Nintendo Live Seattle 2023 was in full swing from September 1st to September 4th and was taking place alongside PAX West in the Seattle Convention Center. Both events were independent from each other and required separate tickets to attend either. While PAX West was indeed an impressive event in itself, for this feature, we are focusing on Nintendo Live and what there was to do there.
The event itself seemed to be reminiscent of Nintendo’s booths from when they exhibited at E3. There were many displays and booths featuring several of Nintendo’s latest games and favored franchises like The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Kirby and the Forgotten Land, Pikmin 4, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Even the Pokémon Games had their own display of sorts with each generation of games alongside the console they released on.
Now, we were unable to attend Nintendo Live Seattle 2023 ourselves due to us living on the other side of the planet but thankfully, some of our Internet friends and fellow members of the Nintendo gaming community did attend the event and were more than happy to share their thoughts and opinions:
Justin (Nintendo Dads):
What a tremendous celebration of Nintendo; it was very much a love letter to the fans. I hope they continue to offer Nintendo Live events in North America and other countries around the world. The staff were AMAZING! So engaged, excited and energetic…it was Disneyland for Nintendo. The joy and smiles on the participants’ faces, from age 5-99 years old was tremendous. Nintendo is something so special to so many.
I really liked getting hands on with Mario Wonder (so good) plus all the opportunities for fans to engage with their favorite Nintendo properties; photo sessions, gaming stations, competitions, build your own LEGO Yoshi, the concerts and giveaways.
Don’t like…some of the lines to wait were over an hour (eg: LEGO Yoshi and the Pop Up shop).
My youngest daughter loves Animal Crossing so that display had 4 photo ops and it really felt like you were on the island. My oldest daughter and I got chased by the giant LEGO Bowser (they shot a video and emailed it right away) and they had a RETRO room which was set up like a late 80’s basement and it instantly brought me back to my childhood. These were all unique and special moments…oh, and the concerts were so good!
I bumped into OJ Essence, hung out with RogersBase for a bit and spent a good amount of time with Adam Leonhardt from Mega Dads. There were several other Nintendo content creators at the event that I’ve seen but haven’t interacted with much before.
At Nintendo Live we played Mario Wonder. There were other games on the floor (Kirby, Tears, Pokemon, Just Dance) but we have those games so we focused on the Photo opportunities and special events (ex: concert, Bowser LEGO, Mario Dojo, watching the MK8 tournament). We did Super Mario Bros. Wonder twice 😉
At PAX West I played the following; Prince of Persia The Lost Crown, Pepper Grinder, Gunbrella, 30XX, Fae Farm, Another Crabs Treasure, AntonBlast, Infernax, Back to the Future (Power Wash simulator update) and Star Ocean: The Second Story R.
I would have loved to play more games releasing later this year like Detective Pikachu, WarioWare, and Super Mario RPG. If Nintendo would do it all again next year, I would be all for it!
I was ecstatic when Nintendo announced they were finally bringing Live stateside, and it completely fulfilled my high expectations. I got to try just about everything at the event, and despite having beaten almost every game that was on display, they did a great job of making each bit of gameplay worthwhile. For example, despite having 150+ hours in TOTK, I had a blast challenging myself with the ball-carry mini game. And in Pikmin 4, I got to flex my skills in Dandori battle. The only unreleased game they even brought was Mario Wonder, which happily rarely had a wait and was a SUPER fun demo.
The character meets and little swag pins and patches were probably my favorite part of Nintendo Live. I managed to get almost all of it without waiting in any lines that were too long, and tons of cute videos with the characters and props as well. Also… I think the Inkling and Squid mascots were my favorite to meet, even though they and Pikachu were the only meet and greets that didn’t get you patches!
The one thing that really exceeded my expectations was the overall size of the event. They brought WAY more than I expected them too, it felt like an entire PAX expo hall that was exclusively Nintendo. There was more than enough to do and see to take up an entire day.
My only disappointment was that the concerts were really small and limited. I hope if we have Nintendo Live in future years, we can get the big Splatoon or K.K. Hologram shows like they have in Japan. Even so, the Zelda orchestra was fantastic, and the Mario Big Band was also really entertaining even though I watched it from the standby seating area.
Overall, as a Nintendo fanatic I’d say this event was a must-do for me. I’d attend this over PAX or E3 or other conventions since it was everything I love concentrated in one event. I hope we see a Nintendo Live 2024 that’s even bigger and better, and maybe even tie it to more Treehouse or Nintendo Direct presentations.
I do want to comment on the lottery system… I’m not crazy about the lottery system in general, although I really don’t have a better solution since it is an otherwise free event. I was lucky enough to attend as a Nintendo content creator but if I didn’t have that access, I didn’t get entry through the lottery system so I would have missed out. I wonder if there’s a way in the future for partial standby entry or something along those lines. I hate that there were people selling their free passes for big bucks online, and it would be great if there were a way to mitigate that.
As soon as I walked into the hall, it seemed relatively well organized, and there was a ton of stuff to do. I started with the living room photo op, then moved on to explore the rest of the hall.
I liked the variety of options that were available, but the wait times were absolutely horrendous. By 11:15 (it opens at 10), absolutely everything had 1-2 hour waits.
My favourite display was by far the LEGO Bowser op. You got to take a really cool photo as well as a short 5-second video clip.
I didn’t get to meet anyone. Well, I got to meet Peach and the Splatoon characters, lol, but not real people that were important 😂
I got to play Disney Illusion Island, Lego 2k racing, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Super Mario Bros. Wonder is as fun and magical as it looks in trailers. It’s just an absolute blast to play.
Honestly, I would prefer Nintendo DIDNT do this again next year. Or if they did, they didn’t combine it with PAX. The convention hall was WAY too small, the lines were horrendous, and after an hour there, I was ready to leave because there was nothing I could do without waiting 2+ hours. The activations and check-ins at PAX East this year with Nintendo felt less chaotic and more well controlled than Nintendo Live. The merch booth was an absolute joke. The entire day, it had a 2+ hour line, which was mostly outside. And it’s seattle, where it rains, and it’s cold…there was no chance in hell I was standing in that line for merch.
There was also absolutely no communication from staff when going into the show. I got there at 9:30 and was put into a holding area. At 10, the line started moving, then stopped, and would constantly let people in at what seemed like random intervals, but no one communicated anything.
Thomas Mutch (Mutch Games):
The line to get in was a bit long, but when you’re at a convention, you expect lines.
I loved that Nintendo Live felt like the E3 days with the booths, demos, and the live orchestra and tournaments were a nice touch. It was great getting the merchandise and the surprise 35th anniversary mario pins.
I made connections with several comtent creators and others I’ve talked to for a while on twitter: yoshiller, chungaaconroy, André Segers from GameXplain, Comic Controllers, several folks from Zelda Universe, etc.
I didn’t play many games while here as I was focusing more on the people connections and people watching. I definitely played Super Mario Bros. wonder, though.
I hope this becomes the new E3 for annual gaming events. This event felt like there was something for everyone. From the retro stations to music to modern games. I hope it continues and they introduce new games here in the future.
We would like to thank Justin, Thomas and Alex for sharing their experiences of Nintendo Live Seattle 2023 with us. We would particularly like to thank Alex for his feedback that we hope Nintendo will take into account when potentially planning for Nintendo Live next year, if at the very least, it is to improve upon reducing waiting times in lines. We hope that, arduously long waits aside, everyone who went to the event had a great time and we look forward to Nintendo doing more events like this in the future.