Best Buy Canada’s E3 Pre-Order Deal for Super Mario Bros. 7-Button Set

The buzz in the States for a couple of days now has been that if you go to Best Buy and pre-order two select titles (one of which needs to be Mario Maker), they will receive a special limited edition seven-button Mario Maker set for free when the game comes out:

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Best Buy Canada had kept mum on the subject and wouldn’t respond to requests for comment, but a press release from Nintendo of Canada has revealed that the deal is valid here in Canada as well. The full list of eligible games won’t be revealed until June 7th and you have to order online (while quantities last), but you can find out which games qualify by checking this link.

smb30thpinThis of course comes in addition to the previously announced Nintendo Access Mario Maker events, wherein you can go to Best Buy to try out the game and, while supplies last, get a special Super Mario Bros. 30th anniversary pin, as seen at right. The full list of locations, dates, and times can be seen here.

Finally, there’s… well, pretty much everything else Nintendo has planned for the week beginning tomorrow. I’m still shaking off whatever bug bit me last night, so I hope it’s okay with everyone if I just paste Nintendo of Canada’s press release right here as it was presented to me.

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Nintendo’s E3 Events Bring the Show to You – Get the Schedule

                                                

Nintendo will showcase its 2015 and select 2016 software lineup this year at E3 and will kick off the video game trade show with insider access events that extend to fans following the show from afar. Our play-by-play reference guide below lets you track Nintendo’s live E3 coverage, the thrilling return of the Nintendo World Championships and special game sampling events, so you won’t miss a minute of the fun. We will continue to share information on future games and initiatives in the months ahead.

 

Sunday, June 14

 

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS & Wii U – New Content Approaching! 6.14.2015:

Tune in to a special Super Smash Bros. video presentation at 7:40 a.m. PT at http://e3.nintendo.com. Masahiro Sakurai will detail content arriving in the new update for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS & Wii U.

 

Nintendo World Championships 2015 Pre-Show:

A special installment of Nintendo Treehouse: Live will preview all the action of the Nintendo World Championships 2015. The show runs approximately 2:25-3 p.m. PT on http://e3.nintendo.com.


Nintendo World Championships 2015:

For the first time in 25 years, a Nintendo World Champion will rise. Eight winners from regional qualifying events will meet eight invited competitors at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles for a multi-round Nintendo game competition, but only one will be crowned the 2015 Nintendo World Champion. Tune in to the main event 3-6:30 p.m. PT on YouTube, Twitch and at http://e3.nintendo.com. Listen in for additional announcements between matches. Los Angeles-area fans hoping to attend the competition can visit http://e3.nintendo.com for details about free tickets.

 

Tuesday, June 16

 

Nintendo Digital Event:

Get Nintendo news about upcoming games and experiences straight from the source via the Nintendo Digital Event online video program. Tune in to http://e3.nintendo.com at 9 a.m. PT for the live coverage.

 

Nintendo Treehouse: Live @ E3:

Watch Nintendo Treehouse staff live from the E3 show floor as they deliver in-depth coverage of Nintendo’s lineup, including live game play and appearances by Nintendo developers. This interactive show kicks off immediately following the Digital Event live stream at http://e3.nintendo.com and is scheduled to run daily throughout the show.

 

Wednesday, June 17

 

Nintendo Access: Mario Maker at Best Buy:

In celebration of the upcoming Mario Maker game for the Wii U, Nintendo and Best Buy have partnered to bring fans hands-on sampling events at 23 locations across Canada. Drop by 4-9 p.m. local time to play through levels in a variety of Super Mario Bros. styles. Everyone who plays the game will receive a button commemorating the 30th anniversary of Super Mario Bros. (while supplies last).

 

Also, when fans pre-order Mario Maker along with one other Nintendo title from a select list, they’ll receive a free limited edition Mario Maker seven button set. Check Nintendo.ca on June 17th for qualifying games. The seven button set will be included in the same shipment as Mario Maker. Offer available online only, while quantities last. 

 

Nintendo Treehouse: Live @ E3:

The second day of the Nintendo Treehouse: Live broadcast featuring more games and content not shown in our E3 booth is scheduled to begin at 9:55 a.m. PT. Watch live at http://e3.nintendo.com.

 

Thursday, June 18

 

Nintendo Treehouse: Live @ E3:

The final day of the show kicks off at 9:55 a.m. PT. Staff from Nintendo’s Treehouse will be joined by Nintendo game developers for last looks at our E3 lineup. Visit http://e3.nintendo.com to watch live, and then relive Nintendo’s E3 2015 show highlights.

