I attended Nintendo’s Mario Kart Wii promotional event in New York City at 12:00 this afternoon and recorded a video:

I also snapped some photos:
Flickr – Mario Kart Wii promo event, NYC 4/24/08

Based on my experience with other Nintendo events in NYC – the Nintendo World grand opening in May 2005, the debut of Nintendogs with special guest Shigeru Miyamoto in September 2005, and the debut of Super Mario Galaxy in November 2007 – I anticipated a huge crowd, but when I got there, it was just me and one other guy standing in front of the Sheraton hotel on 7th Avenue waiting for Mario. Oh well. When Mario finally walked down the steps, the other guy and I surrounded him and were taking tons of pictures like idiots.

Eventually, a small crowd gathered and children were genuinely excited to see Mario walking down the street. I was surprised by how many adults asked to take a picture with him. It was cool.

The point of this event: Nintendo’s new racing video game Mario Kart Wii debuts Sunday, April 27, 2008, in the U.S. To promote it, Mario walked back and forth along the sidewalk holding the steering wheel that’s included with the game and hailed taxi cabs for people. Steering wheel…racing game…taxi cabs…it sort of makes sense, right? As a bonus, Nintendo paid $10 toward each fare, including mine. Thanks!

Being a video game fan and a Nintendo fan, I knew what the event was for, but I don’t think people walking by did. As you can tell by my video, this was an incredibly quiet publicity event. Mario didn’t talk, but neither did the woman who was with him. She should’ve been belting out, “Hey everybody, Mario Kart Wii is coming this Sunday! It features twelve-player online fun and a motion-sensing steering wheel! Who wants a cab ride? The first $10 is on us!” She wasn’t. There weren’t even any signs or free keychains.

I realize this event wasn’t really necessary because several million copies of the game will be bought automatically by Nintendo fans like me, but still, someone should’ve been handing out buttons or fliers letting people know what was going on. If you’re reading this and work for Nintendo, please consult me for your next game publicity event.