Reggie Fils-Aime, Matt Ryan Announce Super Smash Club for Canadians (Updated)

Earlier today, Nintendo of America’s Reggie Fils-Aime and Nintendo of Canada’s Matt Ryan joined with the folks at the Electric Playground Network (EPN) to deliver a special announcement to fans across Canada:

Reggie pouring on the maple syrup and asking for poutine… now there’s a memory that will remain forever etched in my mind.

The Super Smash Club, sponsored by Future Shop (and which, yes, we are allowed to talk about), is a way for Super Smash Bros. fans across Canada to connect and interact with one another in a manner not unlike their previous Tomodachi Life, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and Pokemon meet-ups. Unlike those events, however, we daresay that this one is a bit more involved.

As per the Super Smash Club website, there will be a social event from September 18th to September 26th, 2014, in which participants can define the rules of Super Smash Club. By using the hashtag #SuperSmashClub on Twitter and Facebook, you can submit the rule of your choice for a chance to have it as one of the final ten selected for the event. If yours (or one similar to yours) is chosen, then you’ll be entered for a chance to win one of twenty pieces of Super Smash Bros. merchandise– a rare prize, indeed! The selected rules will be announced on September 29th.

Next, from October 1st through 10th, you’ll use the #SuperSmashClub tag on Twitter or Facebook to share your fandom with Nintendo of Canada by submitting your Super Smash Bros.-themed artwork, cosplay, favourite memory, picture, or video. “The most creative submissions will be shared by Nintendo of Canada on our Facebook page or Twitter feed, and of those fans, ten will be awarded a piece of Super Smash Bros. merchandise!”

(Update: A new press release from Nintendo of Canada has revealed that the merchandise for the first two parts is a Super Smash Club towel.)

Finally, this is the big one: Attending a Super Smash Club event. By doing so, you’ll have a chance to test your skills against the biggest fans in Canada in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. Everyone who attends receives a Super Smash Club takeaway item and a chance to win additional prizing onsite. The events will run on Saturdays from October 18th to November 8th, and by bringing your Nintendo 3DS and copy of the game, you’ll get to battle and StreetPass with other fans.

One thing, though: There are a few “main” events that you’ll have to pre-register to attend, though admission is free. Click the link above to get tickets for Toronto, Mississauga, Montreal, and Vancouver (I tried to place them here, but they don’t seem to work except when accessed by the above link).

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Events are shown in their local time.

Additional events will be held at select Future Shop stores and other locations across the country. RSVP is not required for these events, of which a few have been announced so far:

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For further details, contest rules, and so forth, click this link.

Following the interview with Eastern Canadian ROTAX Karting Champion Jeff Kingsley posted a couple of days ago, we had a chance to sit down and speak with Nintendo of Canada’s Matt Ryan for a few moments at Mario’s Canadian Karting Day to get his thoughts on the newest entry in the Mario Kart series and how it (among other things) might affect the Wii U’s fortunes going forward.

A big thanks to Nintendo of Canada for arranging these interviews, and to Matt Ryan and Jeff Kingsley for taking the time for us!

With the triple-threat of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Mario Party: Island Tour for Nintendo 3DS and Super Mario 3D World for Wii U now available to take on the newly released next generation platforms of the PlayStation 4 from Sony and the Xbox One from Microsoft, the battle to claim consumers’ dollars this holiday season is now fully underway.

I took the opportunity at a recent media event to chat for a bit with Nintendo of Canada representative Matt Ryan about the company’s plans for the holiday season, and how they intend to move forward against their marketplace adversaries.

Mario’s Hat: Normally, when approaching the holiday season, there usually seems to be more of a leaning towards either the console side or the handheld side, but this year feels pretty well-balanced in comparison to previous years.

Matt Ryan: You’re right; sometimes it is more heavily weighted towards one side or the other. I think we have a good balance, with more Wii U titles this holiday season, but it’s Wii U’s turn, you know what I mean? The Nintendo 3DS has had its stronger holidays, this year it’s the Wii U.

On November 22nd, you’ve got Mario Party: Island Tour, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and Super Mario 3D World coming out. Are you at all worried that you might be overloading that particular day with three big titles?

