Hyper Japan 2011 – Nintendo Unleashed Mario Kart 3DS and Super Mario 3DS Playable Demos

Nintendo Unleashed (2)

Hyper Japan – Olympia 2, Kensington, London – 22 – 24 July 2011

I apologise for the delay in getting this report up.  I managed to give myself food poisoning on Sunday so wasn’t feeling up to much yesterday.

As I unfortunately didn’t attend the third day of Hyper Japan, this report is only based on the events of Friday 22 and Saturday 23 July 2011.

The first thing to be said about Hyper Japan is that the venue this year was a great improvement on last year’s.  I really enjoyed Hyper Japan 2010, but the venue was leaky and on the Saturday it filled up almost instantly.  This year the venue covered two floors and although there were entrance issues on Saturday and Sunday, it was because a large amount of people arrived at the same time, and it just wasn’t possible to process everyone quickly, which caused a rolling backlog.  This also rolled over on to Sunday due to some tickets being available for all three days.  Some people did have to queue for several hours, but those turning up before 12:00 on either Sat or Sun got straight in with a minimum wait.  I think Hyper Japan will take a long look at the procedures for next year, looking at the complaints they’ve received.  If you did have a ticket but weren’t able to get in send an email with your name, ticket ref number & ticket retailer (e.g. TicketScript) to tickets@hyperjapan.co.uk and the ticketing team will get back to you.

Processes aside, Hyper Japan was once again an awesome event and for a good cause.  “One third of all sponsorship funding will be donated to the Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund. In addition, 10% of net ticket revenue will be donated directly to the Relief Fund.”

Nintendo Unleashed

Nintendo outdid themselves with the playable demos on offer at Hyper Japan.  The next big releases for the 3DS were on offer in the form of Super Mario and Mario Kart.  Star Fox 64 3DS and Resident Evil Revelations were both in attendance again, and my report on those from London Film and Comic Con can be read here.

Mario Kart Playable Demo

The demo was limited to one three race championship across three different tracks.  You got a choice of the standard eight characters, with three vehicles for each character, and a choice of three different tyre types but were limited to one vehicle add on (For Donkey Kong it’s the hand glider attachment).  The races were pretty basic, but did show off what the game will be capable of.  Hand-gliding over a chunk of the course is fun and the underwater parts of the second track look awesome in 3D.  The demo showed exactly what I look for in Mario Kart, the same working formula with a few extras.  It’s a shame that the demo wasn’t multiplayer, as that is what Mario Kart is all about for me.  From what I saw in the several play throughs I had the game is shaping up to be the game to own on the Nintendo 3DS.

Super Mario Playable Demo

The Super Mario playable demo consisted of four different areas, the first was a full 3D Mario level, with coins to collect, enemies to avoid and take out, jumps to make, some pipes and some puzzles.  The second area was a 2D level with 3D elements, and what I mean by that is that it runs the same as the DS and GameBoy Mario platofrmers of old, just with a few more levels of depth, which allow you to go round stuff rather than just over it.  A good example of this is the spinning bridge with an ink plant in the middle.  Rather than just going straight over the bridge, it spins around so you can go in front and behind the plant while it inks the screen to make it difficult for you.  The third level was all puzzles, starting off on an island platform; a path appeared for a limited time as buttons were pressed.   The fourth level was a side scrolling 3d pirate ship that you have to traverse ahead of the screen movement, which ended with a boss battle.

The demo showed off the 3D as well as demonstrating how crisp the graphics look and in fact how polished the game looks in general.  This incarnation of Mario contains lots of different elements and while some fans might not like some of it, there will be other parts they love.

Also in attendance at the Nintendo Unleashed gaming area were Zelda Skyward Sword, Xenoblade and Kirby all on the Wii.

Nintendo Unleashed also had a competition running for a Zelda Ocarina, the details of which and an image of the prize can be seen in our competition announcement.

Namco Bandai

Namco Bandai’s gaming area also had a hefty sample of games across all platforms, but the 3DS games in attendance were Ace Combat 3D, DualPenSports, Pac Man & Galaga Dimensions and Angler’s Club: Ultimate Bass Fishing 3D.

Ace Combat 3D

Because of my job, this game should probably appeal to me more than it originally did.  I’ve got no prior experience on flight simulations or how they play on consoles or other handhelds but but the AI in this demo seemed lacking.  It didn’t stop my enjoyment of barrel-rolling over the top of an enemy fighter as I released missiles to distract them and gunned them down with a high calibre machine gun though.  It was good to have a blast, but there isn’t much to judge the game itself on, just the graphics and basic gameplay.  I would love to see the game as a finished unit and the demo has perked my interest enough to pre-order it.

Cosplay

The Friday at Hyper Japan was all about Fashion, but on Saturday the Cosplayer’s came out in force, probably because of the Cosplay Parade and competition which can be seen in the gallery below.  It was announced before the Cosplay Competition that the UK would be entering the World Cosplay Summit that happens annually in Japan and at Hyper Japan 2012, the UK entrants will be decided.

Other Items / Stalls of note

I enjoyed the Maids of England’s show of their new dance routines on Saturday morning and I look forward to attending their first Maid Cafe under their new management in September.

The ITK robotics display and stand was fantastic.  It shows the advancements in technology the world has made and is going to make in the future.

Helen McCarthy’s talk on Osamu Tezuka was, as always enlightening.  I’ve attended several talks by Helen and completed her course at the WEA on the history of Anime and yet I always take something away from her lectures.  Her wealth of knowledge is astounding.

The nanoblocks stand was interesting and I enjoyed their free sample kit.  Their website can be found here and is well worth a look.

I very much look forward to Hyper Japan 2012, in the sea of current conventions; Hyper Japan to me offers more than the others.  The diversity of events, shows and stalls available means there is something for everyone.  As well as being a celebration of our love for all things Japanese, there was a huge amount of support given this year to aid in the relief effort.  I hope next year sees Hyper Japan grow again.

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