Manitoba

Nintendo tour a dream come true for Winnipeg boy with serious illness

A 10-year-old Winnipeg boy who's battling a life-threatening disease may possibly get a Pokemon character named after him, after he had a dream come true by meeting his video game heroes from Nintendo.

Shea Sparling, 10, got to hang out with Nintendo of America's president and Pokemon developers

Shea Sparling, left, and his father, Thom, chat with Ismaila Alfa of CBC's Up to Speed program on Friday. (Leif Larsen/CBC)

A 10-year-old Winnipeg boy who's battling a life-threatening disease may possibly get a Pokemon character named after him, after he had a dream come true by meeting his video game heroes from Nintendo.

Shea Sparling and his family recently toured Nintendo of America's headquarters in Redmond, Wash., thanks to The Dream Factory, a Manitoba-based charity.

Shea, who counts Nintendo's Pokemon games as his favourites, said he got to meet two developers who localize the Japanese-based games for the North American market.

"We did ask if a Pokemon could be named after me," he told Ismaila Alfa of CBC's Up to Speed program on Friday afternoon.

Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aimé, left, hangs out with Shea Sparling and Shea's older brother, Declan, at the company's headquarters. (Submitted by The Dream Factory)
"They said, 'Well, we get to name some of the trainers, so we might name one of the trainers in the next game Shea.'"

Shea has polyarteritis nodosa, a serious disease that damages small and medium-sized arteries.

The Dream Factory, which helps children with life-threatening illnesses fulfil their wishes, made the arrangements for him and his family to visit Nintendo of America and meet its president, Reggie Fils-Aimé.

"I'm not sure that it really sunk in," said Thom Sparling, Shea's dad, when asked how his son reacted upon learning about the trip.

"It was when we arrived in Nintendo of America and it's like, 'Whoa!'"

When asked why he wanted to see Nintendo up-close, Shea replied, "That was a video game company that we grew up knowing."

In addition to meeting some of the people who work on Pokemon games, Shea and his siblings also played Super Mario Kart against Fils-Aimé — he said he and his siblings won.

Shea said he even got a sneak peek at a new game, Super Mario Maker, before it was released.

Earlier this year, The Dream Factory made another boy's dream come true by connecting him with Marvel comic-book heroes at the MTS Centre.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now