On May 28, Nintendo announced that participating Best Buy stores around the U.S. would be hosting E3 booths, so players could try out Nintendo’s newest titles. A few days before the event, they stated that it would take place on Wednesday, June 12, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, June 15, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. My Best Buy store was in Fort Myers, Florida.
Fort Myers isn’t well known for having a high number of youthful residents who are interested in video games. So, when I walked into the store at 4:05 p.m., I was surprised to see that it was jam-packed with young adults and a few kids.
According to the Nintendo rep, the line started at 2:30 p.m. and by 3:30 p.m., there were over 120 people waiting in line. She also noted that the Best Buy store could only take 45 people that day.
There was only one demo booth in the store. On top of the booth there were four names: Mario Kart 8, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Super Mario 3D World. Under the booth, the Nintendo rep was attempting to download the games to the Wii U. According to one of the customers, she had been there since 3 p.m., trying to download the games to the console.
At around 4:15 p.m., the line of 45 participants was shifted from the right side of the booth to the left and the spectators began to crowd around. Eventually, the line fell apart and we were all crowded around the television. At 4:45 p.m., the rep finally downloaded the games and the crowd cheered while she tested out Mario Kart 8. After testing the game, the rep put Super Mario 3D World on display for four lucky users to try.
The demo took place in world 2-1. The players started in a giant, grass-covered playground filled with enormous, moving steam roller-like hills, a baby blue sky, nimbus clouds, patches of yellow land, clear tubes, little bodies of transparent water and randomly colored, neon, checker-patterned blocks. The players were Mario, Luigi, Toad and Princess Peach.
As the team started taking down goombas and collecting coins, they moved vertically through the level until they reached a pipe. They all jumped into the pipe and were transported underground. The underground level looked like a cellar with giant, wooden, spinning, arrow-decorated steamroller pieces, Redstone slab walls, a dirt brown floor and neon purple brick boxes.
After running through that area, the players came topside via a pipe, and were back to a grassy surface with three green rollers vertically hanging of each other like a staircase and a pole with a flag. The players jumped onto the flag and the level ended.
After the demo came to an end, the participants walked over to a table and picked up some Nintendo memorabilia. They had the choice between a foam Luigi hat, a Mario Kart flag with Mario and a Mario Kart flag with Luigi.
“Mario 3D World was fun to play,” said Fort Myers resident Harold Price. “I like how the multiplayer was added. When Nintendo announced this game, I was surprised because I was expecting the 3D Mario title to be Galaxy 3. But, in the end, I really liked it.”
The next game to make an appearance was The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. When the girl started up the demo, she had two options: Island Stroll and a Boss Battle. She chose the Island Stroll.
The cell shaded island looked like a tropical paradise with flat, green patches of land, tall, beige huts, cream yellow sand, a vast, frothy, blue ocean, towering palm trees and tall, dark grey, rocky structures.
After leaving Link’s hut, the girl moved Link over a bridge and ran him towards a hut that was sitting on top of a tall utility pole. The girl then climbed the ladder up to the hut and found Link’s little sister staring out at the gorgeous ocean. Link’s sister then turned around, wished Link a happy birthday and handed him a telescope. While using the telescope, the girl spotted an over-sized, mystical bird carrying a little girl. There was also a pirate ship, which shot the bird down into the ocean with its cannons.
Soon after that event, the girl went inside another hut, received combat training from a tall, old man with a spear and was rewarded with a sword. The girl then ran out of the hut, cut down some grass with the sword and the controller was handed over to a man. The demo lasted for two more minutes and then came to an end.
“I’m pretty impressed with the show Nintendo is having here,” said Fort Myers resident Paul Atkinson. “The games look really amazing on an HD TV. Nintendo’s E3 stream didn’t do these games justice. I’m glad I have a Wii U now, because I have something to look forward to.”
The third title up at bat was Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. The man who had only two minutes on the Zelda demo was still in control, and a second player jumped in with a Wii Mote.
The demo began with a mini space ship comically falling down a ginormous, cartoonish tree. Once the capsule hit the ground, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong burst out of the capsule together.
The first minute of the level included thick, gorgeous, curled up tree vines with humongous trees and foliage at every turn. The players then moved into an area with dangling piranha plant monsters, metal platforms, grouchy-looking, flying locusts, and aggressive, purple dodo birds.
The players then moved through a metal area and onto a bright, sunny beach where they took down a new enemy, which was a crabby, blue-faced turtle with swimming goggles and a swim cap. The two players then took a swim in the ocean.
Moments after their swim, the players watched an enormous tree explode out of the ground with two hovering bushes and an upside down, floating monkey barrel. The two jumped into the barrel, and were shot upwards and around the tree through a series of other barrels that were each connected by a line of bananas. The duo kept going up until they were propelled forward through a valley of trees.
They then landed on another beach where they fought off a group of helmet-wearing, spear-wielding penguins. After moving through two more sections, the two took down a pirate ship filled with penguins, punched a power-up barrel and finished the level.
The final game to be put on display was Mario Kart 8. There were two players and they had the choice of 12 playable characters: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Bowser, Donkey Kong, Toad, Koopah Troopah, Princess Daisy, Toadette, Wario and Waluigi.
The players started out on a twisty road, sparks were flying from their wheels and flames were exploding out of their dual exhaust pipes. Seconds later, the two came to a bridge, their wheels flipped into hover mode and the level started to turn upside down. Peach’s castle and all of the trees were upside down.
Right after that, they jumped off a ramp and their carts produced hang gliders. They then sailed past a few groups of vertically stacked goombas as they flew into the finish line. The two players went for a second lap and the race ended.
“Mario Kart was really good,” said Atkinson. “It still plays the same as every other Mario Kart, but looks overly pretty. I also like the whole concept of the player playing upside down this time around, because it’s something different to look at.”
The event lasted another two hours and then came to an end. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD will be available this October. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Super Mario 3D World and Mario Kart 8 are expected to release sometime in 2014.