Nintendo and Best Buy are once again partnering this year to bring playable E3 demos to those of us who aren’t able to attend the show in L.A. I’ve attended each year and I want to share a few impressions from my Thursday afternoon visit to a Best Buy in Madison, Wisconsin.
I’m not sure it’s a great sign for Nintendo, but my experience this year was much less stressful than the past two. Where in the past I had to wait for hours in a line made up of hundreds of Nintendo fans, this year there were only maybe ten people ahead of me when I arrived. The attendance disparity sounds potentially disastrous but it should be noted that I previously chose to go to Chicago area events and the lines may have been just as long there this year as well. Madison, WI is obviously much smaller than Chicago, especially when factoring in all of the latter’s surrounding suburbs, so I’m hoping for Nintendo’s sake that location rather than popularity is the reason this event was so much quieter.
In any case, the event was absolutely worth the 60 minute or so trip I made to get there. Super Mario Maker was obviously the featured demo, but I was pleasantly surprised to be offered the chance to play Tri Force Heroes while we waited. I was able to bring my 5 year old son along, so we had the chance to demo the game together. There were probably five levels to choose from and Nintendo’s representative gave us enough time to play through the one we chose. I’ll save impressions for the podcast, but the game looked and felt great and it was a wonderful way to pass the time while waiting for Super Mario Maker.
Playing Mario Kart 8 (2013) and Smash Bros. (2014) was super exciting and fun, but each play session lasted no more than a few minutes and it was in some ways a light payoff after waiting hours in line. I wasn’t sure how Super Mario Maker’s demo would be handled, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that each player was being given somewhere close to ten minutes of time with the game. I’m not sure if this was the case everywhere or if it was a result of lighter attendance numbers, but it was great having that much time with the game. The demo is, however, limited to playing through the many levels that are already built and ready to go; no level creation allowed. I assumed that this would be the case though considering how much time it would probably take to design a level for one’s self, so I wasn’t disappointed. I was able to test two or three levels and there were many to choose from in all of the games available art styles too. See the video below for some footage of one of my fellow attendees attempting one of the available pre-made levels.
The Nintendo Access event is happening again on Saturday the 20th, so I recommend making the trip out if there is a participating Best Buy location nearby. With two unreleased games to play and some major Street Passin’ opportunities, this is a super fun event and I hope Nintendo and Best Buy will continue to host them each year.