We just like that day for some reason. *laughs* The reality is we have a lot of product launches, but very few times have I seen three really big titles launch on the same day, because digital titles will launch when they launch, and sometimes they’ll overlap with a packaged game launch, but we just like that day, and we’ll see how it goes. We also have a lot of other products we need to launch, and there are things we haven’t even announced yet…

For this holiday?

Yes, those are things our operations and logistics department have had to think about. November 22nd is going to be a big day if you’re a Nintendo fan, no doubt.

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Up until a recent Nintendo Direct, you guys had a certain date set in December. First it was for Super Mario 3D World, then it swapped with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and then that got delayed. Is there any reason to no longer go with the December date for anything?

The reality with Donkey Kong is that it’s not ready; Retro’s going to put some more time into it, and we’re happy about that, and all the fans should be too, because we’re not going to put something out until it’s ready. I think the majority of the launches happen before December anyway, just because of the time of year, but there’s no real particular reason.

So there wasn’t any worry about Nintendo being in further competition with itself by releasing on that date? Rayman Legends was originally supposed to release around the same time (that Donkey Kong has been delayed to) this year, and it would have had the spotlight all to itself, which seems to be where Donkey Kong sits now.

I’m going to say “no, that’s not the situation”, because look at previous years when we launched Mario Kart and Super Mario 3D Land, both within four weeks of each other. So it’s not a matter of competing against ourselves, no; it’s a matter of Donkey Kong not being ready, so we’re going to give it some more development time to get it ready. Other than that, we have a lot of things launching already, so there’s just lots of choices this holiday.

Nintendo is in a unique position this year, as you’ve had a new console out for about a year, while Sony and Microsoft are just getting ready to launch their new consoles now. How do you think your lineup will fare against their launch lineups?

Like most years, we’re just going to be focused on us this holiday. We released the Wii U a year ago, and developers have had their opportunities to make games already for a year, with the devkits even earlier than that. So we’re going to see a lot of great games come out, no matter what time of year, just because of the life cycle and how far we are into it already. Our holiday will fare based on on how the Wii U, the Nintendo 3DS, and the Nintendo 2DS do, along with our software. That’s what we’re focused on; the industry is obviously going to change a little bit this holiday with some other consoles coming into the marketplace, but we’re going to focus on us. That’s what we do best.

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The growing concern about the Wii U is that if Nintendo doesn’t start bringing in big sales numbers after one year, the console is finished. Any thoughts on that?

This holiday, we’ve got games for everyone, and there’s a lot of them. And a lot of them are Wii U games, so it’s really going to be determined on how we see the sales of these games, but these are games you can only play on our system. You can only have Miis on our system, and Wii Party U will be exclusive to Wii U. Super Mario 3D World, some of the other games from third-parties like Sonic Lost World, you can only play that stuff on Nintendo. We think that’s going to help our situation with the Wii U for sure.

It’s also very early in the life cycle; I think there are some comments out there about Wii U’s performance, but when you’re comparing it against the Wii, you’ve got to realize that was a revolutionary change, and we’re just getting started with the Wii U. The GamePad is still that differentiating feature that we have on ours; it’s built to work with that system, and we’re pretty proud of that, so we’ve got a long way to go with Wii U.

There has also been some concern that several Wii U games aren’t really making unique use of the GamePad, outside of things like Off-TV play. Any thoughts there?

One of things people may or may not have noticed– on Super Mario 3D World, for example– is the person using the GamePad has a “reveal” option. So you can use your finger or stylus to actually rub on the screen in different areas, and it will make question mark blocks and other things appear that can help players play. It also becomes a strategic move, so there’s a little more than just the Off-TV play there. But not every game needs to make such use of it; sometimes just having Off-TV play is just as satisfying.

Going back to third-parties: Several have been vocal about the sales numbers of the Wii U, and not bringing their “A” game to the console as a result. Do you think this holiday season will bring in the numbers needed to attract them back to the system?

Our industry revolves around the fact that software sells hardware; great games are what people are looking for, and the bigger the install base, the more opportunities there are for any developer to get more games out. Are some of our titles this holiday hardware sellers? Definitely! Look at some of the options we’re giving people: We’ve got a new configuration for Wii U that comes with two games, New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U. That’s going to attract more consumers to Wii U. We’ve still got some of the Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD bundles out there, so that’s moving hardware. We’ve just announced a Skylanders: Swap Force bundle with the Basic Set to get even more hardware out there.

We’re just going to keep doing that, so it’s up to third-party developers to develop for whatever system they want, but the install base is obviously going to continue to grow.

