Last night heralded the beginning of multiple E3 events – we had new content announcements for Super Smash Bros Wii U with a few new character details, while Bethesda dropped the bombshell that was a 2015 Fallout 4 release with some gamplay as well as announcing Dishonored 2 . This post isn’t about those events though; instead we’ll be looking at probably the best thing I’ve watched all year (and that includes 49 episodes of Game of Thrones) – The Nintendo World Championships 2015.
As a warning this post will contain spoilers for the event so if you haven’t seen it yet but want to, take a look at the video below:
You’re back? Well, that was amazing fun, wasn’t it? Commentary on Splatoon aside it was exciting, interesting and above all else just plain fun. I never thought I’d be on the edge of my seat for a race through the first dungeon in The Legend of Zelda, or cheering on people I had no clue about during a Mario Kart race.
As a spectacle, they did a good job of mixing up the games and genres with each of them seemingly having a low barrier for entry and most importantly being easy to understand. I feel that regular esports (MOBAs and RTS games specifically) don’t realise how confusing their jargon can be to the uninitiated but Nintendo countered that with easy to play and understand, difficult to master games. The variety on show too was far more interesting than seeing the same thing for 4 hours straight; I understand the base appeal (hell, sport is based around the concept), but for something like gaming having an assortment of titles is more interesting to the casual viewer, especially when you don’t know what’s about to come up.
It also succeeded in one of the show’s major goals – to make people excited about Super Mario Maker. Some of the levels on display were ridiculous and I can see a lot of people having fun with some of the better user created levels (even if 90% of them will be awful). However, it also made me want to dig out the classics; I want to play some more Mario Kart after seeing that, as well as give Super Metroid another spin.
The event wasn’t without it’s faults of course. Getting a 9-year old to commentate on Splatoon was idiotic and it was very difficult to put gamer IDs to faces. I had no idea who John Numbers was until the final round as it was the only one that showed a lot of the person playing. If Nintendo do this in the future, they need to keep track of their contestants a lot better – pre and post match interviews can be pretty boring but even something as simple as a graphics showing names and faces of the people currently playing would be helpful.
Saying that, I can’t wait for if/when Nintendo decide to do this again. I don’t know if it would work every year, but I certainly don’t want to have to wait another 25. This is the decathlon of e-sports, and right now Jonh Numbers is its Daley Thompson. Roll on NWC 20xx!