The wait is over! The Nintendo 3DS officially launched on the 31st of March, 2011 at the stroke of midnight. To ring in a new age of 3D technology without glasses, Nintendo Australia in conjunction with EB Games put on a Celebration Event open to the public (for young and old) at EB Games Swanston St in Melbourne, Australia.
The Celebration Event kicked off at 10pm with crowds gathering from the outset. Customers were given the opportunity to pay off their Nintendo 3DS preorder and purchase any additional games or accessories at special discounts. Once the nitty-gritty part was out of the way, visitors made their way up the stairs to The Nintendo Experience where the celebrations were taking place.
I arrived with friends at approximately 10:10pm and The Nintendo Experience was already nearly full capacity and in full swing. Guests inched their way around to the different display booths in a courteous manner. My first instinct was to explore everything so I made a loop around to see what was on offer.
Balloons and streamers filled the room creating a party atmosphere. Food, drinks and music were provided with a selection of nibblies from cupcakes, donuts, finger foods to sushi. Ice cold drinks kept everyone’s energy levels up as guests played some Nintendo favourites that included New Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart Wii and Donkey Kong Country Returns. Popular Nintendo DS titles were also available for demo. I had a try of Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem however my decision to forgo the tutorial left me clueless on what to do so I quickly got up to get something to drink.
I spotted a dedicated Nintendo fan named Michelle dressed in full Link attire complete with sword, shield and bow. I snapped a quick photo but thinking back on it now, I regret not taking a photo of her next to the Link statue in the corner. She was extremely generous with her time and obliged to the many photo requests by other guests throughout the night.
Friendly staff were on-hand with Nintendo 3DS consoles in tow to give everyone a chance to try out the magic of 3D for themselves. I tried to get my grubby hands on a Nintendo 3DS to experience 3D without glasses for the first time, but so did everyone else. I decided to take some time out and made my way to the Mii creation corner where staff were crafting Mii souvenir.
Utilising the in-built camera of the Nintendo 3DS, a staff member took a photo of me (or should I say mii) and made a customised Mii print with souvenir card as a momento for me to take home.
Jamie, the MC kept everyone entertained and in good spirits running giveaways at intervals throughout the night handing out mugs, t-shirts, lanyards, notepads with pens, 3ds screen wipes and more. I tried to get close enough to participate but there were far too many people. In the end I just asked Jamie who generously handed me a notepad with pen and a 3DS lanyard.
Yuji Bando, Managing Director of Nintendo Australia was in attendance however maintained a low profile while soaking in the atmosphere as attendees revelled at the features of the Nintendo 3DS.
As midnight approached, we were all ushered downstairs to prepare for the countdown to this once-in-a-lifetime event. Queues formed with people overflowing all the way out onto the sidewalk. Jamie weaved his magic and held a couple of pop quizzes and more giveaways to get everyone fired up. Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition proved to be a hot title with the last copy in-store being sold at 11:57pm. The countdown began and before we knew it, the era of the Nintendo 3DS was upon us.
The first Nintendo 3DS of the night went to Wayne, self-proclaimed number 1 Nintendo fan who was greeted with cheers and adulation from others in the queue as he collected his console. The rest in the queue received their new Nintendo 3DS consoles in the order that they paid before shuffling away to open up their fresh 3DS packages.
Everyone that attended the event received a raffle ticket for a chance to win a Nintendo 3DS. The draw took place at 12:05am and the winner was none other than popular Link cosplayer Michelle (congratulations!). The best part of it all was Michelle didn’t preorder a Nintendo 3DS. Talk about having an amazing night!
Sighs of disappointment could be heard throughout the crowd at the revelation the winner was not themselves (myself included). Once the excitement of the giveaway was over, early adopters of the Nintendo 3DS hurriedly unpacked their purchase before giving their new console a whirl. The upstairs Nintendo Experience re-opened with 3DS owners provided with a chance to activate StreetPass and collect Mii characters from others.
Some tinkered with their Mii, others gave StreetPass a go while most got straight into the game/s they had purchased. I watched as a father and son went head to head in Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition with a flurry of button taps. Entertaining to watch, just proving you are never too old for video games.
The night drew to a close at 1am and EB Games closed for what was a very long day for all the staff involved. Strangely awake yet exhausted, I picked up a coffee, dropped my friends off home before returning to my own home where I find myself writing about the launch event.
A memorable experience with loads of giveaways and things to see and do. Nintendo Australia and EB Games know how to put on a good show and they sure did it in spectacular fashion. No doubt the Nintendo 3DS will be a hit but this weary-eyed writer needs some slumber time before putting anymore thought into that statement. Until next time.