 

Saturday, June 20

 

Nintendo Access: Mario Maker at Best Buy:

The second hands-on event for Mario Maker runs at participating Best Buy locations noon-5 p.m. local time. The Commemorative button offer applies, while supplies last.  Find a location near you at Nintendo.ca

 

Fans can follow all of Nintendo’s activities on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and Vine. For more information about Nintendo at E3 2015, visit http://e3.nintendo.com.

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Following Nintendo’s previous announcement that the new Mario Maker for Wii U would be available to try out at Best Buy during the week of the 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo, they have now announced which locations will be participating in the event.

Address City Province Postal Code
5111 Northland Dr NW Calgary AB T2L 2J8
G8 – 8180 11th St SE Calgary AB T2H 3B5
13924 – 137th Ave NW Edmonton AB T5L 5H1
9931 – 19th Ave NW Edmonton AB T6N 1M4
32900 South Fraser Way Abbotsford BC V2S 5A1
4805 Kinsgway Burnaby BC V5H 4T6
2220 Cambie St Vancouver BC V5T 2T7
#10 – 1580 Regent Ave W Winnipeg MB R2C 2Y9
11 Washmill Lake Crt Halifax NS B3S 0A2
100 Mapleview Dr E, Unit 2 Barrie ON L4N 0L1
745 Kanata Ave Kanata ON K2T 1H9
770 Gardiners Rd Kingston ON K7M 3X9
215 Fairway Rd S Kitchener ON N2C 1X2
1080 Wellington Rd S London ON N6E 1M2
#1 – 6075 Mavis Rd Mississauga ON L5R 4G6
480 Progress Ave Scarborough ON M1P 5J1
65 Dundas St W Toronto ON M5G 2C3
7850 Weston Rd Vaughan ON L4L 4M9
401 Blvd. Des. Galeries Quebec City PQ G2K 1N4
790 Montee des Pionniers Lachenaie QC J6V 1N9
460 Rue St Catherine O Montreal QC H3B 1A6
8871 De L’Acadie Blvd Montreal QC H4N 3K1
6728 Trans-Canada Hwy Pointe-Claire QC H9R 5J2

Each Nintendo Access will take place from 4pm to 9pm on June 17 and again on June 20 from 12pm to 5pm, all in local time. Plus, while supplies last, you’ll receive a Super Mario Bros. 30th Anniversary button just for playing.

Finally, if you’re interested in my impressions from playing the game after last year’s E3, you can find those here

Source: Nintendo

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Nintendo has pulled back the curtain on their plans for this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, as amusingly revealed in the following video:

Everything kicks off on Sunday, June 16 in Los Angeles with the return of the Nintendo World Championships. It’s been 25 long years since the last one, but details are still to come on how to enter.

Following that is the Nintendo Digital Event, their online press conference that will begin at 9am PT on Tuesday, June 16. What surprise announcements await? We’ll have to tune in and see!

From there, it’s the return of “Nintendo Treehouse: Live @ E3”, which features developer interviews and coverage of Nintendo products directly from the show floor. More details about the specific times the unscripted live streams will take place are to be announced closer to E3.

Finally, Nintendo Access this year is all about Mario Maker at Best Buy (well, Super Smash Bros. is already out — what can you do?). For two days during the week of E3, participating Best Buy stores in Canada and the United States will have the upcoming Wii U title available for fans to try out (If it helps, I liked what I played of it). “The game lets players have fun with friends as they enjoy playing through levels in a variety of Super Mario Bros. styles.”

Further details… are available right now! The events will take place on Wednesday, June 17 from 4pm to 9pm and again on Saturday, June 20 from noon until 5pm (all times local). Better still, those who attend will receive a “sweet” 30th anniversary Super Mario Bros. pin… while supplies last, naturally.

For further updates, you can check back here or go straight to the source at http://e3.nintendo.com/.

Oh, and Reggie Fils-Aime fired Bill Trinen when he found a kid who can speak Japanese. Bill joined the company back in the 90’s when he helped work on The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and has been frequently seen at Shigeru Miyamoto’s side ever since. We’ll miss you, Bill.

Update: Reggie has apparently rehired Trinen, presumably after someone clued him in to child labor laws. Maybe next time, Reggie.

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Nintendo recently (well, sort of– long story) held an event for local Canadian outlets to try out some of the new and upcoming games which were shown off earlier this summer at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. As always, Mario’s Hat was there, and while I didn’t get to try out everything on offer, I did get to sample some of the juicier bits enough to provide some impressions.

