As many of you know, my wife and I were fortunate enough to win the Wii Games in August. On September 2-6, Nintendo flew us out to Redondo Beach, CA, for the national championship. Along with 200 others, we competed for a chance at the final round. Those competitors represented their respective categories of adult, super-adult, teens, parent-teen, parent-child, and family.
When we arrived on Thursday night, we were shuttled to our hotel. Friday morning, we all gathered on the beach for a “media moment,” where we all hopped on a Wii Balance Board sitting on the beach. After we pretended to play Wii Fit Plus Hula Hoop with the mayor and Olympian Shawn Johnson, we were allowed to enter the tent.
After entering, we learned that the games were the same, but the rules would change a bit for this round. The games were Wii Sports Resort Bowling, Wii Fit Plus Hula Hoop, Wii Sport Resort Basketball (3-pt. shoot), Mario Kart Wii (time trial), and New Super Mario Bros. Wii (coin challenge). In previous play, each partner played two games before going cooperative in NSMB. This time, we would play each game twice, and they allowed each of us to play all four before NSMB. The top score would be used. The only negative on this was that Bowling was split in half. One partner would bowl the first five frame, and the other partner would finish. This only made it more difficult to keep a steady rhythm.
The categories were split up between two days of competition. Ours, the adults, competed on Friday afternoon. After several hours of practice, we headed into the center of the tent. All in all, we felt like we did not do as well as practiced. However, we did do better than our Six Flags qualifying round. We were not super pleased with our performance, but after seeing others who were in the top four, we knew that we did not really stand a chance. Many of them seemed like robots, moving in rhythm on every basketball shot or bowling frame. Those top four teams in each category moved on to the final round on Sunday. Unfortunately, we were not among that group. The good thing was that we did not have to worry about competing anymore, and we were able to relax and enjoy the rest of the weekend. All the while, others were practicing nonstop in the tent and in their hotel rooms.
In addition to the competition, Nintendo had brought several other consoles and televisions. Set up around the inside perimeter, spanning two floors, of the tent were kiosks. They had unreleased games like Goldeneye 007, NBA Jam, Flingsmash, Wii Party, Just Dance 2, Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Epic Mickey, and PokePark. In addition, they also had multiple kiosks of released games like Wii Sports Resort, Just Dance, Super Mario Galaxy 2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Metroid: Other M, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Wii Fit Plus, Bit.Trip Runner, Super Mario Bros. 3, World of Goo, and Pokemon Rumble. Competitors and the general public were allowed to play these released games for a chance to win coin stickers. Those coins could then be turned in for prizes. We walked away with a Nintendo-themed Yahtzee game, two Nintendo figurines, and some Super Mushroom candy.
All in all, this was a great trip, and we had a ton of fun. Thanks to Nintendo for making it a wonderful experience, where people of all ages were able to come together for a great time. Not to mention, it was all free. Similar to events like PAX and E3, it was nice to hear people all around you talking about video games, strategies, and nostalgia. Only this time, it was people of all ages. I only hope they will repeat the event next year, because we plan on competing again.
Below are some photos of the winners and two videos that I shot while there.
Check out more photos in my Flickr album.
Here is some B-Roll footage of the tent and several playing in the final round on Sunday.
Here is the award ceremony on Sunday.