Nintendo World Championship 2015 – Recap and thoughts
The show began with a Nintendo Treehouse program in which a new level of Yoshi’s Wooly World was demonstrated. The game looks like a lot of fun, and is visually whimsical. This game was introduced last year’s E3 and is slated for release later this year. It is very similar to Kirby’s Epic Yarn on the Wii
Next, we get a new announcement for the North America and Europe release of Earthbound Beginnings via the Virtual Console on Wii U. It is the original game released as Mother in Japan for the Famicom, but did not receive an official release in North America. It is available now only on the Wii U. This will make a lot of Nintendo fans very happy. Of course, if you didn’t already want this game, you probably are not that excited by this announcement.
On to the competition. Eight players were invited by Nintendo, and eight won their spot in the competition through regional qualifiers. Overall, the field was not very diverse and only two of the competitors were female.
Kevin Pereira hosted the evening. He was joined by other commentators through the evening. Including an eight year old during the first round. Pro-tip to Nintendo: in the future, do not have eight-year-old commentators. It almost made me stop watching. Instead, I just muted the stream for a bit.
Round one has 16 competitors, four will head to elimination. The elimination round, or “underground” allows one of those four competitors fight for survival through the underground rounds. Only one person moves on to the next underground round. Round 2 will send four of the 12 players to the elimination round, with 8 moving on to round 3, the 5 gamers (four plus the survivor from the previous round) in the loser’s bracket will fight for one survivor spot. After round four there will be one final underground to set the four competitors for the semifinals.
Round One was Splatoon. The 16 competitors are split into two waves of 8 players. Four teams of four in 2 out of 3 rounds. Double elimination with the last place team going into the underground round. Splatoon is Nintendo’s 3rd person team shooter. The game mode played was “Turf War” in which the team that covered more of the map with ink was the winner. As a spectator eSport, Splatoon is not that interesting to me. The match rounds were 3 minutes, but since the main focus isn’t on direct conflict but on painting territory, it is not all that interesting to watch. Oh look, that player is spraying ink on the floor. It is a lot like being a spectator for a Mario Party mini-game, except it lasts 3 long minutes.
The first elimination challenge, labeled the underground was The Legend of Zelda speed-run through the first dungeon. Lots of “It’s dangerous to go alone” jokes from the commentators.
Round two is the world premiere of Blastball. A first person game in which players in mechs use blasters to push a ball into a goal. It is mech soccer with blasters. This is a new 3DS title that was announced here at the World Championships. Each time you score a goal the goal, the goal shrinks. It is also possible to disable the mechs of your opponents. You have to manage your health and weapon energy throughout the match. Being hit by the ball does major damage, and if you take too much, you are ejected from your mech creating a power play for the other team. There are various power ups for the mechs and in the last 30 seconds of the match, the ball gets much more dangerous. It looks like a fun eShop game- at least I hope it is an eShop game and not a retail release (unless there is a LOT more to it than shown).
Round 3 is Mariokart 8. This was the most interesting round so far from a spectator point of view. The races were fast and exciting. The second group of racers in particular had some very close finishes. It was a custom 3 track race at 200cc. Even though there were still two rounds, those that advance were based on point totals from both rounds using a calculation including la times.
Final round of underground/elimination is Balloon Fight. Playing the Balloon Trip mode with the highest score moves on. Players could restart, but it was the highest single run score that counted.
The semi-final featured Super Smash Bros. Prior to the World Championship match, Regie came to the stage to make good on his promise at the Smash championship last year to take on Hungrybox. It went about as well as you would imagine a match between a pro-player against an executive would go.
As far as the semi-final, this was pretty fun to watch. It was a four player all item smash. It was frantic, and everyone had a pretty good grasp on the game. Setting up the final between John Numbers and Cosmo. John Numbers played as Shulk and Cosmo played as the newly re-introduced Roy.
The final is Super Mario Maker. The levels featured were made by the Nintendo team. The competition was the fastest clear time in the fourth stage would be the winner. Four stages, the winner of each of the first 3 stages gets a 15 second head start on the last stage. Each of the four stages is from a different Mario game, with those mechanics available to the player in the level. These stages were harder than anything from the lost levels. They were brutal. John Numbers destroyed that last stage. That was a lot of fun. Seeing something instantly familiar and yet at the same time new, was amazing.
Miyamoto came out to hand out the trophy as well as giving both finalists a signed new 3DS XL. John Numbers is the 2015 Nintendo World Champion. It would be really neat if they tweaked this a little and it became a semi-regular thing. I do not think it could be annual because Nintendo simply does not release enough games. Maybe next time we can get a new Power Glove.