For a moment, gaming was fun.
The massive video game convention E3 has a history of implied competition. No company earns a golden trophy, or a "Miss E3 2015" sash at the end of the day, but the conference's environment and its bond with gaming culture makes E3 the ultimate clash between gaming titans. Even the language is representative. Videos of "Trailer Battles" have been released throughout the week. The question of E3 is who will win. E3 lives and breathes the competition gaming culture produced.
Nintendo ejected itself from E3's aggressive environment and console war hullaballoo years ago when the company decided to forego its press conferences for a digital event instead. And now this year, Nintendo brought the competition back to its players, as it re-launched the Nintendo World Championship in honor of the event's 25th anniversary.
Created in 1990, the Nintendo World Championship was a competition that sought out the competition found the best Nintendo players across the United States. Competitors fought for the best score in demo versions of Super Mario Bros., Tetris and Red Racer.
Now, after a 25 year absence, Nintendo brought the championship back as a way to make to E3 a little more enjoyable and to let players battle it out rather than consoles. them with games from Nintendo's newest game, Splatoon, to older titles like Balloon Fight. It half parts a clash of gaming titans and half part a celebration of the games both Nintendo and its fans love.
The gaming atmosphere is extremely tense
I can't describe the Nintendo World Championship competition any better than simply enjoyable.
The night had a slew of cuteness. E-sports commentator Marcus Graham, otherwise known as djWHEAT, initiated the adorableness when he brought his son miniWHEAT to hop on stage while talking about Splatoon. Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto ended the cuteness marathon when he drew Mario doodles on winning champion John Numbers' 3DS XL.
Even President and COO of Nintendo of America Reggie Fils-Aimé joined the fun when he challenged professional Super Smash Bros. player HungryBox to a game of Smash Bros. The faux standoff between the two, though a little awkward, does prove that even Fils-Aimé knows how to make fun of himself, and is more than willing to do so.
In a time where gaming culture is fighting with itself, Nintendo's night of wholesome fun was desperately needed.
The gaming atmosphere is extremely tense. Women and people of color are demanding recognition and representation. The working environment in games still rely on intense crunch times that pull workers away from loved ones for long periods of time. Gaming is drowning in problems that are being fixed, albeit very slowly.
Nintendo is in no way perfect. Missteps like the Nintendo Creators Program made players wary of playing Nintendo games. There are certainly ways in which Nintendo is out of touch with its audience. Yet, when Shigeru Miyamoto stepped on stage, thanked Cosmo Wright and John Numbers for playing and told the audience to "keep enjoying Nintendo games" I couldn't help but feel authenticity in his words. I believe Miyamoto when he asks us to enjoy his games, and not just so he can have more money in his pockets. I can't help but smile when he smiles.
Nintendo ended its digital event on Tuesday with a montage of people singing and celebrating Mario games in honor of his 30th anniversary. For 30 years, players of every gender, age and nationality has enjoyed the Mario franchise. Mario, like games as a whole, thrive because of the people who care for them. Playing and loving games is what brings us together, and what causes us to fight to make games better.
After a tumultuous year for game creators and enthusiasts, the Nintendo World Championship was a brief moment for everyone to collectively unwind and remember why we're all here: to play games.