San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) is happening this weekend, and Nintendo has a major presence at the show and on the twitch streaming service. They're hosting all kinds of contests during convention and live-streaming it all on twitch as part of Nintendo Challenge Live. If you haven't seen content like this before, it's a little like watching sports (complement with color commentary), only with video games instead of grassy fields.
While the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. for 3DS have been the main focus of many of the tournaments and match-ups, what really caught my eye was a cleverly-orchestrated competitive round of NES Remix 2.
Nintendo Treehouse's Bill Trinen (@trintran) was on-hand to announce that the first two Remix games, which have previously only been available as digital downloads on the Wii U eShop, are going to be released later this year together in a single retail package. As cool as that news was, their celebratory competition at SDCC was arguably more exciting.
The setup was fairly simple: two players, Erik Peterson (@CountLePants) and Cory, went head-to-head on the same Bonus column in Remix 2 to see who could complete the all of the remixes first. Of course, each remix challenge had to be passed with a minimum of two stars (out of three).
I mean, who doesn't like competitive Metroid? That's just not something you see every day.
The actual game doesn't allow this type of multiplayer, so they had to set this up with two Wii U systems hooked up to separate TVs. However, the frantic action that ensued made me wish the game actually contained a multiplayer mode like this. Trying to coordinate two Wii Us in the same room, both with NES Remix 1 or 2 downloaded, hooked up to two TVs just isn't a realistic expectation for anyone's next party.
Unlike watching many multiplayer games, the wide array of games featured in the Remix series kept things quite interesting as a spectator for what is usually a hands-on pastime. Featuring levels from Zelda 2, Metroid, Ice Hockey (weirdly fascinating), Dr. Mario, and Super Mario Bros. 3, there was something for everyone to root for, and the quick switching between scenarios and games sidestepped the lulls that can happen when watching the same game for twenty minutes straight.
The commentary from Bill Trinen and Krysta Yang made the action quite a bit more exciting to watch, which may sound obvious, but isn't usually something we get to see with video games (a trend that's changing). Also, careful observers may have noticed that their desk is modeled after an original NES cartridge of Super Mario Bros. Pretty awesome.
Watching other people play games isn't something that I think I'll spend a lot of time doing in the future, but seeing some quirky Nintendo games played in this way certainly had a unique charm to it. Watching Smash Bros. can be incredibly frantic and often hard to follow, but the games in NES Remix are classics; familiar to nearly everyone and easy to comprehend. Plus, the progression through the finite number of stages meant that it was simple to gauge which of the players was winning (more like a race than a football game).
If you've got some time this weekend, check it out! Just follow the link below.
And be sure to leave your thoughts on comments on twitch or NES Remix multiplayer in the comments below!