I was able to make it out to my local Best Buy this afternoon to take part in a pretty authentic representation of the E3 experience — waiting in line.
When I was at E3 2011, the E3 where the Wii U was originally announced, there was only 5 or 6 demo units set up using their prototype hardware that was made available on the general floor. If you wanted to take part in the Wii U demo, you needed to have found a place in the line within the first five minutes, otherwise the line would already be so packed that the show floor would close before you had your turn.
Even taking part in some of the other demos that was available at the time on Wii systems, such as Skyward Sword, required about a 15-30 minute wait in line, depending on how lucky you were.
As for this afternoon’s experience, I got to Best Buy about 35 min before they started things up at 4:00. I wanted to try to get there early to try to beat the line, maybe get back into the line the second time when my first time was done if it wasn’t too long. Turns out, I was still just shy of an hour in queue before I finally was able to get my turn. While I was waiting, I was able to get some videos of the two sets of people in front of me, the first playing Super Mario 3D World, and the other playing The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. Look for the videos and my thoughts on the actual gameplay after the jump.
When it got to be my turn, with three other people who also wanted to play Super Mario 3D World, everyone picked their controller of choice, I got the GamePad. Everyone picked their character of choice, I got Mario. Not a bad deal for letting everyone else make the choices, if you ask me.
Other than a problematic B-button on my GamePad, the demo went very smoothly. There were a lot of things going on in the screen with everyone running off in their own directions. I didn’t see any noticeable slowdown with the game running in 1080p, presumably at 60 frames per second. The cat suit is as fun to use as it looked in the Nintendo Direct. In the demo, all four players shared a pool of 50 lives, versus each player having their own separate set of lives, to make sure that they don’t end up getting a GAME OVER. I would expect this sharing of lives to persist into the final game, with a different amount of lives to start with. I got my five minutes of play in, finished the level by running up the flag pole to claim my 10,000 points and 1UP, and then left the area checking out where the end of the line was and determining if I want to jump back in it or not. Since I estimated the line was about 90 min long, I chose to head back home.
One more thing that I wanted to note was that using the GamePad did not lock you into being Mario. I could still have chosen to be any of the three other characters had I wished. So knowing that, and knowing that each of the four characters have specialized abilities, similar to Super Mario “Doki Doki Panic” Bros. 2, I would guess that in single-player mode, you could still choose your character of choice and not be “stuck” as Mario, for those who prefer to be Peach or Luigi. Is there really anyone out there who prefers to play as Toad, willingly?
Others in front of me did play the Mario Kart 8 demo, but none so close to me in line that I was able to get videos of it. Of the people 55 minutes in front of me all the way back to about 75 minutes behind me, no one was on the list for wanting to play Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. Most of the people were there to try out either Super Mario 3D World or The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.
As promised above the jump, here are the videos that I took. Enjoy!