Australian Mario Kart 8 Launch Night Recap – EB Games Swanston Street
Mario Kart 8 has been one of the most anticipated titles on the Wii U and it certainly showed at Swanston Street EB Games as over one hundred people lined up to collect pre-orders of the game as well as Wii Us to play it on. EB Games didn’t let them just line up as the Swanston Street EB Team as well as the EB Events Staff (some flying down from head office) put on a show to entertain the fans before launch.
The Mario Kart 8 Launch Party kicked off at 10PM with plenty of activities. A caricature artist was present drawing people on a Mario or Peach themed kart, plus there was a balloon artist creating peoples favourite Nintendo characters as balloons to take home (or explode, whichever first). There was also a DJ playing some Top 40 style music mixed in with Nintendo remixes to keep things lively and if you were thirsty there were slushie machines on the night to grab a drink from although the contents didn’t last long. Finally if you had a sweet tooth a special Mario Kart 8 themed cake was available to grab a piece or two of.
This was also a good chance for EB Games to unofficially unveil the new Nintendo Experience after a few weeks of renovation. Most of the area was revamped to give people more space to mingle in and the games were updated to some of the later Nintendo titles for people to try out on the Wii U and 3DS demo stations. Additionally, the tables in the front area were removed which gives a more relaxing atmosphere as well as more room to check out merchandise (but there’s still portable tables available for Monster Hunter Thursdays!)
The Launch Event was also the first Australian Mario Kart 8 tournament, with four setups going and people playing in a head-to-head single elimination format to crown two trophy winners. Competition was pretty fierce given noone really had the chance to practice beforehand so it was more down to luck of items with a little bit of skill but by the end people were starting to get the tracks downpat.
Most of the people I talked to from attendees to EB staff store and events level seemed to universally agree that the event was a success with more people turning up than expected and everyone having a good time (although I’m sure some people were salty they were eliminated early in the tournament)! Hopefully this will mean more events coming down the track, especially for the new Pokemon and Smash Bros. titles.
At approximately 11:30PM the EB team shuffled everyone out to line up for their games and once it hit 12AM everyone cheered in triumph. Most of the folks were out by 12:15AM and no doubt mushroom boosting their way home to give the game a shot themselves!
A big thanks to the fans, the Swanston Street EB team and the EB Events team for hosting a great event as always and certainly one of their better ones. Hopefully more of these will appear in the near future as more big Nintendo titles hit the shelves!
Words by Bradley Jolly, follow him on Twitter @DYoshii
Photos by Drew Blankley