Wii U

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Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Naturally, this was the big one for people to gravitate to, with two dedicated stations for playing it (the next-closest thing was three stations on which a number of demos were loaded). Better still, this opportunity presented an option not available at Best Buy: GameCube controllers, courtesy of the recently-announced adapter. The controllers themselves had seen better days, but they still did the job, as they felt more natural than my previous effort with the Wii U GamePad.

Also beneficial was the opportunity to go more than one round. The game feels closer to a midway point between Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl in terms of speed and competitiveness, and Mega Man is definitely going to take some getting used to. Despite the feeling that he’d fit me like a glove after watching him in videos, it’s proving to be a tight glove; he fits, but I still need more time to break him in, as some of his moves feel a bit more nuanced than I was expecting, mostly as a matter of timing.

Having heard how well he performed at the San Diego Comic-Con’s tournament, I gave Bowser a try next, and he seemed very, very slow to me; not as much in his basic movements, but more in his ability to perform special moves. But then, I’ve never been a big Bowser player, so that probably doesn’t help matters much.

I also tried Little Mac, but much like Mega Man, I think I’m going to need to spend more time with him before I really feel comfortable using him. I’m not sure if it’s me, or just a pattern among new challengers.

Finally, I went to my mainstay: Mario. Aside from having to deal with F.L.U.D.D. again (I’m eager to see what customization can do for me there), it was like coming home again. Much as I was eager to try new characters, I should probably have gone straight to Mario in order to form an opinion. Once we clicked again, things went a bit better for us. I didn’t always win, but I did feel like things were where they needed to be, and they felt good.

Some of the stages were pretty good, too. My favorite so far has to be the Punch-Out!! stage, though Dr. Wily’s castle, the Battlefield, the Fire Emblem arena, and others have felt pretty solid.

With a game containing as much content as this one, and with as little as what was available to us here, it’s hard to form a very complete opinion overall. Still, I have a very good feeling about this one. I don’t know if it will please the hardcore Melee fans, but whereas the Best Buy experience left me uncertain, I now fully and eagerly anticipate good times ahead.

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Hyrule Warriors

Have you ever played a game from The Legend of Zelda series, gotten a brand-new powered-up sword, and just wanted swathes of enemies to come after you all at once so you could simply tear them down with one mighty, enormous sword swing? It’s a feeling I’ve had all too often, and one that often feels like it goes unfulfilled.

Not so in Hyrule Warriors. Though no new sword power-up was required, it nonetheless provided that most desired sensation as I tore through huge platoons of enemy Bokoblins, sending them flying and falling left and right.

The demo gave a good sense of what to expect from the gameplay, offering three playable characters to choose from (Link, Zelda, and Midna), and one battlefield to run around on. Several objectives come up on the field, as you try to secure keeps and obtain items, such as the bombs which are hidden in a nearby cave (and which anyone seems to be able to use, throwing a volley with each press of the button). I only got to use Link and Midna, and while Link is great for cutting through enemies, Midna just manages to plow through them in the most joyful of ways. The end result is by and large the same, but the joys of getting there tend to differ.

It’s no secret that the ever-increasing focus on puzzles in Zelda have left me weary, and that I much prefer the action-oriented aspects of the series. Fortunately, Hyrule Warriors looks to be delivering on that in a big way (while still retaining some exploration and discovery elements) when it comes out at the end of September. At the moment, I think it’s the game on this list I’m most looking forward to– at least, that isn’t named “Super Smash Bros.,” and even that’s iffy at the moment.

All this, and I’ve yet to even touch the multiplayer.

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Bayonetta 1 and 2

I’ve never played Bayonetta. Not for any particular reason (not outside of “time” and “money,” anyway), it just never happened. So when I got to the carefully-positioned kiosk set away from all the others to have a look-see, I was presented with the question: “Bayonetta 1 or 2?”

I asked the difference, and was informed that the first game had a greater emphasis on exploration, whereas the sequel focused more on action. Well heck, I was on a loosely-defined sense of a schedule, so I decided to go for quick-n-satisfying action and leave exploration for when I could sit down with it.

That said, Bayonetta 2 is just so crazy and off the wall… I loved it. I can’t even begin to describe all the craziness here, though one recurring moment that sticks out in my mind is when I’d fight a foe, a meat grinder (or something) would pop up out of the ground, and as they tried to resist the pull of its conveyor belt, I’d kick them in– blood and bits strewn everywhere, though I’m not sure I’d describe it as exceptionally detailed gore, either.

