This Labor Day weekend, around 35,000 gamers and game enthusiasts flocked to Seattle, WA for PAX West and Nintendo Live weekend.
I was able to attend the event by winning tickets through Nintendo's event ticket drawing. Families were able to register for a single day drawing between May and June leading up to the event. (Keep that in mind if you're hoping to attend future events!)
Getting to the Event
If you'll need to be flying into the event, be prepared for busy airports and potential flight delays. Our original flight ended up getting cancelled, but we were lucky enough to switch over to another flight just in time. It's always a good reminder, particularly when traveling during busy holidays, to remain flexible when traveling and leave enough time to get to your destination. Our new flight ended up also getting delayed but we were still able to make it to Seattle after a couple hours' delay.
Since we were only going to be there for the weekend, we wanted to stay close to the event and other food places we were interested in trying. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Seattle in the downtown area and it was only about two blocks away from the Convention Center where the event was being held. It was a very convenient location and a great place to stay overall, so I'd definitely recommend it!
If you're not staying quite as close, there are several convenient ways to get to the Convention Center. If you're within walking distance, it'll make for a nice walk. Otherwise there's the King County Metro city buses, light rails, trains, or rideshares.
Pro Tip: Download the Transit Go Ticket App by King County Metro and sign up for an account to get 800 points, which can be redeemed for a one-day adult day pass! That's a whole day of free bus transportation, just for signing up! I used this on my trip and it was super convenient.
Nintendo Live Schedule
Looking on the website, there isn't too much information out there around what time doors open or check-in begins. As someone who like to plan out my arrival and plan of attack when I'm heading to an event, this wasn't great for my nerves. But here's how our day turned out:
We basically finished up our day after the Super Big Band Show at 1:45PM. However, there were still plenty of other activities like game demos for Pikmin 4, Pokemon Scarlet & Violet, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
We were able to do all of our top priority activities in the morning since the crowd was much lower, but as more people arrived, the lines for popular sections became enormous. The line to access Animal Crossing snaked all over the back of the convention floor, so we only walked by it and saw it from the outside rather than actually experience it.
Super Mario Bros.
I'm a lover of legos so the Yoshi Lego was such a highlight for me. But what was also cool was the King-Sized Bowser Lego statue that actually moved! In front of the Bowser was a platform where you and your group be filmed running away from him as he chases you!
Super Mario Bros. Wonder was also such a fun demo! The game was fun and a little bit chaotic, but such a great time!
The Kirby section was absolutely adorable! I couldn't get over how cute all the statues were. And Car Kirby?? I literally squealed, especially when I saw the little feets at the back!! And what was even better, we even got to see Kirby come by!
While I didn't get to watch either of the live shows from the dedicated seats, I had a blast listening to them from the standing room areas. The music was so transportive and the musicians were all so magnificent!
Nintendo Live Tips
As always, I was able to glean some great learning lessons from my first experience at this event that I hope can help others when they attend as well!
1. Arrive Early
This is probably always going to be one of my top tips ever. I think getting anywhere early is always going to set you up for the smoothest experience. We got first choice at all of the activities since we were one of the first people in the convention for the day.
Lines were ridiculously long by the afternoon. We were able to walk straight into the Yoshi Lego Make & Take in the morning, but we wanted to revisit it in the afternoon and the line was probably at least an hour long.
On another note, we attended the event on Sunday, which was the 3rd day of the event. I would imagine that the earlier dates were likely even more crowded, so take that into account as well when figuring out your schedule!
2. Prioritize Your Activities
This goes hand in hand with Tip #1. Unless you're okay with waiting in super long lines all day, your best bet will be arriving early and getting to your top activities first! Then you can play by ear everything else. I'm glad we made the Yoshi Lego our first stop, because the line was so long during the whole rest of the day. The same would be said for the Super Mario Bros. Wonder demo area. We only waited about 10 minutes before we could play, but because demos are 15 minutes long, you can imagine how backed up the line can get! Some of the less popular game demos didn't have very long lines, so those were things we did while other lines were too long.
3. Don't Worry About Warp Pipe Passes
The Legend of Zelda Orchestra and the Super Big Band both released a limited number of Warp Pipe Passes at the beginning of August. This would guarantee guests with the pass had a seat to view the shows. Unfortunately for many people, these passes were claimed quickly (as in within the minute they were released).
I wasn't able to get them even though the shows were one of the things I was looking forward to most, so I was pretty sad I wouldn't get to see it. However! The convention floor is completely open, so anyone in the area can actually watch and enjoy the music, no seat required! Of course a seat would be the best and more comfortable way to view it, but they had stand-by viewing and standing-room only areas for people who didn't get a pass. And it was still magical and amazing!
And that's a wrap on Nintendo Live 2023! The event was filled with so much nostalgia, but also had so many new things to get excited about! If you or someone you know is a Nintendo fan, this event is a great time!