickie

Crazy. I know it was a different event, and not everyone was a blogger, but even a year ago in Seattle I had a mile-long list of blog posts on the event. This year? So much Twitter, Facebook and Instagramming!

Disclosure: It might be needless to say, but Nintendo provided the airfare and accommodations on this trip. I was not paid, or even asked, to write this post.

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The Case of the Missing Nintendo Mug

September 20th, 2012 · 1 Comment

My old-school Nintendo controller mug that I use every single day went missing in the office recently. I wouldn’t really care that much, it was an inexpensive mug, BUT! It could not be replaced easily. I bought the mug at the Nintendo America headquarters in Seattle when I visited last year and the mugs were not for sale anywhere else. Also, everyone loved that Nintendo mug. People used to always comment on it in the kitchen or in meetings where I was drinking coffee. They all wanted to know where I got it and I would tell them how I got it at HQ on a brand ambassador trip or we would reminisce about the games we used to play with the old-school system… And then it was gone!

So, I asked around everywhere. All of my coworkers, our administrative staff, our cleaning staff… I checked every cupboard in the office kitchen and the supply room and anywhere that I could think of. No sign of the mug! I even made a MISSING poster and pinned it up in a heavily trafficked area near the kitchen. Someone told me they had seen it in a conference room a few days prior, but otherwise no one knew anything! As I walked around, people would ask me if I’d found it yet and say how bummed they were that I hadn’t. And other people were looking everywhere for it too! Josh was working late one night and told me he checked every desk top! On Facebook, Matt volunteered to drive to the headquarters and buy me a new one, since he lives not too far away. My mom said she tried to buy me a new mug online, but when she Googled “nintendo old school mug” she got this website!

Well, I might never know what happened to the mug I bought in Seattle, but the good folks at Nintendo and Brand About Town completely saved the day and surprised me by sending me a new mug! Thanks so much for making it a happy ending, guys! So glad to have my mug back.

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Nintendo 3DS Summit

April 4th, 2011 · 12 Comments

I have been a Nintendo Brand Ambassador for about 3 years now and have gotten to do some really cool things. Remember when they had a Nintendo DS Lite party for my friends and I and everyone got a free Nintendo DS Lite? Or when they threw a Wii Fit party for my friends and I and then I gave a Wii away on my site? How about when they took us up to the Hancock Center for free dinner and drinks then gave everyone a Nintendo DSi? Or when Nintendo and Netflix partnered and I threw a game and movie night? Not to mention all the fun things they’ve sent me in the mail over the years! Well, that was all awesome, but this past weekend? This past weekend takes the cake!

To celebrate the launch of the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo flew about 120 Brand Ambassadors out to the Nintendo of America headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It was so fun to spend the day at the headquarters and to meet everyone. I have been really involved in the program over the years, but have had limited exposure to other ambassadors. It was interesting to hear other people’s stories. I assumed that everyone would be women around my age, some mothers and some not, but there were all kinds of people: Older, younger, families, singles. There were a lot of women, but if you look close you’ll spot a few men. There were also couples, who had kids at home, who were Nintendo Family Ambassadors going back like 4 years. A lot of the Family Ambassadors don’t even have blogs and are not into social media. And everyone was from all over the country.

To be honest, before going on the trip I was getting really nervous. I didn’t know any of the other Nintendo Brand Ambassadors and I’d be spending all this time with strangers! Well, I shouldn’t have worried. Everyone was very nice and welcoming. I met so many great people from all walks of life.

So, anyway…. we all gathered at the Nintendo of America headquarters for a day of learning about the Nintendo 3DS. If you haven’t heard the news about this handheld gaming device, the big deal is that it’s in 3D and you do not need to wear those dorky glasses to see it! We started out in this large, very white room. If you’re wondering why all my photos are in this room, it’s because we were not allowed to take photographs anywhere else. I mean, they were serious about security. We had to be escorted everywhere, even to the bathroom!


The always cute Justine is my main contact with in the Nintendo program

The day started off with with people from Nintendo of America and Brand About Town, the company that coordinates the program, welcoming us and telling us what to expect.

Next the President and COO of Nintendo of America, Reggie Fils-Aime welcomed us and thanked us for our support. He told us more about Nintendo and about the Nintendo 3DS. He frankly addressed concerned that have been posed about 3D technology and childrens and took questions from the ambassadors. I’m sure Mr. Fils-Aime is a busy, busy man and it was nice that he took the time out of his schedule to meet with us.

