Nintendo fans from across the country will be competing in the Nintendo World Championships once again in October and I was lucky enough to attend one of the qualifying events today just outside of Chicago, one of the eight cities hosting preliminary competitions this month and next leading up to the main event.
Chicago’s event is happening at a Best Buy in Evanston, IL this weekend (August 26th and 27th), so my friend Rich and I decided to make the trip in and meet my brother Jason for the second day of qualifiers there. We showed up at about 9:45 for the 10 a.m. start time and I’d guess we were somewhere between 50 and 75 in line. All the Nintendo fans we talked to in line (including Ness!) were in good spirits and even offering one another helpful tips for scoring their best possible times in Mario Kart 7. After waiting in line for roughly 30 minutes after the store opened, Rich and I were ushered into Best Buy’s Magnolia room to tables hosting five New Nintendo 2DS XL systems and given the opportunity to complete two time trials on GBA Bowser’s Castle in Mario Kart 7. I finished with a (possibly?) respectable 1:31 time, but considering the leaderboard already hosted numerous times under 1:20, we turned our attention toward our real reason for attending: the Samus Returns and Mario Odyssey demos!
I wasn’t able to capture any footage/photos of the games or the demo area, but it was a fairly cool space considering we were basically holed up in a corner of a busy Best Buy store. There were Nintendo associates offering helpful tips throughout our demos (and even a Treehouse employee or two) and the demos themselves were pretty lengthy, especially in comparison to my previous Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros for Wii U experiences over the past few years.
Samus Returns was up first and it looked and felt great. I was able to unlock the morph ball as well as the new scan pulse feature in my roughly ten minute session and the game was an absolute blast. I would’ve loved some time to sit down, throw on some headphones, and really soak up the game’s atmosphere to really get the full Metroid experience, but after the little taste I got of Samus Returns today, I’m even more excited to play it when it releases in a few weeks.
Having a chance to play a few minutes of Mario Odyssey was even more exciting as its release is still two months out. We were treated to a roughly ten minute demo of Odyssey as well, and the game was presented in dock mode only using two separated Joy-Con controllers. As you’ve no doubt already heard, controlling 3D Mario feels perfect as always, and I was triple and long jumping all over in no time. I used motion control to toss Cappy, though I found that just tapping the Y button was usually more convenient and natural feeling. I was also able to give the 2D vintage Mario gameplay morsels a try and even earned a moon through an HD Rumble-based puzzle. A few minutes wasn’t even close to enough to thoroughly explore the level I accessed, so I can’t wait to jump back into Odyssey in late October.
I’m also looking forward to talking about my time with Mario and Samus on the next episode of Nintendo Fun Club, but Rich and I both walked away from our sessions super impressed with both games. We also walked away with three posters, all featuring embossed Nintendo World Championships 2017 logos on nice, heavy card stock. And as loyal members of the questionably useful My Nintendo program, Rich and I both had our QR codes scanned to pick up our free pin!
Minneapolis, Seattle, Dallas, and Miami are all still holding qualifying events over the next two weekends, and if you’re close enough to any of those cities to make it out, I definitely recommend it. And even though I didn’t make the cut to compete in New York in October, I’m really looking forward to watching from afar and rooting for Team Chicago!