Everyone has a holiday tradition. Nintendo’s just happens to be a mall tour. As they do every year, the company is ringing in the holidays by offering a chance to try their biggest games of the season at malls across the country. And this year, that means Smash Bros., Mario Kart, and a whole lot of Amiibo. We visited the Nintendo Holiday Mall Experience in Culver City, CA on opening day to see what mall-goers can expect when they take a break from shopping to kick back and play some games.
The booth itself is less flashy than in the past, replacing elaborate setups like this past summer’s Nintendo playground and 2012′s Wii U logo-shaped structure with a simple rectangular layout. Smack in the middle of that rectangle are multiplayer-ready demos of both Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Mario Kart 8, displayed back-to-back on giant screens. In front of each are also demo units for their handheld counterparts, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Mario Kart 7. In fact, the majority of the booth is divided by franchise in a similar fashion. Along each side are double-sided walls for the likes of The Legend of Zelda (featuring demos of Hyrule Warriors and A Link Between Worlds), Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, and a smaller stand showcasing Amiibo.
The remainder of the booth features individual demos units for an assortment of titles. In addition to the games mentioned above, the Wii U lineup includes Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Super Mario 3D World, Nintendo Land, and Skylanders: Trap Team, while 3DS games on hand include the likes of Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Yoshi’s New Island, Tomodachi Life, and Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal. In all, the booth lets you sample 15 games – a solid selection, but roughly half the size of last year’s Mall Experience lineup.
Along with games, Nintendo is also giving away Holiday Gift Guide booklets, stickers, Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire demo codes, and ‘Play Nintendo’ activity books for kids. While this year’s Holiday Mall Experience may be less flashy and varied than years past, it’s still worth stopping by if you’re near one of the tour’s 16 participating malls between now and December 21 (a full list of locations can be found on the Nintendo.com tour page). For those who can’t make it, the gallery below gives a taste of the experience.