Nintendo live events bring fans together
For diehard Nintendo enthusiasts, the last six months has been nothing short of phenomenal. Hot on the heels of 3DS’s wildly popular Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon came the unprecedented success of Nintendo Switch. And with it, we got The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a game that has received universal acclaim.
With the massive buzz surrounding Nintendo, their recent barrage of live fan events couldn’t have come at a better time. Not only did the much-anticipated Zelda escape game make its way to Canada, but the Pokémon Symphony returned as well. Both of these events brought Canadian Nintendo fans together to celebrate legendary game franchises we all so dearly love.
I was lucky enough to attend both of the recent Toronto tour dates for these events, and the experiences were incredible. Let’s take a look at what these huge Nintendo fan events are all about!
Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions
Since 2014, Pokémon: Symphonic Evolutions has been touring the globe giving Pokémon fans an audio/video show they’ll never forget. The live orchestral concert lets you experience nearly 18 years of Pokémon history, from Gameboy up the Nintendo 3DS.
Upon entering the sold-out Sony Centre (3,191-capacity), it was awesome to see passionate fans dressed up in costume. Nintendo cosplayers are known for their elaborate costumes, and this event was no exception. From the iconic mascot Pikachu, to starter Pokémon like Squirtle and Bulbasaur, many fans were dressed as their favourite character.
It was also cool to see fans and newcomers of all ages come together for this musical celebration. By the looks of it, many gamers who grew up with Pokémon in the 90’s still clearly love this franchise. At the same time, the many families and children in attendance showed how much Pokémon still resonates with younger gamers. It’s a testament to the franchise’s staying power and ability to appeal to all gamers regardless of age.
A fun guessing game
To entertain us during the pre-show, the producers threw Pokémon silouettes on-screen and asked us to guess who it is. Some were fairly obvious, like Pikachu and Charmander, while others were more challenging. Braixen, for example, is one I couldn’t guess, although others in the audience could. It was certainly a lot of fun guessing, and a fun way to kick-off the show.
Wonderful symphonic music
Leading the orchestra that night was award-winning composer Ryan Shore. Behind him was a full ensemble consisting of woodwinds, brass, piano, percussion, and other instruments. Together they played spectacular renditions of iconic music from throughout the Pokémon franchise. The setlist ranged from melodic pieces like Pallet Town (Pokémon Red/Blue) to more upbeat tunes like the signature battle music.
To add even more impact, behind the orchestra was a screen showing gameplay footage synced to the music. It was similar to what you’d see at a Video Games Live concert, only this time it was all Pokémon. The videos showcased memorable moments from throughout the series, which were awesome to relive with so many fans.
A grand finale
As a special encore presentation, the orchestra played two unexpected pieces—Gotta Catch ’em All (anime theme) and KISEKI. The former is a song virtually all Pokémon fans are familiar with and can sing along to. Meanwhile, the latter is perhaps the series’ most emotional song and plays at the end of Pokémon X and Y. These were amazing final songs and a truly memorable way to end off the performance.
If you’re in the Vancouver area, a new concert date was just announced for July 7, 2017. The Pokemon Symphony will be visiting the Orpheum Theatre, information available here: www.pokemonsymphony.com.
The Legend of Zelda Defenders of the Triforce
Next up, I had a chance to check out the all-new Zelda real escape game put on by SCRAP. Given the storied history of this franchise, I couldn’t wait to see what adventures awaited in this game. Plus, Zelda is rooted in puzzle-solving, which seems like a natural fit for this sort of game.
Upon entering the event space it was apparent right away that Defenders of the Triforce is no ordinary escape game. Unlike traditional ones where small groups have to escape a room, Defenders happens in a huge ballroom with 100+ people. Everyone is seated at tables of six and your team is assigned a number.
To kick things off, a really cool video runs through the events of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Only this time, Ganondorf wins leaving our heroes in peril. Now it’s up to your team to save Hyrule—and you’re only given an hour to do so. As you can probably guess, saving the day involves solving puzzles and retrieving the legendary Master Sword.
From there, your group needs to open a binder containing all sorts of different word, math, and brain teaser puzzles. It’s like high-school challenges all over again, only this time everything is Zelda-inspired. It’s imperative to work together, and divvy up the work as you only have 60 minutes.
Nice costumes, funny actors
While my team really enjoyed working through the puzzles, wandering the event space was even more fun. There were several stations set-up representing iconic Zelda locations, such as Zora’s water domain and the Deku Tree.
Each location had amusing actors dressed up in costume who played their parts excellently. For example, Zora’s Domain had a shy princess who would only let us pass if we told her the secret password. Over by the Deku Tree, a bubbly Goron made our entire team perform a dance. Sure, it was silly at times, but it was also a lot of fun too.
I’m happy to report that at last minute (literally) my team captured the Master Sword and saved Hyrule. I had a blast at the event, and so did everyone at my table. It might not be exactly what we expected, but it was fun nonetheless. If you’re interested in checking out the Zelda escape game, it’s coming to Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver this summer. You can find out more here: https://scrapzelda.com.
Pokémon and Zelda on BestBuy.ca
Before wrapping things up, I just wanted to mention that Best Buy has a nice selection of Pokémon and Zelda products available. I was doing some searching today and found neat things like this Pokémon Monopoly set and this Zelda Nendoroid figure. I encourage you to search around the website as there are dozens of cool products for both this franchises.
Also, if you haven’t checked out the latest video games from these franchise, I’ve provided the links below!
Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon – Nintendo 3DS
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Nintendo Switch and Wii U
I wish they would bring these things to Saskatoon, but it seems that if you are in an area west of Ontario and east of Alberta Nintendo doesn’t care about you. We never get this stuff. I did travel to Alberta twice for the Zelda symphony, but I hope one day they will bring events to me.
Same here, Ian. Hope you’ll get some Nintendo events there soon.
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