Nintendo Live 2022 | Thoughts on the Event - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Monday, October 10, 2022

Nintendo Live 2022 | Thoughts on the Event

Nintendo Live 2022, the Nintendo hosted event at Tokyo Big Sight in October 2022, has now come to a close. I had a chance to go on the first day and had a great time. The event is almost unknown to those in the West, and might not even be on the radar of many in Japan. We’re here to give you the break down of Nintendo Live 2022. Let’s get into it.

If you don’t live in Japan or follow what’s happening with Nintendo closely here in Japan, you might not know much about Nintendo Live. Starting in 2018, this event hosts a variety of tournaments, demos, merch, concerts and more. For 2022, Nintendo Live held a lottery for both the tournaments and general admission. The event was limited to around 5,000 people per day and required a Japanese My Nintendo account to register. Lucky for me, I was one of the few chosen to attend the event on the first day (October 8).

Nintendo Live is a very family friendly affair. Sure, there are some pretty hardcore tournaments for the likes of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Splatoon 3, but on the other hand, there are kid focused tournaments for the same games as well as some other tournaments and demos for parents and kids. There was also a place specifically for young kids to try out Splatoon 3, Breath of the Wild, Mario 3D World and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The library of games set out on the floor as demos/tournaments (that offered prizes to winners!) open to attendees included Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Mario Maker 2 (at a place called the Mario Dojo), Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Splatoon 3. All of these required tickets to join - sampling lining up and waiting was not a thing here. 
There were four stages at the event - the Main Stage, Smash Ultimate Stage, Splatoon 3 stage and one for the Mario Dojo. The Smash and Splatoon stages are pretty self explanatory - these were the homes to the tournaments being held on the day. The Main Stage was home to several panels and finals for some of the tournaments. The Mario Dojo stage hosted the finals of their three game challenge. Players here started out in a group playing a few rounds of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The winner would move on to play a challenge stage in Super Mario Maker 2. After that, a mystery Mario game (that appears on Switch) would be the next challenge for the finals. Games that appeared at this level were Super Mario Odyssey and Smash Ultimate. Those that made it to the final stage would receive prizes. All of games, panels and tournaments were broadcast live on Nintendo’s YouTube channel. 
A few photo spots and game corners were also open to the public, including ones for Pokémon Scarlet / Violet, Mario, Pikmin and the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. Not only that, but all attendees could go to a KK Slider and Splatoon 3 concert at a designated time during their day at the event. There was a shop set up on the show floor but all of the Nintendo Live merch was sold online before the show. 

Thoughts on the Experience
The overall atmosphere of Nintendo Live is awesome and something that any Nintendo fan would love. Of course, everything is Nintendo themed and your surrounded by a bunch of other Nintendo nerds (or the parents of children). I did get a chance to try out the demo/tournament at the Mario Dojo. Here, I was put up against six small kids and a dad - easy peezy, right? Well, after a good start in the first race, a red shell took me down to second place and I never recovered even heading into the next race, so I missed out on the Super Mario Maker 2 aspect of it all. Other than that, this was the only game I got to play during the event. 
The KK Slider and Deep Cut concerts were really cool. There were three of them held each day with the final concert broadcast live on Nintendo’s YouTube channel. The seating was a bit tight in somewhat typical Japanese style, but once things got started, everyone (aside from a few sleeping dads) seemed to be enjoying themselves. Again, not uncommon for events like this in Japan post pandemic, attendees were asked to refrain from shouting and standing, to which everyone obliged. I’m honestly not super into either game, but I had fun. You can catch the concert over on Nintendo’s YouTube channel. 

The photo spots were some other fun ways to get involved in the event. Every time I went by the Mario booth that had these or the one for Pokémon, there were always semi-long lines. The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom one was the only one I cared about to be honest. It featured some key art from the game, logo and a life-sized model of Link. This thing was rich in detail and included a pulsating, glowing arm. It was super cool to see. 
While I did have a good time overall during the event, I do have a bit of a complaint. The small amount of demos or playable experiences for attendees was a bit of a letdown. Only a handful of already released games were on hand, and many of them were limited to one play session per day. Of course, taking place in the big tournaments for Splatoon 3 or Smash Bros. are  completely different things altogether. It just seemed very easy to run out of things to do unless you were super invested into the tournaments or stage shows. I wanted to watch more of the stage shows, but having my concert time in the middle of the day kind of prevented that. 

Meeting Doug Bowser
In a completely random turn of events, I somehow managed to meet Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser at the event. It all started with spotting him enter the venue as I was lined up and waiting to get in. After walking around the floor for awhile, I went to one of the convenience stores in Big Sight to look for some grub. As I walked in, I saw him AGAIN. This time, I was 100% certain because I heard one of the Japanese Nintendo staffers chat with him and address him as “Doug.” Shortly after that, I had a quick chat with him right then and there. We shook hands and chatted for a bit about the event and the lack of non-snack foods in the convenience store. That was that.
Or so I thought. After meeting up with Genki_JPN from Twitter on the show floor, Genki noticed some clearly non-Japanese Nintendo staff chatting on the show floor. It was Doug Bowser and Devon Pritchard, Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Communications at NOA. Since it was the third time I saw him at that day, this time, Genki and I both went ahead and asked for pictures. Devon was kind enough to take them for us, too. I know, I know. Meeting a company executive isn’t some kind of magical thing and when it boils down to it, people like Bowser and Pritchard are people. I did feel kind of bad about even asking for a picture, but Doug said something along the lines of, "Hey, man. This is one of the reasons I walk around on show floors at events like this." It was great getting to chat with him. 

Future of Nintendo Live
Nintendo Live 2022 felt like it was something that was planned at the last possible minute. Being a very careful company with their image and the gradual opening up of events in Japan, Nintendo wanted to keep this event somewhat low key so they wouldn’t make headlines for hosting an event that turned into a COVID hotspot. That might seem kind of silly if you’re living outside of Japan, but that’s where a lot of companies and events are at this point in time. I think this apprehension also might have limited what they brought to the show. This is all speculation on my part, but I think it was intentional. If Nintendo were to give the world their first hands on experience for a game like Pokémon Scarlet / Violet at an event that had very limited attendance, fans would be mad. It was probably a smart move for this year, however, I think that Nintendo will go back to bringing upcoming titles to the event in the future. 

The presence of Doug Bowser and Devon Pritchard at the event still remains a mystery. Does it mean they’re working on a Nintendo Live-like event for the North American audience? Well, maybe. More realistically and at the very least, I think this was a good opportunity for NOA to get a look at how Nintendo handles its own events in Japan. It might give them some ideas as to what they can do for potential Nintendo hosted events like this in America. Or they were just there for some other undisclosed reason or for fun. I don’t know and only time will tell on this. 

Nintendo Live is a celebration of everything Nintendo and was a really cool event to go to. This year, there wasn’t really anything “new” at the event, which was kind of a let down. At the same time, I think the limited capacity and perhaps the fear of making gamers who couldn’t attend and try out new things played a part in the decision making here. I’m hopeful with what the show has to hold not only for Japan in the future but in other regions as well. 

Let’s turn things over to you. What do you think of Nintendo Live 2022? Is this something you would attend in your country? Would you make the trip out to Japan to take part? Sound off in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you! 

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