New Super Mario Bros. 2 has been shown in public for the very first time in Sydney at an unseemly EB Games store buried in Ultimo in the heart of the city.
Nintendo had invited teams of lucky contestant winners along for the fun day out where they had the chance to try out Mario’s latest adventure playing on the brand new Nintendo 3DS XL console. Aussie-Gamer were invited along as guests of Nintendo to check out the festivities. We were asked to bring walking shoes.
And boy did we need them.
After stupidly deciding to drive to the event, we arrived at the EB Games store, just opposite of Broadway Shopping Centre at the ungodly time for a Saturday morning of 10am. It was your usual scene of awkward geeks, cuing up outside the store, wondering when it would be socially acceptable to enter. The answer, it turns out, is when we walked in.
The Nintendo crew were adorned in yellow and they had a mission for us: 100 posters were placed around the city. Our job was to find them. Seems like an easy task, right? The more posters we found, the more points we earned – the team with the most points at the end of the day was awarded a copy of New Super Mario Bros. 2, a Mario trophy and a Nintendo 3DS XL console each!
With the sound of a horn that no doubt startled on-lookers, we were off and racing – but the task of finding posters in a radius of some 7 Sydney city blocks was harder than it first seemed. We had a map of the perimeter of where the posters were placed, but this city is a harsh mistress, full of twists and turns, alley ways and highways.
We were having a blast looking for these posters – but the sun had other ideas. It decided to hide the entire time, making our lives all the more difficult. Then came the wind. And the rain. Suddenly, we were thrust into a real-life version of The Legend of Zelda, endlessly looking for the loot in strange and bizarre locations with all the forces of nature against us.
The rules were pretty straight forward: find the poster and take a photo of it. The catch was that only one camera was allowed, and in our teams of four we had to have three people in the photo at each poster. Having seen every single adventure and horror movie created in the 1980’s, our team decided it would be a good idea to split up.
I have no idea if that worked or not. One group of two would find a poster and just stand there waiting for the other group to catch up so that we may take the photo. At the end, we had to run around the city blocks, hopelessly looking for these posters. It was mad.
We came across one poster that had blown off whatever pole it was supposed to be affixed to – our hearts sank. What if this wild weather had ruined our chances of finding more? Our minds swelled with worst-case scenarios – what if the council tore them down? What if there were no posters and all this was just some sick game cooked up by some insane person?
We didn’t even have the luxury of time – in total, we had just 90 minutes to find as many posters as possible. After getting lost at some dank corner of the city, we did what any intelligent group would do: split a cab back to the EB Games store.
In total, we managed to get what we were told was an impressive 11 posters. But this was only the first leg of this competition.
After having proven our worth, we were ushered over to a table where it was game on! The home run of this competition involved playing through New Super Mario Bros. 2‘s “Coin Rush” mode, which randomly selects three levels from the game. We had to collect as many coins as we could in the five allocated minutes. 100 coins gave us one point, but Nintendo were happy to round up the points – if we had 101 coins, we would get 2 points.
Easier said than done, it seems. Our first player was trying to collect as many coins as possible, carefully walking through the level to make sure each block was hit. The problem was that time was running out – it wasn’t really explained to us that if time ran out on the level, it would mean that no points would be recorded.
With those rules now established, our second player did much better. He got through all three levels with 1,700 coins – or 17 points. My turn was next.
I took the console. The Nintendo 3DS XL screen is very, very large. In fact, it looks huge compared to the original. None of the detail is sacrificed, though – the screen still looks clean and even though the images literally “pop” out of the screen, this was really something special. The larger size of the console accommodated my “meat hands” quite well. I thought I had this in the bag.
The saddest part of my story here is that the game automatically, and randomly, selected the level 1-1 for my first level. This is the “tutorial” level, as any Mario fan will tell you. It’s supposed to be the easy one.
I was going okay, grabbing coins here and there knowing that the second level probably had more coins to be collected than the first. I had maybe 100 coins – not much, but my plan was to go for that second level. I hit a Goomba, losing my Super Mushroom. No big deal, I thought to myself – it’s Mario. I can do this.
I hit a block, and up popped another Mushroom – when suddenly, I saw the flagpole! The end of the level! Time slowed down. I could hear the roar of my team behind me. They were excited and angry at… something. But what? And then I saw it.
A wall of Goombas. One stacked on top of each other, as high as the pole itself. They had come back to finish me off.
Maybe I should’ve listened to my team mates, and the Nintendo rep. “Get the Mushroom!!” the entire world was yelling in my ear – but I could make it. One small hop over this block and I’d hit the flag pole, turning all these enemies into coins. I ran over the platform and…
Fell. Within moments, Mario was dead, and so was my part in the competition. One life is all we were allowed.
I did the walk of shame, and handed the game over to my teammate. He had an eye on that prize and was in the zone. Every jump was perfect, every coin collected. He hated the underwater level, but blitz it anyway. His final level was a castle, and he was running out of time. Coins were flooding in, the counter went up and up. He was on 2,900 and his time was almost up. If the five minutes ran out before he finished the level, it would all be over.
I nervously looked on as the Nintendo rep’s stopwatch counted down the seconds. He’s not going to make it! The exit door was so close, but there was only 3 seconds left. Literally, in the last second, my team mate – blissfully unaware of the time – waltz through the door, finishing the level and securing almost 30 points!
Alas, it was no good. Sadly, my incompetence let the team down and we walked away with second prize. In a perfect world, I would report the winners’ points – I think out of the whole group, our team (aptly named “Untitled”) found the most posters, but the rep was so excited to give out the prize she forgot to announce the final tally for the winners.
The winners, however, seemed quite pleased.
We might not have won, the weather wanted to kill us and I publicly sucked at Mario but all in all, it was a fun day out in Sydney!
Aussie-Gamer was also at the Melbourne event! Head here to read our coverage!
I got the chance to have some nice hands-on time with New Super Mario Bros. 2. It plays as you’d expect if you’re a fan of the New Super Mario Bros. series, starting with the Nintendo DS version and following up with the Wii version.
The controls feel tighter than the Nintendo DS and Wii versions, however – which is a good thing. One of the elements that struck me the most, though, was the way the game uses 3D. Things don’t “fly at your face”, but as you turn up the 3D slider, the background slowly gets a little, for lack of a better term, blurrier.
The elements that are supposed to be off in the distance actually look like they’re off in the distance, and Mario – and the level you’re playing on – gets closer. This looks absolutely beautiful and appears to be a totally new camera technique. Hopefully we see this evolve and be used in many other games in the future.
This was merely just a taste of the entire game, however. New Super Mario Bros. 2 will hit Australian stores on August 18. Look out this week for our full review of the game!
Nintendo’s new version of the 3DS is bigger – much, much bigger. The screen is huge and is probably best appreciated if you already are familiar with the original size of the Nintendo 3DS.
There is a slight downside, though – the new plastic has lost it’s high luxury, premium feeling. It still feels solid, but not as classy. This softer plastic means – hopefully – no more “bottom screen lines” on the top screen. I did try to see if the Nintendo 3DS XL was going to re-produce this annoyance but was unable to replicate it.
The outside shell reminded me of the shell of an M&M – which is pretty cool (and delicious). In person, it’s more alluring than in the photos you’ve probably seen around the internet. It’s more of a matte finish, but it has a depth to it, similar to the coating on the original 3DS console.
We’ll have a much more indepth review of the Nintendo 3DS XL console closer to its Australian launch. You can pick up the console on August 23 in Australia and New Zealand.