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Friday, June 19, 2015

Super Mario Maker @ Best Buy First-Hand Impressions!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Nintendo Access: Super Mario Maker @ Best Buy! ...What a flop.

A month ago, when Nintendo announced the "Nintendo Access: Super Mario Maker @ Best Buy" event, KoopaTV wrote derisively of it.
"Does anyone out there actually want to go out to a Best Buy and play Mario Maker? Really?"
"Seriously, there is nothing compelling about going to that Best Buy event besides filling up your 3DS's Streetpasses. Which definitely will happen, assuming anyone shows up. The crowds will definitely be thinner this year."
Well, I went anyway on Wednesday June 17. Just to see how many folks would go there. So how many people were there? And should you go Saturday June 20?

I arrived at 4:10 PM (it starts at 4 PM). I was... the 12th person in line. (They FINALLY implemented a numbered-wristband system.) I left around 5 PM. By that time, there only were a handful of people who arrived after me. The Best Buy employees remarked that last year, over 1,000 people went to the 2014 event for Super Smash Bros. For Wii U in one day. Looks like the crowds didn't arrive after all.
Nintendo Access Super Mario Maker @ Best Buy event line size
The entire line when I came in. The demo is at the front.

During Treehouse Live, Reggie Fils-Aime came in and claimed that Super Mario Maker WAS bringing in crowds, and that Best Buys across America were packed. This is a complete falsehood. It's not like UnFair: Exposing the IRS where I was the only one in the movie theatre but theatres elsewhere in the country were packed. No, this was described by the Best Buy reps as one of the most prolific of the Best Buys across the country and they knew it was a "really good spot".

The problem was Super Mario Maker. The popular perception that Nintendo's Digital Event was a failure (see two sets of live reactions to that same event here and here) probably soured people's moods about going to a Nintendo event, but it's not like the amazing Nintendo World Championships (and Super Mario Maker's clinching role) just disappeared from history.

Of course, the few people there were either hardcore Nintendo fans who did watch Nintendo's E3 stuff, or random people who were shopping at Best Buy as coincidence. There was one adult in business casual clothes who wondered what the line was for. The Best Buy guy in charge set him aside to explain what was going on, and the biz casual dude went ahead and saw the game being played by other people. "...Yeah, I'm fine." He left and didn't take any goodies.

Oh, and there were plenty of goodies to take.

Kirby Rainbow Curse coloured pencils colouring book Waddle Dee

There were also some... highly questionable prizes.

Pokémon Omega Ruby Alpha Sapphire special demo codes
Special demo codes for Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire?!

KoopaTV readers should already be aware of my attempts (and difficulties) of getting rid of these stupid codes. I got two of them, and now I got two more. It turns out that Nintendo/Best Buy/The Pokémon Company also had trouble getting rid of these things, since these codes expired May 31, 2015.

That's right. Your prize for attending the Nintendo Access is a pair of expired demo codes.

Anyway, while in line (not that the line was long), Nintendo's other surprise was The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes. You and two other attendees could pick one of four scenarios and play it about. We discussed how local wireless play with four 3DSs was pretty much impossible, so that's why it's three dudes and not four unlike Four Swords. Oh, the game was pretty fun. It was pretty hard to coordinate stuff with people right in front of you (and you really do need to coordinate your actions) so playing online seems... impossible. I can especially see an issue if you got different play-styles (the OCD player who needs to cut down every bush vs. the dude who wants to speed-run).

Gold Pants Shigeru Miyamoto Mii Best Buy Nintendo QR code
You got a discount deal if you attended, too.
The Best Buy fellows admitted their cashiers don't know how to process it.

So yeah, this dude liked my Midnight Purple 3DS. Yay. Same dude wished that Star Fox Zero was the demo game, not Super Mario Maker. Back when Super Smash Bros. For Wii U was the game, the experience really felt magical. We take it for granted now, but it really felt like the game we were playing at the time was this special, super-fun, fresh experience. Same thing with Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze or Mario Kart 8 or Super Mario 3D World. ...But not The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD which is why folks didn't really choose it back in 2013.

Super Mario Maker, by definition, is not a fresh experience. It's explicitly trying to be a decades-old experience by design, which is not something that'll bring in crowds.

Let's talk about my actual experience playing the game. You're supposed to get only three minutes to play it, extendable to five if you're good. Best Buy/Nintendo reps reserved the right to kick you out earlier if "you're really bad", justifying it with "It's only fair." Apparently if you're struggling, it's doing you and those in line a favour to remove you. That said, I leaned towards the "you're really bad" side of things.

Ever since I played the NES version of Super Mario Bros., I have been totally thwarted by a basic stage element: The Trampoline. I never could get the timing of it, so it was really hard for me to get past World 2-1 with its mandatory Trampoline. Guess what levels I unwittingly picked at Best Buy? Two of them involving the Trampoline! So yeah, I did not look at all competent.

Splatoon poster Best Buy
Double-sided Splatoon poster! <3

...By the way, since it's Best Buy, why not check out the amiibo situation? I was last there May 29...

Best Buy amiibo E3 2015
Two Sonic, three Link, three Zelda, three Pikachu, two Mario series Yoshi, one Mario series Mario,

Best Buy amiibo E3 2015 Diddy Kong
One Diddy Kong, four Mario series Luigi, one Mario series Bowser, three Bowser, and three Mario.

It looks like the Silver Mario were sold but now there are Mario series Mario. ...And the three Mario there are STILL UNSOLD. JEEZ.

For whatever reason, this year the line was held the next aisle over from the aisle with all the amiibo and Nintendo products. Isn't the entire point to have people wait in line for a Nintendo event for hours so they'll be attracted to spend money on Nintendo products while in line?

Ludwig is happy to be writing "Gaming Commentary" articles again. He won't be going back to Best Buy on Saturday, and he hopes that his experience will influence your decision to go or not. He also has a lot more screenshots of his free stuff he hasn't uploaded yet, so if you would like to know more about the free stuff, just ask in the comments.


  1. I was planning on attending the event while on vacation, but due to tropical storm Bill and the incoming flash flood warnings, our family ended up departing a day earlier than expected. For what it's worth, it doesn't look like I missed out on too much anyway. (Except for that Splatoon poster and maybe the Mario Anniversary pin).

    1. There was also a Hoenn map poster. :o

      Anyway, in terms of the actual game, yeah, you missed nothing.

  2. "The Best Buy fellows admitted their cashiers don't know how to process it."
    Most people who work at places like Best Buy are idiots.
    They should know how to do their job.

    1. So, one time I made fun of Wal-Mart cashiers, and my 7th grade science teacher got really offended and forced me to apologise.

  3. Lmao. I can't stand Wal-Mart, they never have any more then 1 check out line open.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks.

      It sometimes makes cameos in other articles, too.
      Notably here:


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