Extra: Nintendo’s Back-to-Basics Holiday Tour

On November 14, 2017 by Jason Rechtman

Extra: Nintendo's Back-to-Basics Holiday Tour

It’s the Switch’s first holiday, and with that comes a tried and true Nintendo tradition: the mall tour. Yes, after a one-year hiatus in 2016, Nintendo’s Holiday Experience is back in malls across America to give shoppers a chance to try Nintendo’s latest and greatest. We visited the tour’s Torrance, CA location on opening weekend and discovered that more than ever before, it’s all about the games. Read on to see what to expect, as well as our full photo gallery from the event.

When we say it’s about the games, we really mean it. This year’s tour offers no props, no photo ops, no character appearances; just game after game. It’s a stark contrast to the elaborate playground aesthetic of the Play Nintendo Tour, where you’d go from playing a Yoshi game inside an egg to a Mario game on a giant warp pipe. Heck, Nintendo didn’t even make this year’s booth a giant logo like they did for the Wii U’s debut mall tour back in 2012. Instead, they simple lined the entire space with games. Along the outsides are the buzziest titles of the bunch, Super Mario Odyssey and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Inside are TVs dedicated to Splatoon 2, Pokken Tournament DX, Mario + Rabbids, and a single TV shared by ARMS and Fire Emblem Warriors. Front and center is a massive two-sided screen that plays host to Mario Kart 8 Deluxe races on one side, and a demo of Super Mario Odyssey on the other. Nintendo also set up a table where visitors can try NBA 2K and FIFA 18 exclusively in Switch’s handheld mode. They’re the only multiplatform titles on display, and cleverly, they’re presented using the Switch’s biggest selling point of portability.

The 3DS also has a presence, but it’s limited to one small table off to the side. On it, you’ll find three 3DS demo units – one for each currently available model (2DS, 2DS XL, and New 3DS XL) – running Metroid; Samus Returns, Mario Party: The Top 100, and New Super Mario Bros. 2. This area is also where you can check-in as a My Nintendo member, which will net you a free Platinum Points scratch-off card that rewards you either 100, 300, or 500 points. If you prefer your freebies check-in-free, gift guides are available throughout the booth that come with a rather nice paper pop-up Mario ornament.

As a whole, this year’s Holiday Experience is a simpler affair, but one that lets the games speak for themselves. It exhibits a confidence we haven’t seen from Nintendo in a while, one where the company clearly knows they have the hot item this holiday. If you live near one of the 17 participating malls listed on the tour’s official site, you can visit for yourself until December 17. If not, our gallery below gives you a taste of the experience.

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