NEW YORK – Normally whenever we attend a function at Nintendo’s flagship store in Rockefeller Plaza, the event usually takes place around brunch time on a Sunday afternoon. However, to celebrate the launch of Mario Party 9, Nintendo thought it be best if they threw an actual — you know — party. They teamed with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City and put together a “late night party” where the organization’s “littles” and “bigs” had the chance to stay up late (1opm is no joke to some of these “littles”) and enjoy over a handful of fun mini games from the newest entry in the fan-favorite series.
Besides hands on time with the game, guests were also treated to some tunes from Radio Disney, and had a chance to win prizes through raffles. Also available at every game station were some collectible stars (Mario and stars, see what they did there?) that were handed out to guests for checking out each new mini game. Once enough stars were collected, they can use that stack of stars to redeem a pretty serious Mario Party plush toy.
It was actually my first time playing Mario Party 9 — but being the seasoned (and modest) Mario Party veteran that I am — it was just like riding a bike. Within moments I was displaying my Mario Party superiority against other NYC reporters who were also taking part in the festivities.
After some play time, I had the chance to chat with A. J. Blount from Nintendo about the game, who told me what to look forward to when it releases.”With Mario Party 9, everything is more engaging” Blount stated. “We do our best to keep everyone involved, even with the epic boss battle at the end, you can play that with all 4 players now.” When I asked him about keeping more experienced players challenged, he added, “the game features “Captain Events”, these add a sense of randomness but also help to level the playing field, helps to give confidence to someone who may not be playing as well as others.”
When I asked him about the game’s reception so far, he added “this is the first Mario Party console title in five years, and everyone — even at the office — is loving it!”
Also on hand was Wendy DeMarco from Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City. When I asked “why Mario Party” she described it as a “natural fit” and found the game to be “multigenerational.” I brought up to her how some similar organizations might frown on playing video games instead of going to a park or a museum. She replied by saying that “Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City is more about the time that they get together… sure they’ll still do the museum and the park, but it’s more about making a connection with their little.” I mentioned that the night’s festivities seemed to be a success and asked if the organization would consider doing more video game related things, such as a tournament, to which she added “we’re always looking for new ideas.”
It was a great time had by all who were there. Seeing a child’s face light up whenever they play anything Mario related still hits me where it counts. Mario Party 9 is looking to be a welcomed return by the series, with that said, make sure you’re on the look out for our review.
If you want to see some shots from the night’s activities, take a look at the gallery below. If you’re interested in finding out more information on how you can help in mentoring a “little” you can get more information on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City Website here.