Where: Nintendo Connection, Myer Sydney.
When: ~6PM until ~9PM February 10, 2011. Though I probably left at ~7PM.
Event: 3DS Preview thing.
The day began unlike most days as this would be the one day I have off TAFE (Technical College) due to awesome timetabling by the I.T staff at the campus I attend to become educated. I awoke at approximately 1PM, due to an alarm error on my phone, and proceeded to take a hot and steamy shower to make myself clean and to remove the trace-amounts of beard I may or may not have growing in strange patches on my face. Upon exiting the shower I did stuff that I don’t quite remember, though, I’m sure I had some kind of chicken for lunch (it may or may not have been alien). I left home at ~3:20PM to catch the bus to my local train station.
After waiting ~45 minutes for my bus to arrive (seriously, bus company that I’m not going to mention the name of, stick to your timetable! Buses are to come on the time that they are announced to arrive at, not way before or way after… on… freaking… time!) it finally does and I board it and it’s all good. The bus trip itself was largely uneventful, but my trusty MP4 player came in handy and I rocked out to Galneryus. I probably shouldn’t headbang on public transport though (not that anything bad or embarrassing happened this time, it’s just some kind of weird reflex that I have no control over). Anyways, after the ~20minute bus trip, I finally arrive at the train station.
I make a small detour to the local shopping center to grab some cash to spend on stuff and in-case of emergency, stop in at the 7/11 for some drinks/snacks then make my way to the train station. I sprint up the stairs, ninjaing two-steps at a time while maintaining a high speed (seriously those stairs go up about 10meters high, and come out about 7 meters, I can do them in about 3 seconds; faster going downwards) and as I make it to the top of the stairs I notice a train leaving. Luckily it was heading in the opposite direction to where I wanted to go, but at the time that I was there it meant that all the workers were coming off the train and home from work. I had to dodge a very large number of people down a narrow corridor to make it to the ticket vendors. Luckily for me; I lived and made it to the vendors. I promptly purchased a return ticket ($6 to get to Sydney for a student, the heck is up with that!? No wonder nobody uses the public transport system in this state, it’s consistently late and way over-priced.) and headed down to the platform to wait for the arrival of the incoming train, which arrived at ~5pm.
The train-trip was largely uneventful, I’m sure a couple of ladies were either checking me out or wondering what I was doing out of my parents basement (I don’t actually live in a basement…); but other than that, nothing really to report on. It was ~6PM when the train arrived at Town Hall station. It’s lucky that the Myer store was only “7minutes” away according to Google maps. It lied, who were they timing when they made that measurement? The Trip was much closer to 4 minutes.
So I’m now at the Myer and powering to the top of the escalator maze that would ultimately lead me to my destination, The Nintendo Connection, the sixth and (from what I could tell) final floor of the complex. I reach the sixth floor and take a quick look at my surroundings; firstly, to ensure that there were no boss monsters around; and secondly, to get a decent look at Nintendo’s best marketing campaign ever. For those of you who don’t know about Nintendo’s best marketing campaign ever, I shall quickly explain it hence:
Rediculously beautiful ladies with gaming devices attached to their belts.
Picture that Phil took of Nintendo lady rep because when I was talking to them I forgot to ask for one… (Note, from the Sydney Launch Event ).
That is all… well, there were some dudes with the traits that can be considered handsome, but I’m probably not the best judge on that.
Anyways, I see this massive queue and I immediately go to join it. I walk about 75% of it before noticing everyone has some kind of neckband thing with some kind of herding marker attached to it.
I briefly ask myself how I could have missed it when a nice chap explained to me that some dude in black was handing them out back at the front. I head all the way back and engage in a conversation minigame with a female NPC. After a few minutes and a joke or two (high speechcraft, this will come in handy later in the story) I find out the location of the dude in black and get a cattle-tag off him. 150. That’s me, the same number Professor Oak claims that are number of Pokemon species, awesome! I take my tag, neck it and power to what appears to be the end of the queue.
Before me sat and stood a small conglomerate of other interested parties (nerds) and maybe a nerdy couple or two. I asked them if it was the end of the queue, maintaining a high level of language that would get me killed at any other locale, to which they responded positively. Joy! Shortly after, another dude who was by himself approached, I’m not quite sure if he was tagless and I prompted him to get a tag, or if he already had a tag and joined in on the queue. Anyways, we got along pretty well (though he didn’t seem to be too much of a nerd) and were talking and making jokes and observationalist comedy throughout the tedium of the queue. At certain points, during the time in which we were enqueued, one of the “Nintendo” reps would come around and let us know stuff and that. At around the 20 minute mark I tried to convince her that I was part of the Gaming Press and to let me and my compadre through. She went and asked somebody and came back with a no (Phil, I really need a business card. Make me some?).
