For decades, Christina Aguilera has been a Nintendo fan, from her childhood days playing the original NES to her experience now playing the company’s latest gaming system, the Nintendo Switch, with her 13-year-old son Max and 7-year-old daughter Summer. This holiday, the singer is joining the company as its newest ambassador—and in a very special moment for her family, her kids Summer, Max, and her sister Rachel Aguilera are part of the campaign, too.
As Aguilera explained to ELLE.com of the partnership, Nintendo and gaming in general have “been such an integral part of my whole life that it’s no secret to me and my family.”
Playing the games with her siblings over the years, “we couldn’t wait to see each other for the weekends because we could all join in and take turns or compete against each other. And in those moments, you really get a moment to connect like no other way.”
Aguilera has a lot of history with Nintendo: “I was playing the Nintendo NES [the company’s first gaming system in North America, which came out in 1985], and I think that was the first one where you had your Marios, your Donkey Kongs,” she recalled of her first memories. “So I go way back, and honestly, to this day, you can still find some gaming systems. I literally have the arcade games too in my house, so that’s what a diehard fan I am of Nintendo.”
She added that having Max and Summer shoot the campaign with her was a “dream” opportunity but a decision she didn’t take lightly: “I’m very choosy with how I share my workspace with my kids, but it was such a no brainer and dream come true to be able to involve my kids in something that’s just truly authentic to my family,” she said. “And to be [handing] this down now to a new generation, my son is now better than me, so he’s taking the reins, but it’s so beautiful to be able to do something that’s not even work, it’s just all play.”
Here, Aguilera takes ELLE.com through her and her family’s favorite Nintendo Switch games and her experience shooting the campaign with them.
She wasn’t all games though: The singer also shared a bit with ELLE.com about her upcoming Spanish album that she wanted to make for two decades. “I could cry about it knowing that it’s finally about to be heard by my fans and the world,” Aguilera said of the project.
On her family’s favorite Nintendo Switch games
MARIO KART 8 DELUXE AND MARIO PARTY
“I mean, as a family, how can you not love Mario Kart, and now they have Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which we just tried out during the campaign, and we had a blast.
My favorite character is Pink Gold Peach, and I love to put her on a motorbike. My daughter likes Rosalina. But old school, me and my sister have always loved the silliness of Wario and Waluigi. So even to this day, when we do a Mario Party or something, we do a couples challenge to Mario Party.”
POKEMON LEGENDS: ARCEUS
“[While shooting the campaign], my daughter was able to fall in love with a new game. We had a brief moment to [try out] Pokemon Legends: Arceus [due out January 28, 2022]. It’s so gorgeous, the graphics and the setting that you get to explore in, so she was loving that so much, she wouldn’t give me a turn. But that was on set and yeah, it’s just such a great way for your family to connect.”
ANIMAL CROSSING: NEW HORIZONS
“We do like the Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It’s really fun. It’s a little easier to gather and put together your world, so I actually like having more elaborate conversations and catching up to that game because it’s not as intense as say a Mario Kart.”
SUPER MARIO 3D WORLD + BOWSER’S FURY
“Over the pandemic, me and my daughter, we loved Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. For this particular game, you get to literally turn into a gold cat and climb the walls. So for that in particular, it was a really fun element that I think was added to the Mario superpowers, and we had so much fun collecting all the cat faces.”
BIG BRAIN ACADEMY: BRAIN VS. BRAIN
“A new game that I did love that we played a little bit during the campaign was the Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain [out December 3, 2021]. What I love about this game is that you can all play together so it was me, my daughter, and my son, and he’s 13, she just turned seven, I’m 40, and literally you can set up the gameplay skill level to whatever their age range is and whatever they’re comfortable with while playing at the same time. So on the screen, you see all three of us get our own specific games according to our setting and our skill level, so that’s something that’s great together. It doesn’t have to be just one game, one at a time, one playing, we can all compete at the same time with our own skill level. So that I thought was really clever and really smart to do, and my kids really, really loved it.”
On her favorite Nintendo character:
“It depends on the game, to be honest. Again, the Mario Partys and the Mario Karts, me and my sister have always enjoyed in the past going as the brother kind of characters, and I’m Wario, she’s Waluigi. We love to do the voices. They get really silly. So we definitely love those. But now with the new characters that are out, I do love Pink Gold Peach, she’s one of my favorites, Rosalina, and yeah, they’re like metal kind of characters and they’re really cool.”
On her best behind the scenes story from her family’s Nintendo campaign:
“It was really fun in particular because the director was so sweet. He was really great in helping me and my kids feel comfortable since I don’t really involve them in my work world. Those are very separate places that I make sure there are boundaries set, but it was so welcoming and so warm on set the way the director sort of explained things, and then I would kind of reexplain it in a way that they kind of understand.”
“It was definitely a whole family affair of everyone working together as a team and making sure the kids are comfortable. And me and my sister made a joke that we have to really tone down our sense of humor because our silly voices and our inside jokes, not everyone is going to get from childhood while playing certain games, but we were still able to sort of come together and have fun and do what we do when we get to join together on weekends and make it a competitive family affair.”
And on her upcoming Spanish album and what fans can look forward to from the project:
“This has been a project that I’ve wanted to do for the past 20 plus years. I recorded my first Spanish album Mi Reflejo when I was still in my teens, so still a baby, and it’d been something that I’d wanted to follow up with for a very long time, but it had to be the right time. And I’m so happy that it actually didn’t come sooner than now because I was really able after the pandemic to dive head first into doing it with full time and attention, off of the road, with any other distractions.
And now coming from a place where I wear so many hats, I’ve had such an amazing career since that debut album. I’m a mother, and I juggle that while being a performer, but I’m getting to see everything with a deeper lens and a new perspective, not only for my kids and introducing this world to them on this level, showing them that even though this isn’t mommy’s first language, this is a part of your history. This is a part of your background. My dad’s from Ecuador, and I grew up hearing the language, but my kids didn’t really get that growing up.
So this is really important for me to then show them a piece of their roots and the fact that even though it’s a challenge for mommy, I’m stepping up to the plate because it’s an important part of us and our family. And there’s no nothing like Latin love. I went to Miami and dove right into the most amazing creative world of writers and musicians and producers from all over the world who came together to put together this beautiful body of work. We came out of it with so many amazing songs that I’m going to be releasing it in three different chapters well into the year 2022. And yeah, it’s just been a complete labor of love.
I could cry about it knowing that it’s finally about to be heard by my fans and the world, and I’m definitely diving into my past, singing and writing from a perspective of making peace with certain things from my child[hood]. So yes, getting to dig deeper this time around and from the perspective of a grown woman, who’s had many lessons and different things I’ve learned through the years. So it will all be released, different inspiration of mine in including Chavela Vargas, who’s been a huge vocal inspiration to me. So you’ll see elements of that come to fruition in the months to come.”