Going to the fair as a kid was the pinnacle of summer existence. When you’re a child, your world is so small. During the summer months, I would look forward to trips to grandma’s house, playing video games, and the fair. Although it always signaled that summer was indeed coming to a close, I still loved trying to win a stuffed animal and devouring a corndog. Don’t at me.
Now that I’m an adult, I still find joy in greasy fair food and wading through sweat swarms of citizens. My hometown, though, had a much smaller fair. It was nothing like the Iowa State Fair, which I got to explore this year. That’s where I was able to check out the Nintendo Road Trip tour, a cross-country event where Nintendo brings out its giant truck full-o-games and allows fans to cool off for a minute to play Mario Kart and other Switch titles.
Whoa, that’s in-tents
When I arrived at the truck/tent setup, I could already see kids and families kicking back in a few chairs while they played Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Mario Party. There were a number of different stations along with giant blocks and warp pipes. You’re also given a small card to be checked off after playing each of the game stations. Then, you could head to the front to get your QR code from your My Nintendo account, and then get your prize. At the front of the kiosk, you could also play for additional challenges. I arrived when it was close to closing time. Even so, there were still a number of people in there just having a good time.
The only thing that was mildly disappointing about the tour was the exclusion of Nintendo’s latest Pokémon demos that made an appearance at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3). There, Pokémon Sword and Shield were shown off instead of Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee and Let’s Go Pikachu.
What are the people saying?
In general, I thought it was pretty awesome to see more gaming-related stuff in-town. As a kid, the only real place you could go to check out gaming stuff was at the local Funcoland (which is now GameStop) or the arcade. At least now, it’s possible for Nintendo to bring its marketing events to locations that normally get missed, especially in the Midwest. During my time at the truck, I was able to chat with some of the people playing. The response was pretty positive. Families brought in their little ones all the way back into the corner where the truck had its temporary home. Well, honestly, the little ones more than likely dragged mom and dad to it.
I also spoke to Reb Bowers, the assistant tour manager for the Nintendo Switch Tour. When I asked her what the response has been so far, she said, “Everyone has a lot of fun. Sometimes parents are in line and they say that they are just going to watch. We try to get them to play. They end up playing all these multiplayer games with their kids and having fun. So, that’s exactly what we’re looking for them to do.” Bowers also mentioned it was her first time in Iowa, a stop that isn’t normally on the tour’s radar. I asked her what she thought of Iowa, and she responded, “It’s really cool, everyone is super nice!”
Without sounding like an old crusty curmudgeon, I will say that kids today have it good. I would’ve lost my mind if Nintendo had rolled into my hometown with a truck full of games to play. The Nintendo Switch Road Trip brings in a taste of gaming to events like the Iowa State Fair, with other fair stops in the immediate future. I do hope that they continue bringing their games to the people in these types of settings, especially with today’s political climate and the opinions that have irresponsibly targeted video games and their impact.