We reached what seemed to be near the end of the line and our favorite rep gave us some free Fantales and Jelly-based lollies. MMmmmm. Also, a reasonably attractive male rep came along with a 3DS to whet the appetites of those in the line. He was going to start previewing it to the people just behind us, had I not interjected with a witty quip which made the other cute lady rep laugh and give us a look first. Go me! The unit that we watched through had a pre-recorded version of Resident Evil playing. The graphics on that game are stunning! They’re almost identical to the 360 version of Resident Evil 5, which quite impressive for a handheld that not only has to produce detailed graphics but must also do it two-three times to produce the three-dimensional effect of the game! And the 3D, the 3D! The depth is amazing, it takes about 10 seconds for your eyes to merge the images, but after that; it’s amazing! Seriously, it’s so hard to describe how amazing the tech is. Gameplay wise, it helps tremendously. Not only can you accurately gauge the distance of objects, enemies and walls; but it also fits the game perfectly. Resident Evil could be much more scary with enemies popping way out at you, I know it helped the atmosphere in the level that was shown. After passing the 3DS’ around between our small party, we were finally allowed to move in and trial some games.
I quickly scanned the area for games that would interest me, all the Super Street Fighter IV 3DS ladies were taken, I finally settled on Kid Icarus: Uprising. The rep set it to hard mode and I had eight minutes to learn and beat the level (that’s what all the demo’s were locked to, we had 10mins play time all up). In the level I got to play in I was on foot and had to make my way somewhere other than where I started, while killing enemies along the way. The slide-pad is used for movement where the touch screen was used for aiming and the L-button for shooting. I have no idea if there were multiple control schemes, I didn’t want to waste time checking. The slide-pad movement felt very natural despite it’s odd-looking placement. The game itself was quite pretty, though it didn’t appear to be as pretty as Resident Evil or Ocarina of Time, and was absolutely amazingly fun to play. The added depth from the 3D really makes a huge difference in dealing with enemy locations and the game benefitted immensely from it. What didn’t benefit the game was the rep demonstrating the 3D slider being turned off while I was in the middle of a fight, nearly got me killed (FPS’ reflexes and partially photographic memory really helped there). Everytime you adjust the 3D your eyes take roughly ten second to recover from the trauma. Shortly after I took a ride on some kind of zip-line through the sky the games timer ended and I moved on to Ocarina of Time.
I really didn’t want to play this game as I didn’t want to spoil the surprise for when I would eventually get it on release. But man, I’m glad I did. Enhanced graphics! 3D! Depth! Controls similar to the Gamecube versions, touchscreen inventory and gyroscopic aiming (optional); this would be the second most definitive version of Ocarina of Time (first being the N64 version, I don’t care what any of you say, LALALALALALALALALALALA~ can’t hear you). Anyways, I picked up the unit and asked the dude how long the demo went for, he told me it was eight minutes long. I had two-minutes left, but I had completely forgotten about that fact. Finish the Deku-Tree in eight minutes? I’ve done it in less. I ask the guy if he wanted to see a Deku-Tree speed run, he announced to the crowd that I was going to attempt a world-first Deku-Tree speed run on the 3DS. I’m not sure if there was a cheer or not, but I knew I could do it. Slightly over a minute to go and I start the dungeon. Straight up the ladder, screw the dungeon map, who needs one of those!? Door, jump the thingy, slingshot get! Floor, aim straight up, hit the ladder, climb up, door. Backtrack to vines, kill the two spiders, climb up. Deku stick the Big spider, jump down, miss the web… GAH! Climb back up, ~45 seconds to go, hit the web, light the thingy, light the stick, burn the web, door, kill the deku scrub, ~10seconds to go, stop running you Deku! Times up. Damn…. Tried bargaining for more time, didn’t work.
I started to head out when I saw this really pretty “Nintendo” rep standing around all lonely, all the nerds ignoring her, so I struck up a conversation. I learned a few things. First, is that I might actually be slightly funny. Second is that they don’t actually work at Nintendo, they’re from talent agencies out-sourced as “crowd-control” and that third, she was really, really nice and seemed quite knowledgeable of the device and event. Where’d that guy go that I was in line with? I forgot to get his Facebook…
I promptly left for home, free 3DS neckband and cattle-label wrapped around my neck, and felt as though I had just, very briefly, been a part of the future of gaming.
Sidenote: Nintendo, more campaigns like this one please.
So all in all, the 3DS is an amazing technological marvel, it will be the future of handheld gaming and it is a universe of joy! I’m still feeling the glee two full days after playing.