Super Mario Maker 2 blue-shells the esports scene at Nintendo’s E3 event

What’s the most nostalgic game you can think of? An old Sonic game? A Pokemon title? Zelda? Well, maybe. The answers may vary, but there’s a good chance that your answer has something to do with Super Mario!

Nintendo’s beloved little Italian plumber (not that he hasn’t tried his hand at several other professions) is one of the most well-loved characters in video gaming, and whenever Nintendo brings out a new Super Mario title, fans are divided – while it’s true that newer games don’t quite evoke the same after-school-fun feeling, they are still great fun.

Now, quite a lot of Mario games encourage competition – in the case of Mario Kart, they also promote aggressive episodes at family events whenever blue shells pop up, but not a lot are proper esports, so to speak. That’s why the latest Nintendo event announcement at E3 made waves – the newest Mario game, Super Mario Maker 2, is going to debut with its first Invitational.


© Nintendo

Super Mario Maker 2’s release date is set for June 28th world-wide, so seeing competitions a few weeks before that at E3 was a surprise for many… even more so since SMM2 isn’t exactly the most ‘esport-y’ of titles. The side-scrolling platformer lets players create their own levels and games on the Switch, and while fans are looking forward to it, it doesn’t follow any of the popular esports formats currently on the market.

Now, the competitive side of it won’t have players competing in creating levels, but rather it will see four players per match-up competing across a set of challenges and levels constructed by Nintendo’s own Treehouse team. How well this concept will work remains to be seen – the announcement that the title would be turned into an esport confused many of the excited fans.

Amidst the confusion, the more standard E3 plans that Nintendo announced didn’t exactly draw much attention. They’ll air a pre-recorded Nintendo Direct on Tuesday, the 11th of June, and while the company hasn’t yet given details about what will be part of this short, they have hinted at the fact that it will cover some of the Switch games that are being released on the platform this year.

Throughout the E3 week, Nintendo is also going to air Treehouse livestreams, mostly focusing on Super Mario Maker 2 – well, that and Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Both games are scheduled for release following the E3, and as such, both are going to be covered in Nintendo’s exposition.

Of course, there is also a new Pokemon game coming (two, if you count Sword and Shield as separate titles) as well as a new Animal Crossing, so really, Nintendo have a lot of material to cover, with an impressive amount of big-name franchises in their game line-up this year.

We don’t yet know if any of the other games are also going to get a swift if confusing esports treatment here – while it would be hilarious to have a Pokemon game as a proper esport, we aren’t quite sure if it would work!