Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nintendo takes to the air in its 2012 company guide

The Nintendo company guide from 2012, presented to new (prospective) employees in Japan, does a nice job visualizing the global impact they can expect to have, as their creations will travel the world.

Captain Mario - heading the Nintendo air fleet

Mario is presented on the front, sporting a captain suit of the imaginary NTD Airlines. It is not often that you see Mario in suit and tie, but he wears it well.

The book measures 30 by 20 centimeters and has 64 pages. Underneath the dust jacket, the book's front and back covers are decorated with nice art from (then) recent games.

The air travel theme is carried out throughout most of the book, starting with a page with some great fantasy airport signs and luggage labels.

The first part of the book contains a visual story of around ten pages, with Nintendo games and figures traveling the world.

I really like the details the design team has put in these pages, like the airport codes for the Nintendo offices around the world.

The flights on the board are all operated by Nintendo Airlines, with flight code "NTD". I would love to take the NTD 2040 to Amsterdam!

A 3DS is parked on the airport platform, ready to lift off and take game players on a journey around the world.

The book continues with an invitation by Nintendo president Satoru Iwata to "board" the company.

The staff of NTD Airlines is a colorful bunch of familiar faces.

My absolute favorite bit of this company guide is the image below, which includes the motto "Put smiles on the faces of everyone Nintendo touches". The image makes it very clear that the scope of this motto is global: touching people around the world.

The source of the pictured rainbow of is the Nintendo HQ office in Kyoto, represented by the pagode in the center of this two page spread.

The rays engulf the world, depicted by famous landmarks from places like Paris, Barcelona, Rome and New York.

The book then continues with a presentation of Nintendo games released in 2011, including Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land.

Besides art and sketches related to these games, the teams that worked on them are shown.

It is these kinds of little peaks behind the scenes that make these company guides so interesting.

Like the team shown here, working on the The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, also released in 2011.

The images also show the effort put in the packaging, with many alternative designs considered before settling on the final one.

Another recent introduction pictured in the book is the Nintendo 3DS, which had been launched about a year earlier, in the spring of 2011.

The next part of this company guide zooms into the jobs offered by Nintendo.

This section starts with an introduction by Nintendo game guru Shigeru Miyamoto, sharing his philosophy to game development.

Interviews with 40 staff members working between 2 and 12 years at Nintendo give a feeling of what it is like to work for the company. Most of the interviews are with relatively young people (between 2 and 4 years at Nintendo), in roles that new hires can expect to be involved in when they join.

The final part of the book contains the usual (for these guides) corporate information about office locations, organization structure, corporate history and finances.

This part is updated yearly, but otherwise very similar to the same section that appears in the guides from 2011, 2013 and 2014.

This section also gives an insight into the job conditions offered by Nintendo in Japan.

The monthly base salary for starting employees is between 211,500円 and 243,000円 (US$1850 to US$2150 in today's exchange rate), depending on your education level, with university post-graduates (master degree) receiving the highest pay. A regular university graduate can expect to take home 233,000円 (US$2050) per month.

An important part of the Japanese wages system are seasonal bonuses, called summer bonus (kaki shoyo or 夏期賞与) and winter bonus (toki shoyo or 冬期賞与). These are paid out on top of the base salary in June and December. These bonuses are discretionary to the employer, and dependent on company's performance, but they form an important part of the staff income, usually the equivalent of a few months of salary.

The base salary is adjusted once a year, at the start of the fiscal year in April.

The office hours of the headquarter in Kyoto (本社) are between 8:45 in the morning and 17:30 in the afternoon. With a break of an hour, this means 7 hours and 45 minutes of actual work per day. I guess we are talking official hours here, as I expect there will be the occasional (?) over time.

A Nintendo employee in Japan can expect to have 128 non-working days per year (at least, that was the number in fiscal year 2011). Most of this is covered by weekends, as Saturdays and Sundays are regular days off. The remaining 24 days off consist of public holidays and additional holiday time.

A diagram in this guide also shows the number of staff hired between 2008 and 2011 and the number of vacancies in 2012. The total fluctuates around 100 per year.

The vast majority of hires are university graduates (97% of all hires).

There are two job categories: art/technology (技術) and office work (事務). The first will include all sorts of design and engineering work and the second supporting business and administrative jobs. It is clear that Nintendo is a creative company, as most hires (73%) are in the first category.

Overall, Nintendo is a male dominated company, as the split between the sexes of the people hired in this period is 87% male (男) and 13% female (女).

The book concludes with a quick glimpse at the future launch of the Wii U, planned for take off at the end of 2012.

Compared to some of the other editions of the Nintendo company guide, the 2012 version is a bit low on photos that show the Nintendo offices.

But the airline theme is a nice metaphor for the reach of the work done by the Nintendo team and the design of this guide is as nice as the others. So, another nice addition to the collection.

If you like this tour of Nintendo's 2012 guide, take a look at these previous posts:

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