Next we were broken up into groups. I was on Team Luigi. Each group was on a circuit for the day. My group’s first thing was to take a tour of the Nintendo of America headquarters, which are brand new, gorgeous and very green. They’re LEED certified, the floors are made of bamboo, the duct work and wiring is all in the floors, and they have the biggest living roof in the state of Washington. The walls are painted bright, primary, Nintendo-y colors and conference rooms are named after Nintendo characters and locations in games (Toad, Moo Moo Meadows). Throughout the lobby and other seating areas they had cushioned benches shaped like the plus-sign D-pads. Along one wall they had a bunch of-old school arcade games. Another wall had a time-line history of characters like Donkey Kong. We weren’t allowed inside this area and were told it’s where they train new employees. We also visited an area that displayed their licensed products. As we walked around we passed zen-like gardens and large bonsai trees. In their awards case, the highlight was an Emmy they won, just because all of the video gaming awards are expected.. but an Emmy? I thought there might be a mention of how they own the Seattle Mariners but there wasn’t. On this little field trip we also got to visit the Nintendo store, where each person got a $20 gift certificate to use and employee discounts on select items.

Back in the white room we started playing different games on the Nintendo 3DS system and did not stop til the end of the day! We broke up once for lunch in Cafe Mario and that’s it. Our first game was PilotWings Resort. This was one of my favorite games and really utilized the 3D effects. It puts you in the pilot seat (of an airplane, a hang glider, a rocketbelt) and has you accomplish tasks. The 3D makes it feel like you’re really flying!

Our next game was Kid Icarus: Uprising. This game wasn’t my favorite, but there was much excitement about it. First of all, every Nintendo 3DS gaming console with this game on it was tethered so it couldn’t be stolen. The reason? Kid Icarus isn’t available yet and is a highly anticipated release.

Nintendogs and Cats was pretty much the same as I remember Nintendogs being on the previous DS releases.. except you get a bonus cat with the game now. I always find this game to be so adorable, but question how much I’d really play it. I had fun walking my French Bulldog, Sophie, and feeding and washing her.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Super Street Fighter. Breaking all stereotypes, the ladies on Team Luigi really got into this game! Dallas has this game at home for the PS3 and I’ve never felt the need to play it, but here on the 3DS I really got into it! Of course, most the time I was just pressing a mish-mash of buttons and hoping I won! haha

Also, I didn’t really think I was “in to” car racing games, but I really liked Asphalt 3D. I was talking to a couple Nintendo employees and they told me that they liked Ridge Racer 3D even more. I ended up buying Ridge Racer when I got back to Chicago.

One other game I really enjoyed was Steel Diver. I have no photos of this game because it was in another room and I wasn’t sure if we were allowed. This game makes you feel like you are in a submarine and you have to physically spin around and shoot ships down before they shoot you. I almost bought this game. It was so fun… but not one you can really sit on the couch and play. You need space!

Aside from all the awesome game play, we also learned about Miis on the Nintendo 3DS. It’s much the same as making Miis on the Wii, except if you want, you can have the 3DS take a photo of you and then do it’s own magic making your likeness. One other difference is that you can now save your Mii to a QR code and display it anywhere. Others can then photograph the QR code and import your Mii. You can also save your Mii to an SD card.

Another new feature is called Street Pass, which allows you to exchange Mii characters and play games with them. The Nintendo 3DS now has a Mii Plaza, kind of how the Wii does. What’s cool now is that when the wireless is activated on the device, all you have to do is walk past anyone else with it activated and their Mii will show up in your plaza. Pretty cool! I already have 30+ Miis just from walking around our hotel and the Seattle airport!

We also learned about the augmented reality games on the Nintendo 3DS. I loved these. They’re kind of rudimentary now, but I think they have huge potential. You put a special card down on any surface and point your Nintendo 3DS at it. It creates a game in the real world. One of the games makes Nintendo characters spring up from the table. When you look a the table through the 3DS they’re there and when you look at the table, they’re not. So cool. You can even interact with them up to a point. See my face and hand above with Link!

There’s also a game called Face Raiders. The first thing you do when this game loads up is take a photo of someone’s (or your) face. Then these faces bounce around your real world, where ever you’re pointing the camera, and you have to shoot the faces. I’ve only played this game by myself, but I hear that if you are somewhere crowded and people walk by in the background, the game takes photos of them and adds them to the faces that you have to shoot! Can’t wait to play this at the train station!

At the end of the day we all had our Oprah moment! A Nintendo 3DS for you! And you! And you! We each got a shiny new Nintendo 3DS to take home! Such a fun and exciting day all round. I’m so thankful to have been a part of it! Can’t wait to take my 3DS to work and show it off!

Finally, we had to leave and head back to our hotel. Is that rain? Or tears that this day had to come to an end?

Update #1: Here are the official photos from the trip.

Update #2: I’ve been trying to keep track of stories and photos that other ambassadors have shared:

Disclosure: It might be needless to say, but Nintendo provided the airfare, accommodations, meals, Nintendo World gift certificate, and Nintendo 3DS on this trip. I was not paid, or even asked, to write this post.

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