Not for kids or the faint of heart, but very over the top, fluid, and fun. My kind of game, and it kind of reminds me of some of my favorite elements from Mortal Kombat, too.

WiiU_CaptainToad_scrn01_E3

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Aside from how any slight movement of the Wii U GamePad would adjust the camera, the Captain Toad levels in Super Mario 3D World were some of my favorite parts of the game, providing a fun mini-game-esque diversion from the main quest which still benefited you greatly if you were to succeed. The big question, however, is “can this work as a full-price retail game?”

The jury is still out on that one, though from what I could tell, the camera didn’t seem as sensitive to movement here, so that’s a plus. In any case, the puzzles herein seemed to have a greater level of depth as opposed to those seen in the full 3D Mario adventure. The more I see of it, though, and having played it in person, I’m really looking forward to the final game. It feels like at the right price, it might not win “Game of the Year,” but could nonetheless be a potential sleeper hit for Nintendo.

WiiU_Yoshi'sWW_scrn07_E3

Yoshi’s Woolly World

While Yoshi’s New Island was not by any means a poor game, it did feel a bit lacking– particularly as a fan of the original Yoshi’s Island, which the New installment did excruciatingly little to break away from. Simply put, it was like Yoshi’s Island‘s equivalent of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels in terms of series progression (though clearly not in difficulty).

But from what I got to play, the spark I felt was lacking in Yoshi’s New Island felt like it was present in Yoshi’s Wooly World. It’s too soon to say for sure, but adding some of the ideas and aesthetic appeal from Kirby’s Epic Yarn to Yoshi’s world felt like it was the right progression for both. Included in that is the option for two-player action, which I engaged in with my wife, and which we both enjoyed.

Yoshi’s Story aside, it seems like follow-ups have tried to be like the original, and it’s worked to their detriment. Yoshi’s Wooly World, on the other hand, seems to break away from Yoshi’s Island‘s most iconic feature– the visual style and aesthetic– and grows from there. Hopefully it will end up proving to be the true sequel we’ve waited so long for.

Oh, and there’s no Baby Mario– that’s a big plus right there.

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Mario Maker

Below, you’re going to notice that I didn’t get to play several games at the event for different reasons, mostly being a matter of priority versus time, but also because some of them didn’t quite feel right to me in the hustle-n-bustle environment they were in.

I thought Mario Maker would be one of those games I’d rather just sit down with and just play around with until I hit my stride, but to my surprise, just watching others play it made me want to play it. Seeing how others were setting up blocks, enemies, and obstacles got the wheels turning in my own head, formulating my own ideas I just had to try myself.

That’s a surprising part of the appeal of Mario Maker, it turns out– it can draw a bit of a crowd, and spectators are all likely to have their own ideas of what should be in the game, or will wonder just what cockamamie design you’re trying to implement. And doing so is fun, too, be it as a spectator or as you’re designing the level yourself. The interface is rather simple, and you can perform on-the-fly testing as often as you need before turning your creation loose.

It’s like art meets game design, and just feels a lot more fun than your run-of-the-mill level editors that you find in other games. Level editors have been in Nintendo games for years, dating back to the likes of Excitebike and Wrecking Crew, but I can’t remember a time when they’ve felt as fun as this. Heck, one would think a Mega Man fan such as myself would leap at the opportunity to create my own levels in Capcom’s 2006 game Mega Man Powered Up for the PlayStation Portable, but I don’t think I ever got around to designing a single board. But I can’t wait to get more time with Mario Maker.

By the sound of things, we’ve only seen the tip of what the full game will offer in terms of design options, too. Early 2015 can’t get here quickly enough.

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Kirby and the Rainbow Curse

Much to my regret, chagrin, and other words indicating displeasure, I never got to play the highly-regarded Nintendo DS title Kirby’s Canvas Curse, one of the earlier, more innovative, and apparently best titles in the system’s early days. Fortunately, luck has smiled upon me as a sequel has been announced for the Wii U.

From what I can gather, this title plays much the same as its predecessor, though it trades out the earlier game’s paint-like aesthetic for one made to resemble colored clay. Using the stylus, you control Kirby (who is stuck in a ball form) and draw ropes, ramps, loops, and more for him to follow to reach new places and get past his foes.

Playing it, I can see where the reputation of the original came from, and I look forward to playing more in 2015.

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Mario vs. Donkey Kong

I didn’t get to play this one due to a lack of time/the overall busyness of the event. That said, it’s yet another in the Lemmings-style of Mario vs. Donkey Kong, rather than my preference, the Donkey Kong ’94-style that launched the series. That said, it certainly looked really nice on a high-definition television, and watching some people play did make me want to snatch the GamePad away and say “no, like this!”, so maybe I should give it another go when it comes out.

