This summer Nintendo is running a series of competitive events across the United States. Wii Games: Summer 2010 gives the American public an opportunity to play a variety of Wii titles in select cities across the United States. Doing well at the local events could mean going to the National Championships in Los Angeles, where the winning teams will win some pretty sweet prizes.
After making a road trip across the American Southwest (this is starting to sound like the plot of The Wizard) to visit my parents in Texas, I found myself mere miles from one of these events. With the prospect of Nintendo paying my way back home to Califooooornia, I coerced my poor mother into coming along with me to play some videogames at the Woodlands Mall.
Hit the jump to find out about our adventure and one of the coolest free videogame events you might have the opportunity to attend this summer.
After barely surviving the drive (getting in a car in Houston is like playing Russian roulette), and getting a little lost along the way we arrived safely at the Woodlands Mall. A corner of the mall was sectioned off, Nintendo banners were everywhere and a crowd was gathering – we found ourselves at the Wii Games: Summer 2010 event.
It was quite a spectacle: about thirty Wii consoles lined up in a row with as many “referees” on hand dressed in Nintendo-themed athletic gear helping contestants. Surrounding the game stations were booths for registration, prizes, and customizable Nintendo T-shirts.
Registration was as easy as picking a team name and signing a release form that waved our rights to sue Nintendo in the event that we hurt ourselves – which allowed me to reminisce about the first time I played a Wii and threw out my shoulder. We were then given lanyards on which we would later attach the “coins” necessary to win prizes.
Contestants earn coin stickers simply by playing the available games in the “free play” area. The games in this section included: Super Mario Galaxy 2, New Super Mario Bros Wii, Mario Kart Wii, Wii Fit Plus, Wii Sports Resort’s Archery, and Just Dance. Nintendo employees were on hand to perform crucial tasks such as attaching the Wii-remote strap to your wrist for you, and telling you helpful tips such as “the A button is for jumping”.
During the “free play” games we found out a few things: 1. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is probably not the best introduction to videogames. 2. For all their simplicity, casual games are not necessarily as easy or mindless as you might first believe. 3. Nintendo has really pulled off something truly spectacular when someone who is five years old can play alongside someone else who is fifty and have both individuals enjoy themselves thoroughly.
Tatsunoko vs. Capcom was also playable in the “free play” area, but was the only station that did not earn coins as an incentive. The MacGregor Clan decided to play some Tatsunoko vs. Capcom anyway. Not only did it allow me to try out the Hori Wii Arcade Sticks, but I also found out that my mother is strangely adept at two-dimensional fighters. It was also satisfying to beat a teenager (who narrated his matches like an angry child playing a first-person shooter on Xbox Live) with a spinning bird kick to the face.
After we finished playing all the games in the “free play” area, aside from Just Dance which involved leaving the event area to embarrassingly dance on-stage in the main area of the mall, we went to the prize booth to receive our rewards. There was plenty of Nintendo swag to be had, with three tiers of prizes that corresponded to the number of coins you had collected in the “free play” area.
After taking my Koopa friend over to the food court to get some lunch, we headed over to the “national competition” section of event. There we were met by official Nintendo “Referees” who walked us through the five competitive events which consisted of: Wii Sports Resort Basketball, Wii Fit Plus Hula Hoop, Wii Sports Resort Bowling, a Mario Kart race, and a co-operative coin grab stage of New Super Mario Bros Wii.
After our performance, valiant as it may have been, I do not think Nintendo will be sending the MacGregors to compete in the National Championships. After completing the competitive portion of the event, the Nintendo employees then welcomed us to design and create our own custom T-shirts.
All in all, it was a fun filled afternoon. With plenty of fun, free stuff, and the potential of winning some really amazing prizes at the Championships, I would strongly encourage anyone to attend the event if it is coming to a mall or theme park near you. Unfortunately, because Houston was one of the last cities that Nintendo came to during the Wii Games: Summer 2010 tour across America, I could not bring you this coverage sooner. This weekend, Friday 13th – Sunday 15th of August will be the last set of events in the tour.
If you live in Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas or Washington you still have one last chance to get in on the fun. You can find scheduling for the events here, so “get up and get playing”.