This weekend Nintendo returned to a familiar location for their Nintendo DSi launch party. Citywalk, a shopping area inside Universal Studios, was the same venue where the original Nintendo DS and, more recently, the Wii were launched.
The event should have been a smashing success with parkour performances, art giveaways from I am 8 bit, and an unannounced appearance from the Gym Class Heroes. Nintendo and Gamestop intelligently handed out numbered lanyards so attendees could enjoy the live entertainment instead of waiting in line like the Wii launch party. However, the fan fueled electricity that made the Wii event memorable was much missed at the Nintendo DSi party.
Nintendo fans showed up for the DSi launch, but not in the same numbers. At the Wii party the pre-order line extended past the Gamestop, wrapped around first floor shops, snaked upstairs where the food court is, and finally ending at the E.T. parking lot. The first person in line waited days for his Wii. Other people were playing board games and huddling around Mario Kart DS matches to pass the time. Pictochat, in one rare occasion, was actually used. The wait was long, but tons of fun being among a horde of energized gamers. This past Saturday night the crowd didn’t feel as vivacious, massive, or specifically at Citywalk for the DSi.
Gamestop was ready to sell attendees and Citywalk shoppers DSis. A manger commented that he expected the system to sell out and I should pre-order one right away. Nintendo placed demo stands so passer-bys could try the system before buying it. Unfortunately, a handful of the DSi demo stations were dead. If you wanted to try a DSi you had to approach a friendly ambassador who would take your picture, demonstrate the lenses, and if you asked show you one of the DSiWare games.
The party peaked when the Gym Class Heroes took the stage. A crowd gathered around the band and stuck around for all of their songs. Afterwards, the crowd dispersed. VJ Fazer continued the night playing songs from RJD2 and a few Nintendo remixes. He had a neat Zelda remix that I caught and recorded. (Note to self: Find a way to upload this!)
Throughout the night pre-orderers stopped by the I am 8 bit booth. As a bonus for purchasing a Nintendo DSi that night pre-orderers walked away with a personalized poster and an awesome Mario t-shirt specially made for the event. Only 600 were handed out. The posters were even more limited with only 100 of each type available.
Cammie Dunaway and Attack of the Show host, Kevin Pereira, stood on a red carpet during the final seconds of the DSi launch. Fireworks exploded behind Gamestop and Vince Jimenez, first in line, headed to Gamestop to get purchase his DSi. Nintendo awarded him with 10,000 Nintendo Points (that’s $100) and a Super Mario statue among other swag. Earlier in the night a youngster won an even rarer prize, a Nintendo DSi signed by Beyonce. Once midnight hit all of the pre-orderers were in line that extended past the pretzel shop and Kevin Pereira ended the night saying “there are plenty of DSis left.”
Didn’t show up to the Nintendo DSi party? Don’t worry. We’re going to giveaway one of those limited edition Mario t-shirts (size L, not XL for a change), a pack of DSi pins, and maybe other swag soon. Please look forward to the giveaway!