Nintendo is notoriously guarded when it comes to corporate visits. While companies like Namco Bandai and Sony are only too happy to throw open their studio doors to the press, getting inside Nintendo's Kyoto headquarters when you don't work there is almost impossible.
Oh, unless you're Gareth Bailey, a British kid who in 1994 won a competition that saw him flown out to Japan to not only visit Nintendo, but to spend the day hanging out with—and even interviewing—the likes of Shigeru Miyamoto and the late Gunpei Yokoi.
It's a bizarre level of access to have been granted to any Westerner with a camera, let alone some kid (and a magazine writer), whose day began by being greeted at the door by Yokoi himself, before being whisked away to visit the fabled R&D labs, where he met up with Mr. Miyamoto.
While there, he got to see—and play—early builds of Stunt Race FX and, amazingly, Super Metroid. Yes, this kid got to sit down and play Super Metroid before it was out. With Shigeru Miyamoto sitting right beside him, providing commentary all the way.
Brian was only saying last night that Nintendo has been, and still is, an incredibly insular company. So, yeah, this kind of access was, and still is, rare. So it's a fascinating read, even if it is through the lens of a mid-90s video game magazine.
If you're wondering, the magazine in question was Super Play, an old Future rag that wound up in 1996 (and which had a pretty great Famitsu-inspired cover style), while Gareth got there for winning a competition for the SNES version of Street Fighter.
Mr. Sketcz [Flickr]