When he was six he came to me and said he wanted a Game Boy. As with any parent I showed hesitation but when I saw his friends on the school bus wified together and competing to score the winning goal, I realised it was the lone kid with the book who was the outsider. Games were no longer isolationist, now they were the social activity, bridging the gaps rather than building them. We did a deal, he learnt to read 'Green Eggs and Ham', and Santa was happy and brought him a brand new DS.
These days the DS is long gone but we still spend time beating each other's scores on Star Wars on the old '64. It remains a time we can spend together, a time I can remember and enjoy. Few Japanese companies have genuinely created something new, many simply improving on previous ideas, something Apple is very good at if we're being honest. But while I've been travelling Nintendo lost someone who was part of my son and I growing up. And Mario is sad about that.