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Vancouver's Nintendo 3DS Launch Party

In the world of the Gamer there is no larger event than the launch of a new console. Considering we generally only get to see one every five years or so, it would be easy to compare a video game console launch to the Olympics. That in mind, a smaller hand-held launch like this weekend’s launch of the new Nintendo 3DS might be compared to something like the winter Olympics (assuming you’re not of Canadian heritage, because arguably those are far more interesting to us).

You can always rely on some kind of community event being held to celebrate the momentous occasion; especially if you happen to live in a larger city. Nintendo of America decided to celebrate their release of the 3DS across the country (well, countries the US has its own events) by hosting a series of ‘launch parties’. The Shogun Gamer Vancouver crew made sure to get to the local launch to see what was being offered up for early adopters of hand-held 3D gaming.

Starting at 6pm on Saturday night, Nintendo rolled in a mobile booth to demo the 3DS several hours before its launch. Though I personally wasn’t able to see the beginning, (arriving a few minutes late) it was retold that the caravan-looking display opened with a series of lights and smoke to the (maybe 10?) fans waiting in line to get their hands on the console early. While weren’t sure what was going to be available (aside from some hands-on time with the new console, and a lot of waiting around in the cold); we did know that if there’s an event in our own back-yard we should be there.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot to see. In the five-hour ‘launch party’ there wasn’t much more than a load of Nintendo representatives showing off the console and games that would be available for purchase in six hours’ time. More interesting was the positioning of the ‘party’ and the lack of signage to let people know what was going on.

Upon first arrival at the site, we walked right past twice. It was one small booth, hidden in behind a train station entrance. There were no signs pointing towards the ‘event’ which meant we just had to wander around the area where the event was supposed to be taking place.

 People that did find the booth/line-up seemed a little confused by it as well. A group standing directly in front of us in the line to play the 3DS assumed it was a play test for the NGP (Next Generation Portable from Sony) and when they found out it was for a Nintendo product, promptly left the line.

Fanboys aside, there was fun to be had. For a lot of people this was their first chance to go hands-on with the unit, and the reception was pretty positive over-all. In the photo-gallery you’ll see everyone with smiles on their faces, enjoying their time with Nintendo’s latest and greatest hand-held. Most of the people that we managed to get ‘action shots’ of were not even aware that they were being photographed, so their expressions are natural.  

There was also the opportunity to get a limited edition launch-party t-shirt or toque from the PR reps at Nintendo. You had a choice of one or the other, and considering the sharp temperature drop shortly after we arrived, the toque seemed the appropriate choice on my part; though more people opted for a limited-run shirt.

Now that we’re living in a post-launch 3DS-filled world, you can expect a series of reviews of both the Nintendo 3DS hardware, and it’s launch-lined up from the Shogun Gamer staff in the upcoming week!