Project Guard & Project Giant Robot

Unfortunately, though these two were there, I didn’t have time to try them out. Admittedly, they were kind of low on my list, perhaps due to the hints that they’re both part of the upcoming new Star Fox title that are not yet fully formed. Still, people seemed to be enjoying them, and I do wish I’d gotten to try them. Alas, it was not to be… this time.

Art Academy

Another game that was on hand, but I didn’t really get to try, as the environment didn’t really feel right for it (some games feel more like something I’d rather sit down with for a while, rather than form impressions in a really busy environment). Also, no time– maybe if there was more. Still, I’d love to give it a go when it comes out on October 24th, 2014.

Nintendo 3DS

super-smash-bros-3ds

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS

Okay, I’m going to be up front about this: I don’t like this one as much as the Wii U version. In fact, so far, I don’t think anyone I know has.

That isn’t to say it’s bad, however; I did enjoy my second time with the game since playing it at Best Buy back in June, and I even got to play a regular match this time. Really, I believe it all comes down to one simple thing that could very well make or break this experience.

Control customization.

In a game like this, a certain sense of immersion is key. You can’t stop to think about how you’re going to do what you need to do, you have to be able to do it instinctively, reflexively at a moment’s notice. I simply was not feeling that here.

It’s a very simple thing, one which can make or break a game, but one not afforded in the demo version that I was able to tell. The way the face buttons are mapped in this demo was counter-intuitive to me, or at least to my familiarity with the GameCube controls. I was able to adjust to them somewhat, but it took a more concentrated effort, and in the heat of a battle, it’s easy enough to lose yourself as well, which can wreck things.

I can’t say for certain, but if the final version allows me to remap the buttons, I think I’ll like the game a whole lot more. As it is, I saw the game again at a separate, more recent event, and ultimately passed it over for the Wii U version (and for Hyrule Warriors).

Fortunately, director Masahiro Sakurai is one of the best in the business– especially at Nintendo– for allowing various options and customization in his games, including Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Heck, that we’re even getting the option to use GameCube controllers in the Wii U version feels like a testament to that. So I do have confidence (and fingers crossed) that he will allow us to choose what feels right for us and go from there.

Until that point, though, I have a certain reluctance about this one. I’m sure it will be good, but will it be great?

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Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

I skipped on this one for two main reasons: 1) The frantic environment of the event isn’t really the type I like to play such games in, and 2) It was coming out so soon, anyway, that I figured it would be better to focus on other things at the show while I had time. In fact, I have my review copy now, so there you go.

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Fantasy Life

I didn’t really get a chance to give this a go, but it looks interesting. Another title I’d rather sit down with and get to know more personally, rather than meet-and-greet amidst talking to people and such.

Pokémon Art Academy

Okay, I know I said I wasn’t in the mood to do this there, but the Nintendo 3DS unit housing this demo was open while I was waiting for a shot at Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. I gave it a shot, though I didn’t draw any Pokemon— instead, I drew a Goomba, to the amusement of some others around. Not bad, but I’d need to spend more time with it, even though the primary function seems to be teaching one how to draw Pokemon.

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During the event, I had the opportunity to speak with Matt Ryan of Nintendo of Canada, who noted that Super Smash Bros. “will be our biggest launch this holiday,” including the October 3rd release of the Nintendo 3DS game, and that the amiibo figures would be arriving day-and-date with the as-yet unspecified release date of the Wii U version. He also pointed out that another title that was absent from the show, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Saphire, is also expected to do quite well in November, especially with the “more serious” Pokémon fan.

On a more personal level, Ryan notes that he is really looking forward to Hyrule Warriors. “Ever since I first saw that game, the graphics looked amazing. The gameplay and the physics of it all play really well.”

“While I haven’t played a lot of Dynasty Warriors, I have played, and it’s fun and I love that over-the-top action, like taking out the hordes of enemies. Splicing in The Legend of Zelda‘s look and feel, and the realm of Hyrule and the characters like Link and Zelda– it’s awesome. It’s one of the best-looking games I’ve seen on the Wii U.”

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Though I didn’t get to play everything, I came away with an overall positive feeling about (and from) the games Nintendo showed off at their post-E3 event. Some I need to spend more time with, and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS does give me pause, but it’s an overall strong lineup going into the holidays and beyond, and I can’t wait to experience more of it.

A huge thanks to the folks at Nintendo of Canada for having us to the event, and for taking the time to speak with us!