Nintendo has always had a complicated relationship when it comes to its own history. While the company loves to celebrate its history with its fans by occasionally releasing old games or making retrospectives, they also have a weird way of doing it. They strangely make their game libraries, outside of really big releases, hard to get, or will continue to sell titles at full price even if they are already years old. Just look at how they charged 60 dollars for “Mario 3D All Stars” even though they did almost zero work in making the games look any better. A ton of titles barely ever get released at all, even though they reference them in games like “Super Smash Bros..” So, like I said…it’s complicated.
The company also isn’t big on being open about how they go about the process of designing their games and consoles. Outside of prepackaged videos or presentations where they control the mythology of Nintendo as a company, they rarely offer an unmediated behind the scenes look at the company. Well that might be changing in the near future, as Nintendo has announced that they are going to be converting one of their old manufacturing factories into a public gallery.
The plant, which is in the city of Uji, is a building that Nintendo has owned since 1969 when they were mostly a toy and playing card company. Recently, the building has been used as a repair center for consoles in Japan. Because of updates and renovations going on in the surrounding area, Nintendo is going to turn the plant into a tourist space.
From their press release, the gallery will act “as a way to share Nintendo’s product development history and philosophy with the public.”
Details beyond this announcement and a mock up of the building are relatively sparse. The concept art shows parking for tour buses, which implies that they expect this space to be a full on attraction that people can spend time in. However, will this be a real look at the good and bad of Nintendo’s long history as a company? Will there be playable prototypes or exhibits which focus on weird tangents, like the games made for the Philips CD-i in the 90s? Or will it be a glorified celebration of itself that will be a place to sell Mario plushes?
The space looks fairly substantial, and they already have a major attraction in the form of Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Japan. So it would be a waste to just make a smaller version of the same thing in a building that has long been associated with Nintendo. Like everything else with the company, they will announce what they are doing when they are good and ready and not a second earlier.
Look for further announcements as we get closer to the projected opening sometime between March 2023 and April 2024. That gives plenty of time for international fans to make travel arrangements. And if it doesn’t, then at least you still get to be in Japan so it can’t be all bad.