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E3 2018: Super Mario Party showcases multi-system possibilities

Nintendo announced Super Mario Party, the latest entry in the franchise-turned-friendship-destroyer, during Nintendo’s E3 presentation as a future Switch title. But more importantly, it just opened the floodgates for future Switch innovation.

The showcase, featuring several groups of four brandishing different controller set-ups, played what looked like a standard Mario Party game. They hit some dice, journeyed along a board game map, and played some mini-games. Playable characters like Goomba, Dry Bones, Donkey Kong, Rosalina, and Bowser return alongside classic picks like Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Peach.

But about twenty-five seconds in, Nintendo does something genius.

For the last 35 years, Nintendo has introduced countless innovations to the market. The NES’s universal controller scheme and the Gamecube’s handles. The DS’s daring multiple screen layout. The Wii legitimized IR and motion control. The Wii U… had a confusing name and a gamepad screen, but no worries! The Switch refined these – and every other Nintendo concept since 1983 – and bundled them together for one console. And thanks to Super Mario Party, yes – even the multiple screens came along.

What we see is two Switch units linked together for a single mini-game. One group of players adjusts the screens to form an L shape, and the two units register where the other is, and… the game starts. Before you know it, the two units are acting together as a single, fluid play area. One character crosses off-screen on one unit, and onto the screen of another.

With Nintendo targeting the Switch as a “one-per-person” system, it makes sense for a game like Super Mario Party to include this level of cross-system connectivity. In a hopeful future where everybody is carrying around their portable console of choice, the possibilities are only limited by the tech.¬†What a time to be alive.

Super Mario Party launches in stores October 5th, 2018.