Nintendo, while not traditionally (read: ever) regarded as a filmmaker, brought three video to the Sundance Film Festival over the weekend in Park City, Utah. The festival is actually still going on and will be until the 27th, but let’s face it; if you’re not there already, you won’t be by the time it’s all over, so this will probably be the only way you’re going to get to watch Nintendo’s film presence come to life.
In their Nintendo Lounge area, Nintendo showcased the resulting three shorts of its 48-hour Wii U Challenge. The Kyoto-based company asked 12 YouTube filmmakers to create short films from January 11th to January 13th and to focus on “the unique game play of Wii U and the Wii U GamePad controller.”
They’re all pretty good, albeit not really all that much related to the Wii U. The first one has us watch a roomful of writers (one of which you might recognize from Fallout: Nuka Break) try to figure out the next Mario story and takes a solid crack at several Nintendo, Mario, and modern gaming tropes like the perennial E For Everybody rating and Mario’s lack of dark turns (there’s even a wicked burn on Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island). It also addresses the inherent insanity associated with writing and forcing creativity, but that may be reading a bit too deep into it.
The next video takes an Epic Rap Battles of History slant and pits contemporary game design against Nintendo’s traditionalist views—aka anti-DLC and tacit tolerance of violence—by way of classic Nintendo characters verbally throwing down against a generic big publisher executive. This is probably the weakest one simply because it’s a bad song. There’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what makes rap compelling, but it at least makes a valiant effort. The guy you’re likely to recognize here is Jared Knabenbauer, former ScrewAttack editor and host.
In the last video, we’re told the story of two guys trying to concoct a potion or pill that will allow them to shoot Mario coins out of their fingertips. I don’t know what else to say about that one.
So basically, none of them did what Nintendo really asked them to do, but that may have been for the best.