The Best Buy Nintendo E3 Experience in Pictures (and Words)

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Earlier this week, Nintendo and Best Buy held the first of their “Nintendo Experience” demonstrations at select stores across the United States and Canada (the second one is this Saturday; click the link for more details). I wasn’t going to say much here, but since Nintendo of Canada were kind enough to send along some photos from one of the events, I figured I might as well talk about my own experience there.

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For starters, the place was packed when I got there. A phone call to the store to make sure this wasn’t one of the locations reportedly having difficulties and cancelling their events as a result also revealed something else. Ideally, I’d need to get there at 3:30pm, half an hour before the event was set to begin, to sign up. Thanks in part to the swiftness of the Toronto Transit Commission and their buses’ tendency to move in herds, I arrived just after 4:30pm, and was told that when I signed up, there would be a three-hour wait. Yikes.

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Part of the three-hour wait owes to the fact that there was only one Wii U kiosk for the four games available to play and the numerous gamers there to play them. They also had the promised “Luigi Loot” and other prizes, but you were only getting them– one of them, at that– if you played a game. No play, no prize, and to play, you had to wait. As time wore on, some people apparently elected not to do that.

The prizes consisted of a foam Luigi hat, a Mario Kart 8 flag with Luigi on it, a bag of Animal Crossing: New Leaf pins, and the best of all (to me, and several others, apparently): A gold “Year of Luigi” coin. You can see one here, but I assure you, it looks much cooler in person.

Regretfully, I failed to obtain one, watching as the last one was given away with a bit of time left before I was up to play. I ultimately went with the foam Luigi hat, which now resides atop a Kirby plush I have, Super Smash Bros. style. Reports state that some locations simply gave the coin to the first 12 people to arrive, and while others have also shown a Luigi t-shirt, which I saw no evidence of at the event I attended. Too bad; all my Mario shirts make me feel sorely underdressed for the Year of Luigi.

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I was told more of these prizes should be available at the next event this weekend. To my regret, I won’t be able to attend, as my brother-in-law has a housewarming party that same day, which my wife and I had already committed to going. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find one for less than half a grand on eBay eventually (Note: eBay price is only a guesstimate; no actual research was done).

I was amused by one other item there: A small flyer shaped like an Animal Crossing leaf with the URL of Nintendo’s press site printed on it. I mainly wanted one because it was an Animal Crossing leaf, but those were for the “media”– i.e., if anyone showed up with a camera. Oh well.

As an aside, the event was a pretty good place to get a good few StreetPasses, too. Keep that in mind if you decide on attending; you’ll want your Nintendo 3DS there, on and ready, if you go.

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Fortunately, the wait wasn’t quite as long as predicted, thanks to the aforementioned early departure of some people. The four games available to try out are Super Mario 3D World, Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD. The downside is that games such as Super Mario 3D World had five different stages to play, but you’d only get to play one stage from one game for the whole thing.

That said, you could still watch. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, and Mario Kart 8 look nothing short of amazing in person. Of course, so does Super Mario 3D World— the one I elected to play.

I’m holding off full impressions until I get more time with the game, but it was a lot of fun. I chose Mario, simply so I could compare how he felt to Super Mario 3D Land. He felt about the same– maybe a little better– than he did in that title. One of my few beefs with that game was that while it combined the styles of 2D and 3D Mario titles, Mario’s movement felt like it was wholly from the 3D games here, which makes certain things like jumping for the flagpole or even jumping over harmful projectiles more difficult.

The new Cat Suit is fun to use, and there were some interesting quirks to the gameplay. The rounder chestnut-like Super Mario World-styled Goombas couldn’t be picked up– at least, not that I could tell, instead taking two hits to defeat. The stages felt wider and more vast, and less like “obstacle course in the sky” than in Super Mario 3D Land as well.

Oh, and my prediction about rescuing that cool looking new orange dinosaur? Turns out I was completely off– that’s not a cage, that’s just a starting gate for a sort of bobsled-like water course in which you ride the dino.

A cool thing about the game’s demo is that you could control it with the GamePad or a Wii Remote, and unlike New Super Mario Bros. U, having multiple players doesn’t force you to use the Wii Remote. I used a GamePad while another player used the Wii Remote; strangely, the demo doesn’t allow a Nunchuk to be used, though one of the people there said it would be Pro Controller compatible. Still, for a full four-player party, I can see people wanting to use the Nunchuk for its analog stick, as people weren’t fond of controlling Super Mario 64 DS with a Dpad.

Watching others play, I can say that seeing Mario, Luigi, Toad, and the Princess reunited as an actual team really warmed my heart. From Super Mario Bros. 2 to The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, and beyond, the four always felt like a team to me. Having only Mario and Luigi has felt like having the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with only Leonardo and Raphael, or the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers with only Jason and Tommy– good, but somehow incomplete.

Incidentally, though…

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This one I took on my own.

Toad seems like he’s the new Bumblebee (Transformers fans should know what I’m talking about here), warming the shelves of figures nearby with a few pink Yoshis (not pictured). I’d never ask Nintendo to remove Toad from the game, ever (I do have a friend who likes him, too), but perhaps they should consider adding Daisy as a fifth playable character, just so no one has to worry about being “stuck with” him.

And that about wraps it up. Remember, the next event is this Saturday, June 15th, and it runs from 1-5pm!

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David Oxford

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you're interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.