E3 2017 has officially kicked off, and thousands of journalists, gaming industry people, and, for the first time ever, members of the public have flooded the Los Angeles Convention Center for the largest gaming show in the world. And virtually everyone seemed to be packing Nintendo’s massive E3 booth for a chance to get their hands on Super Mario Odyssey, the upcoming Mario adventure for the Nintendo Switch.
So it’s fitting that the booth is decked out as New Donk City — one of the levels in Odyssey — from top to bottom. Times Square-esque billboards line the walls, Donkey Kong-themed street signs pop out over the crowd, and crosswalk indicators are actually with Mario “?” blocks. On one side, you can find a Crazy Cap store (as seen in the trailer) handing out Cappy visors, while New Donk City flags proudly fly on the opposite walls. But until Nintendo decides to come up with some sort of virtual reality solution, the booth is probably the closest you’ll ever get to being in New Donk City. Aside from visiting the real New York City it’s based off, anyway.
At the front of the booth is a massive, life-sized re-creation of Mario, Cappy, and the new airship he’ll be piloting in Super Mario Odyssey, while scattered around the booth are statues of the various enemies that Mario will be able to transform into through the new “Capture” mechanic in Odyssey, also all built to proper scale. (On a related note, Goombas are much larger in real life than you’d necessarily think.)
Nintendo is also taking advantage of the Switch’s portable nature with the booth, with demo stations scattered everywhere, from rows of flat screens to smaller tables. There are even some park benches, where you can try out Super Mario Odyssey while being guided by a besuited denizen of New Donk City, just like in the game. (Although unlike in the game, it does not seem that the demo staff will have have to worry about being possessed by a magic hat.) Lines stretched out in all directions for a chance for the 10-minute demo, and the booth was completely packed from wall to wall with fans eagerly waiting their turn.
Of course, Nintendo has a few other games at E3 that aren’t Super Mario Odyssey. There were demo stations set up for Splatoon 2, ARMS, Fire Emblem Warriors, Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, FIFA 18, Sonic Forces, and Pokkén Tournament DX toward the back of the booth. There was also a full fledged e-sports arena for some of the tournaments Nintendo will be holding over the course of the conference.