The 11th Annual Toy Test is on, and Nintendo unleashes a few surprises for the last round!
Every year, the Today Show (NBC Mornings) holds a "Toy Test" at Seattle's Pacific Science Center (the place with the Space Needle), where kids of all ages get to test a selection of video games that are all due to be released for the holiday season. The kids are given a game at RANDOM to play, and judge the game after limited play time. The results are broadcast in mid-November ... just in time for the holiday shopping season. It's like a mini-E3, but these kids have just as much power as the media, since their likes and dislikes are going to be known by every parent and grandparent buying presents this year.
Unlike E3, most of the kids aren't aware that the games are unfinished or have any background in how the games work. In other words, they're the average buying public, but they get to rank these games based on how much they liked them, how good the graphics were, and if they would buy the game or play it again. Some games get very negative reactions if the kids can't figure out what to do within their 10-20 minute time limit, while very polished and fun games shine through. Most kids seemed oblivious to games that had Japanese text, focusing instead on the gameplay.
Every few days, they swap the games around to get as many games exposed to the buying public as possible. For Nintendo's GameCube, games like PN03, WrestleMania XIX, and Prince of Persia have been shown, but starting today, updated versions of Mario Kart: Double Dash, Pikmin 2, and 1080 Snowboarding were available for play.
Stay tuned for updated impressions from these new builds, as well as screenshots and movies!
Oh, by the way ... the Toy Test is FREE to paying Pacific Science Center visitors or members, and runs through the 24th. Seattle area residents dying to try out some of the latest games should make a beeline. The exhibit is open from 10AM to 6PM, with 5:30-6:00PM being a "free play" time.