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ICYMI: Nintendo Brings Joy and Wonder to Seattle for Their First Live Event in the United States

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

By Antonio Nevarez

Edited by Marian Mohamed

Luigi uses his hat as a parachute in front of a poster advertising Super Mario Bros. Wonder at Seattle's Nintendo Live 2023 event. (Photo/Dash Pinck)

From Sept. 1 to Sept. 4, Nintendo offered fans of the video game company an in-person opportunity to attend Nintendo Live 2023. The inaugural Nintendo Live event took place in Kyoto, Japan in 2018, with the subsequent events occurring in Japan. However, Nintendo Live 2023 took place at the Seattle Convention Center Arch building, making it the first event in the series to take place in North America.

Jim Urbaitus, Vice President of Consumer Marketing at Nintendo of America, explains the decision to bring what used to be a Japan-exclusive event to North America.

“We look at this as an opportunity to celebrate with our fans. This is an age 5 to 95 experience, where everyone of all ages can come here,” Urbaitus said. “We just feel grateful and humbled and honored to be able to bring smiles to so many people over this weekend.”

With the event announcement shared in May 2023, those interested in attending Nintendo Live 2023 had the option to register for a chance to win tickets. While tickets for the event were free, they were given out randomly via a lottery-based system. Urbaitus explains that using a lottery system would make entrance to the free event more fair.

“We wanted this to be an experience for everyone. Families, kids, gamers, non-gamers,” Urbaitus said. “So we really wanted it to be open to as many people as possible with a lottery system so that everyone can come for free and have smiles.”

Registration required applicants to link their Nintendo accounts, with roughly 1,000 tickets for each day being given to individual applicants. Whereas 4,000 tickets for each day of the event were given to families who registered. Ticket winners were granted a pass for one out of the four days at Nintendo Live 2023.

A 15-foot-tall statue of Bowser made from LEGOs. (Photo/Dash Pinck)

Once inside the Seattle Convention Center, Nintendo Live attendees checked in at the front desk where they were given free Nintendo-themed goodie bags along with their choice of either a Mario, Luigi, or Princess Peach-themed paper hat.

Past check-in, attendees could enter the Nintendo Live show floor, where some of Nintendo’s most popular video game franchises were represented differently. From booths to photo-ops with costume characters, to full orchestras playing songs from iconic Nintendo games, Nintendo fans could engage with the games they love in ways they may have never done before.

In addition to the specially themed booths, Nintendo Live-goers had the chance to compete in "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" and "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" tournaments. These tournaments varied in competitiveness, meaning players could either participate in high-stakes tournaments for a grand prize or a more casual competition for a simpler reward.

On Sept. 1, attendees sit in front of a small stage where two people learn how to play "Super Mario Kart 8". (Photo/Dash Pinck)

Out of all of the attractions at Nintendo Live 2023, one stood out the most— the unveiling of the new "Super Mario Bros. Wonder" game. Although the game is set to be released this fall, Nintendo opted to allow Nintendo Live attendees to demo the game, a feature of the event they did not reveal prior to the show’s start. With "Super Mario Bros. Wonder" being the first 2D Mario game in 10 years, Urbaitus describes what makes the upcoming game so specialized and different from previous games.

“["Super Mario Bros. Wonder"] is really about jumping into the unexpected. And with that, newcomers to the franchise can experience the game and not have to worry about getting stuck running into a Goomba or any of that. Or if you are familiar with a franchise, you can jump in with Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, and a handful of other characters.” Urbaitus said. “For me, it's really this accessible and fun experience for all ages to play the game. So it's a really nice opportunity to bring newcomers into the franchise to let people play the game. And maybe those of us who grew up with it to experience something new and wonderful.”


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