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Gut Reactions: Nintendo E3 Experience at Best Buy

As big and as awesome as E3 is, it's not available to the public. As big and as awesome as Nintendo is, they know that, so they tried to bring E3 to the fans by shipping demo stations featuring four high-profile first party games to Best Buy stores across the country.  Unfortunately, unless you're 12 and under, it's not all it's cracked up to be.

First of all, I just want to say that most of this feature is negative talk for how poorly this event was run. I don't have any animosity toward Nintendo at all. It's a blessing to even let the public have a chance to play these games so early in their development stages, and it was extremely nice of them to bring E3 away from just the show attendees, because average joes just won't ever get the opportunity to go to E3.

Sounds good, doesn't it?

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

The first big issue is they didn't bring this event to enough Best Buy stores. The nearest participating Best Buy to me was a 15-minute drive. Yeah, that's no big deal to most people and in fact, I'm actually one of the lucky ones. The fact that I had to transfer on three different highways to get to this Best Buy was rather annoying, but that wasn't the worst part.

I got to the store at around 3:50 p.m., 10 minutes before the event was scheduled to start, and to my dismay, there was already a line from one side of the store to the other, but that still wasn't the worst part.

What was the worst part? We were only allowed to play one game for seven minutes. Let me repeat that. One game. Seven minutes.  Really? What's the point? I mean, I get that it's the E3 experience, and that's about the amount of time it takes for industry professionals to demo a game, but this all could've been handled much better. I'm not even going to get to the games yet.

The event was scheduled from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and I was in line until about 7:45 p.m. Yes, I waited for more than three and a half hours to drive two courses in Mario Kart 8.

The games available to choose from were Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze.

To be honest, none of these games were the ones I would've chosen to be featured, but I get that they're first party titles and that's what Nintendo is there to promote. My M.O. was this: Mario Kart 8 is Mario Kart, anti-gravity or not. 3D World was going to be like 3D Land, except more annoying because it's multiplayer. I already played The Wind Waker, and Donkey Kong Country is a game I played last year. Heck, I was hoping Retro Studios was working on something else.

So in line, I figured I'd play Mario Kart 8 because two courses was probably going to be longer than one level of 3D World, which I initially wanted to play, but I didn't think I'd be there for three hours, much less wait in line the whole time to play one freaking game for seven minutes. Part of me just wanted to play Wind Waker HD just so I can have the thing to myself and be a jerk to everybody else in line.

Not quite the E3 Experience.

Not quite the E3 Experience.

So why was it handled this way? Because Nintendo only sent the store one gaming station. One gaming station with all four demos for hundreds of people to play within an alloted four hours. The Best Buy and Nintendo representatives felt so sorry for us that they bought pizza and soda for everybody waiting. Yep, one slice of Little Caesers for everybody. (I'm on a diet.)

I went in thinking it would be like the Wii U Experience Tour that happened shortly before the console's release last winter. That event was awesome. There were mini competitions, blue food and drinks, Wii U schwag, and at least 20 different stations to play different Wii U games within the launch window.

This event was nothing like that at all. To make matters worse, I forgot to bring my 3DS, so I missed out on at least 30 StreetPasses — a number that was given to me by one of the people standing with me in line.

As bad as it was in line, the coolest part of the day was probably actually standing in line conversing with other gamers who were excited about this year's E3.

One of the guys in line, a father, pretty much has the ultimate Nintendo family; his kid has decided at a very young age that he wants to work for the company. The father was telling me all these stories about how he'd send letters to Nintendo from time to time, and they'd actually respond positively. He even told me that instead of going to Disneyland for vacation, his son wants to go over to Redmond and visit Nintendo of America.

I met a lot of cool people, but for every cool person I met, there was double that amount of insane children who talked about how much better the event was going to be on Saturday.

Nintendo really should've just made these demos available on eShop for a limited time and only allow a limited number of times you can play it. It would've been less stressful for everybody involved.  

Again, I'm thankful Nintendo provided the general public with this opportunity, but I didn't think such a well-known, forward thinking company, developer, and publisher would handle such a simple event so poorly. The money they saved not renting out the Kodak Theater for a press conference could've been put into this. Alas, it wasn't.

If you're going to the event at your local Best Buy on Saturday, be prepared for long lines and show up early. While you're at it, bring your 3DS, a portable charger for your smartphone, and try to be social because it's gonna be a long day. 3 hours for a 7-minute demo really isn't worth it.

And the free stuff? Your choice of a Luigi hat, a Luigi coin, and a Mario Kart 8 racer flag with Luigi on it. 2013 is apparently the Year of Luigi, so that's why there's all this Luigi stuff. So what did I choose? I didn't get a choice. All they had left were flags. Yep, arrived 10 minutes early to get a stupid flag.

Awesome.

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