The holidays are upon us and that means lots of family gatherings, festive foods, and yes, Nintendo taking over malls. Like clockwork every year since the Wii launch in 2006, Nintendo has put its latest and greatest wares in front of consumers as they rush to malls for the year’s biggest shopping season. There’s no better way to show off the Wii’s motion gaming, the 3DS’s full 3D effect, or the Wii U’s two-screened gameplay than by placing them directly in people’s hands. This year is no different with the 2012 Nintendo Holiday Mall Experience.
We recently took a trip to the Westfield Culver City mall in Los Angeles to see how this year’s experience shapes up. As always, Nintendo has created an eye-catching booth that provides dedicated spaces for its primary systems. Wii U demo units flank the outside of the booth, which this year takes the shape of the Wii U’s “U” logo. Inside, visitors can find multiple 3DS XL units and walls covered floor-to-ceiling with Wii U and 3DS information. Nintendo has also placed QR codes all over the booth that point people to its special Holiday Gift Guide subsite.
A total of 22 games are available to try at the booth. For Wii U, there are dedicated kiosks set up for New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo Land, ZombiU, Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition, and FIFA Soccer 13. You can also request to try Sing Party, Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, Just Dance 4, Scribblenauts Unlimited, Madden NFL 13, and Darksiders II. 3DS demos include New Super Mario Bros. 2, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Pokedex 3D Pro, Sparkle Snapshot 3D, Style Savvy: Trendsetters, Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, Skylanders Giants, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, Adventure Time: Hey Ice King! Why’d You Steal Our Garbage?!!, and even oldies-but-goodies Mario Kart 7 and Super Mario 3D Land.
Beyond pure games, Nintendo is also promising special competitions, photo-ops with costumed characters, and various freebie giveaways on weekends. Select locations will even host special video chats with “Mario,” providing the opportunity to chat with Mario voice actor Charles Martinet – in character as a CG-powered Mario – in real-time. These live video chats have previously been offered at the Nintendo World Store in New York and San Diego Comic-Con, and we can say first hand that they are surprisingly fun (and funny!).
Clearly there is a lot to do at this year’s Nintendo Holiday Mall Experience. We highly recommend checking it out, whether you are going to try the Wii U for the first time or just looking into the latest 3DS games. Booths are open until December 16 in 26 malls nationwide, a list of which can be found on the official site. If you can’t make it or don’t have a supported mall near you, we’ve included some photos below to give you a taste of the experience.