Normally when people hear about an Airstream on a roadtrip, images of beer-can hats and rabbit-eared TVs come to mind. Definitely a far cry from Nintendo’s Airstream tour bus, which rolled into DailyGame’s backyard on Tuesday. Short of its telltale silver bullet shape, the Nintendo Airstream tour bus looks nothing like its low-brow brethren. It’s been said that you can’t judge a book by its cover. Well, you can definitely judge an Airstream by its mascot paint job.
From about two blocks away, you know exactly what you’re getting into when you approach Nintendo’s Airstream. On one side are painted eight-foot pictures of Mario and Luigi. On the other side, Princess Peach and Donkey Kong. On the back window Yoshi waves at passersby, and heading it up is none other than Toad. There’s frankly no mistaking this thing, but if you’re particularly dense, the Airstream is also pulled by a Dodge Ram with the Nintendo logo adhered to its doors. Short of Miyamoto coming out and smacking you on the forehead, it’s clear what lies inside. Although technically, unless you’re a member of the media or have a private invitation, you’re not really going to get inside.
But that’s why you come here: for inside information. Literally inside, in this case.
After stepping up the two stairs beneath Luigi’s chin, you quickly realize this isn’t a run-of-the-mill Airstream. Nintendo has decked this thing out with a black leather sofa that curves around the corner to meet a cabinet in which sits a Wii, a Wii development kit, a surround-sound receiver (the speakers are above the sofa) and a countertop populated by three Nintendo DSi XLs and half a dozen pre-release game. Past the countertop is a mini fridge full of water for all those intense gaming sessions and a desk on which to take notes, and across from that sits an LCD TV mounted to the wall. Finally, at the rear of the tour bus is a separate sitting area with another black leather sofa and an LCD TV that’s synced/close-circuited to all the front-of-the-bus action. Packed it is, but posh it is too.
This is the first year Nintendo’s Airstream tour bus has been decked out so grandly. For the past three years, Nintendo representatives toured the country in a standard silver-issue Airstream that really didn’t tip its Nintendo-goodness hand to the highway-going public. Inside, the Airbus was still Wii’d and DS’d out, but you’d never know it from the outside. All that has changed since the tour kicked-off the day after Labor Day this year and began circumnavigating the United States.
From Salt Lake City to the Great Lakes, from Philadelphia to Florida and from Texas to the Northwest, the fully wrapped Nintendo Airbus has taken no branding shortcuts in 2010. It’s also taken no backroads, having visited multiple gaming get-togethers including PAX to show as many people its style. But again, few have ventured behind its well-plumbed door.
We weren’t properly equipped with a camera, so you’ll have to use your mind’s eye and the descriptions above to picture what’s contained inside Nintendo’s traveling trade show booth. However, we did get our hands on some exciting not-yet-released games for the Wii and DSi XL, which we’ll be previewing during the next two days: Disney’s Epic Mickey, Donkey Kong Country Returns and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem. In the meantime, enjoy the exterior pictures above and keep your eyes peeled for Nintendo’s Airstream on the highway. Just make sure you give them a polite wave and keep your distance; tailgating a four-foot Yoshi probably isn’t the best idea.
— Jonas Allen