Alright, so let’s wrap up with this question: Any favorites among the games shown here today? (The titles featured at the event were Wii Fit U, Super Mario 3D World, Wii Party U, Sonic Lost World, Mario & Sonic at the Soichi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, Shovel Knight, Mario Party: Island Tour, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Pokemon X and Pokemon Y, and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies)

Just one?

Or two.

Okay, Super Mario 3D World, which I think has been so well-polished that it definitely stands out as my favorite this holiday because of little intricacies like being able to walk anywhere on the world map. That’s new, and that’s exciting; I don’t know why I like it so much, but it’s just cool to cut across, rather than follow the linear path.

Yeah, I’ve always wanted to do that.

Yeah, it’s cool. The cat transformation is awesome. There’s a really cool character enhancement, the Double Cherries, which we’ve just announced. It’s so incredible to throw a fireball with six Luigis at the same time and have them ricochet everywhere– I really enjoy that.

I’ve always really liked the Wii Fit series, so I love the trampoline activity in Wii Fit U, and I look forward to using the Wii Fit Meter and bringing that with me as well.

A special thanks to Matt Ryan and everyone at Nintendo of Canada for granting me this interview! For those interested, every title listed above (save for Shovel Knight) is available now in the Nintendo eShop and, with the temporary exception of Wii Fit U, at retail as well.

WiiU_LegoCU_char_ChaseMcCaiRecently, I had the opportunity and pleasure to experience a media preview of two upcoming games from Nintendo, LEGO City Undercover for the Wii U and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon for the Nintendo 3DS. I’ll get to Luigi’s Mansion soon, but we’re first going to go over some of my thoughts and impressions of what I played of the game at the event.

Full disclosure: I actually received my review copy of the game a couple of days ago and have been playing through it. The review will be up following the embargo date later this week, but for now, here’s what I took away from the event (tempered by my own experience playing it at home).

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Wii-MiniYou like Mini! You really like Wii Mini!

In fact, about 35,700 you liked and purchased the Wii Mini between December 7th, 2012 and January 31st, 2013, according to Nintendo World Report. Nintendo of Canada’s Communications Manager, Matt Ryan, notes that the “Canadian market has reacted positively to the great value the system has to offer, and we are seeing this reflected in the sales numbers.”

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Via Official Nintendo Magazine, fellow Canadian gaming website GameFocus has a new article which highlights Nintendo’s new Wii Mini, which is poised for released exclusively in Canada in just a few more days. There, you can see the size of the Mini alongside a regular Wii, as well as shots of the open drive and various angles.

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It’s been a while since we last caught up with Matt Ryan from Nintendo of Canada. However, the opportunity arose at the recent Nintendo Holiday 2012 event, and though our time was shorter than usual, I tried to get in as many questions as I could within the allotted span.

Now, without further ado:

Mario’s Hat: Can you use the Wii U Pro Controller for New Super Mario Bros. U? I know some people with larger hands have had complaints about being forced to use the Wii Remote* sideways in New Super Mario Bros. Wii.

Matt Ryan: Not that we’ve announced, or that they’ve told me. All we’ve announced so far are that the GamePad and Wii Remote are how you play New Super Mario Bros. U.

* Note that only one GamePad can be used on Wii U launch titles, so that only provides a solution if one plays in single-player mode.

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Our coverage of Nintendo of Canada’s post-E3 event from Toronto has now concluded. If you’re just now finding the site or simply want a quick reference to find one of the articles, then this post is for you!

Two other games were also available at the event, but I unfortunately did not get to spend much, if any, time with them: Batman: Arkham City – Armored Edition and ZombiU, both for the Wii U. From what I saw, both looked impressive, and the short time I had with Batman was fun, but not quite enough to form a full impression from. Plus, not having played the releases on the other platforms for which it’s available, I could probably not offer a very thorough impression.

At the end of Nintendo of Canada’s post-E3 event held in Toronto last week, I had the opportunity to speak with a representative from Nintendo of Canada, Mr. Matt Ryan. After sampling many of the games on the event’s show floor, I brought up several different topics to him in the hopes of covering as much ground as possible in the short time we had.

Well, “short” being relative; I could probably go on all day, if given the chance. Nonetheless, I learned some interesting things during our discussion, which I am now pleased to share with all of you.

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