Most marketing and PR emails are like this:
In today’s fast paced world, moms all agree: you can’t live without Spartblat’s Amazing Diaper Powder! We thought readers of Through the Looking Glass would like to know that we’ve updated the formula. Please share this information with your readers! If you have any questions or would like me to send you HIGH RESOLUTION JPGs, please feel free to call me at [long-distance number].
As you can imagine, I just love getting those. (I made that one up, but I assure you it is pretty damn close to the real thing.) Last November I got a particularly long one that got my attention. It didn’t ask me to do anything for free; the opening paragraph mentioned a friend of mine who could verify that the emailer is legit; it was about a brand that I already love: Nintendo.
You might remember that it took me 50 days to open our Wii after Shelby and Briana gave it to us a few years ago. I was very resistent both to expensive gifts and to becoming a multiple platform household. But once we opened it I came around. My only real complaint is that Sam is the boss of me and never lets me use the Wii Fit.
So I hesitantly became a Nintendo Brand Ambassador. I signed the agreement because it specifically said that I am not obligated to blog or tweet about Nintendo, which I thought made it less icky. (I mean, for heaven’s sake. I don’t even run ads on my blog anymore.)
Last month I was invited to join all the other Ambassadors in Seattle on April 1st to tour Nintendo for the release of the Nintendo3DS. I actually said no, because I didn’t want to leave Grace, but they said I was welcome to bring her on the trip at my expense (which was $0 because she flew on my lap) if I could find a sitter for the actual Nintendo visit. Georgia volunteered to watch her, and Will had vacation days available to hang out with Sam, so we decided to go!
And so it was that this past Tuesday found me dragging the children around town trying to find a cheap prepay cell phone so Georgia would be able to reach me if necessary, and so I could do things like call home. I wound up getting one for $14.99 at Target. Unfortunately, Target keeps the electronics across from the LEGOS, so it actually cost $42. But now we have clone troopers and Mandalorians! Yay!
I haven’t had a phone in ten years, and I got the cheapest one they had, so it was still a dumb phone–but a dumb phone with a screen and texting ability! Man, I really hate pecking those things out on a numeric keypad. But it was really great for staying semi-connected. I hooked it up to Twitter and followed my family members and Georgia, who also texted me updates on how Grace was doing during the day on Friday (in short: she did great and is now betrothed to Henry). I was also able to confuse the hell out of most of my friends by tweeting about being at Nintendo.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Grace and I flew out of Burbank on Thursday morning. She laughed on take-off and loved looking out the window. We were on the left side of the plane, and most of the good stuff was out the right side until we hit the Cascade Mountains. We saw Mount Shasta and Crater Lake, which is one of the most spectacular things I’ve seen from the air (and I’ve flown over the Grand Canyon).
We were put up in a very nice hotel (FANCY, for real), and Georgia and her children met us for dinner. We went to the Cheesecake Factory, where no one so much as brought us water for half an hour. I joked that no one wanted to serve the table full of lesbians and small children. I highly doubt that is inaccurate. We got free cheesecake, though, and Georgia had a gift card, so the whole thing cost us nothing but annoyance and some crying from Henry, who did not want to be there.
IMPORTANT: Georgia is AWESOME. I love her and would totally move to Seattle so we could hang out more. Quick, someone find jobs for us in Seattle! (Note: I have not consulted Will on this. But I’m sure I can talk him into it.)
So, now that this post is five million years long, let me tell you a little about what I did on Friday. Basically, I–and 120 other awesome bloggers–hung out and played games on the Nintendo3DS, was given a tour of the Nintendo offices, played more games, was fed, and got the employee discount in the store. Oh yeah, and every single one of us was given our own Nintendo3DS.
Let me reiterate: I am not obligated to write about this. I’m telling you because I had such a great time and am genuinely impressed with everything I saw. Also, if I mention my Nintendo3DS even in passing, I am legally obligated to tell you that Nintendo gave it to me, so I figured I’d get that out of the way. Now then, about my new toy: I LOVE IT. The end!
I mean, I’m not kidding that I love it. I really do. The technology is so amazing to me. Look, the last 3D movie I saw was 13 Ghosts. The Castle film from the 50s. It is in black and white. The effects are literally made of cardboard. It is lame. (The 3D; the movie was kind of awesome.) I haven’t seen any of the new-style 3D until now, so 3D that goes back into the picture instead of leaping off the screen is MIND-BLOWING to me. And of course, the Nintendo3DS does it without glasses. And they’ve incorporated 3D cameras that take 3D pictures and videos, which–holy crap. There is a TON of other stuff built in, including a Mii Maker, StreetPass (which is this crazy, slightly creepy feature you can turn on so that when you pass someone else with a 3DS your Miis jump onto each other’s machines), and these augmented reality games where you use the 3D camera to view a card and 3D stuff that you can interact with shows up in the picture. WHAT.
I really loved meeting all the other bloggers. Everyone was SO nice, Grace was a hit (of course), and I have a ton of new people to follow on Twitter. (Damn it. I just got the number under 350.)
So, yeah. That’s how I spent my spring break. Grace, by the way, is a terrific traveler but makes having a king size hotel bed pretty unfun. Seriously, a king size bed and she slept ON TOP OF ME OMG. I missed Will and Sam like crazy and am very glad to be home. I have Lego Star Wars 3, in 3D, and Sam does not know about it yet. Actually, he saw the box and flipped out, but he hasn’t seen the Nintendo3DS yet and I hid the box and distracted him with Mario and Luigi dolls.