As I grew older I found myself becoming more of a fall man…I still haven’t had a sip of PSL, and wading through dead leaves is annoying…but there’s something about temperatures in the 50 to 60 degree range that agrees with me. It also helps that this is the season where video game releases ramp up and publishers release their heavy hitters. Sony had Spider-Man 2 drop on October 20th, although a lack of an event to celebrate the launch in New York City was disappointing…thankfully where Sony failed us, Nintendo became the publisher that stepped up. As the house of Mario brought a little sliver of the Flower Kingdom to the Big Apple on the Eve of Mario and Friends’ latest adventure.
The place Nintendo NY, the official storefront of all things Nintendo in New York City. Out in the pedestrian area which the store overlooked, a temporary structure was built showcasing what’s to be expected in Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Video screens showing the new powers you’ll be utilizing to recover the Flower Kingdom Castle after the diabolical Bowser merged with it via the powers of the Wonder Flower. Once you get to the front of the line, you can take a walk on the musical blocks that are littered throughout the game. Some attendees would attempt to play a song on these blocks, others would try to quickly shuffle along. Event staff would help attendees capture their jaunty walk. The event, unlike other launch events, was held in the early evening, which meant parents and their kids were able to enjoy the festivities. Some children even came dressed for the occasion as I could with confidence spot a young Princess Peach and even a toddler dressed as Elephant Mario.
The next section of the pop up wasn’t quite visible to the passing public, but it was another semi interactive piece. This time a video wall depicting the Balrush Stampede triggered by a Wonder Flower! Attendees were tasked to run in place depicting a scene where they were desperately trying to one step ahead of these charging beasts. Did I feel silly doing it? Will I ensure that the footage of my “run” will remain unreleased? Yes, and Yes!
The final section was a photo op with a mural of the key art used for the game’s cover art. Attendees can pose with their favorite character for a photo of their favorite Mario character. I managed to take a photo with Daisy and Elephant Mario. When I had my fill of the cameras I exited the area not before I was presented with an Elephant Mario Keychain. Outside of the exhibit was a photo op that didn’t require lining up. It was a set of four pipes where you and three of your co-op partners can stand to do whatever pose you chose.
The outdoor exhibit was somewhat short, but I will say some of it was definitely something I haven’t experienced at any gaming event. However the store itself wasn’t going to be left out of the festivities! Inside was a video wall also showcasing the various new power ups of the Flower Kingdom, an Elephant Mario stands guard by the entrance. Along the walls of the staircase to the second floor are wall clings of the Singing/Walking Piranha plants, a Poplin (the “Toads” of the Flower Kingdom) and a quartet of Goombas wearing various familiar hats. On the elevator column the menacing visage of the merged Bowser/Flower Kingdom Castle can be seen glaring at those brave enough to ascend the stairs.
As the evening gave way to night, those eager gamers that remembered to register for the Midnight Launch event via the Warp Pipe Pass would queue up for their chance to pick up the game at the stroke of midnight, the first to do so would be recorded on film, to be used in various marketing materials. Sadly while I had the opportunity to do so, these old bones just wanted to have an early dinner and trek back home, so I could play the digital copy that was waiting to be unlocked. It was a shame my endurance was lacking as purchasers at the store did receive some bonus gifts that might not have been available elsewhere…well I guess I can always obtain it via the back market.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder is a joy to play and our review of the title will be coming shortly. I would like to thank Nintendo for hosting these types of events as they have become rarer and the groundswell of positive energy at these events are sight to see.