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Super Smash Bros. Slamfest '99

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The combatants in the ring at Slamfest '99.

Super Smash Bros. Slamfest '99 was an official promotional event held at the MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park in Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 24th, 1999.[1] Organized by Nintendo of America and public relations firm Golin/Harris,[2] its purpose was to promote the release of Super Smash Bros. The event featured a real-life, staged wrestling match between costumed performers dressed as Mario, Yoshi, Pikachu, and Donkey Kong, performed in front of a live audience. Additionally, demo kiosks were set up for attendees to preview the game.[1] The costumes used were the same as those seen in the North American commercial for Super Smash Bros.

The wrestling match was broadcasted live on the web via RealPlayer G2. A downloadable file was available from the event's official website for several months following its conclusion, allowing users to watch a rebroadcast of the match when loaded into RealPlayer.[3] Despite the rebroadcast, no video footage of Slamfest '99 is known to survive, and the broadcast is currently considered lost media.

Event details

Slamfest '99 was a joint production between Nintendo of America and public relations firm Golin/Harris International, Inc, and was produced and scripted by Ed Espinoza of Golin/Harris.[2] It was held in the "Salem Waterfront" district at the MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park in Las Vegas, Nevada, on April 24th, 1999, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM PST.[1] The match, which took place in a boxing ring initially slated for use in an upcoming Mike Tyson fight[1], was performed and choreographed by Cirque du Soleil actors[2] and lasted for 17 minutes[4].

The costumes used in the match were created by California-based KCL Productions. They were previously used in the North American commercial for Super Smash Bros., and later in various Nintendo-related advertisements and events. KCL Productions had no involvement with Slamfest '99 beyond initially providing the costumes to Nintendo.

Promotion for Slamfest '99 was deliberately limited in scope as a cautionary exercise in the wake of the Columbine High School shooting earlier that week, as it had spurred controversy surrounding violence in video games.[2] More than 100 children from the Andre Agassi Foundation were invited to the event, as well as six members of the media,[5] including an Associated Press photographer. While the event was not mentioned in Nintendo Power magazine around the time period, several print publications and numerous online gaming outlets covered it.

Firsthand accounts

Mario and Donkey would start the match. Donkey Kong, being much larger than our favorite plumber, quickly took Mario out. Yoshi came in and got his revenge on the gorilla. Pikachu would come in for the monkey only to be knocked down by Yoshi's lethal tail. Then, before anyone knew it, Mario went crazy. He wiped out Donkey Kong, Pikachu, and his own teammate, Yoshi. Ultimately, the match would end in a crash which knocked out everyone resulting in a draw. "Everyone's a winner!" the announcer yelled.
—Zelda 64 Planet[6]
Mario and Yoshi were on one team, Donkey Kong and Pikachu were on the other. It was quite funny to see the life-size mascots bouncing around a wrestling ring. Mario went on a crazed rampage hitting everyone in sight, and instead of Yoshi, Donkey Kong accidentally hit himself with his 'mallet of doom.' And in the most heated moment, all four mascot smashed into each other in the center of the ring, and all fell to the mat. That's right, in true Nintendo fashion, it was a draw...and everyone is a winner!
—Nintendorks[7]
Even the ref got in on the act, biting Pikachu’s ear and declaring that it tasted ‘like chicken’. Mario shocked us with his low blow antics and Kong knocked himself out with his own magic hammer, but they all wound up best of friends at the end, the match being declared an honourable draw.
—N64 Magazine[8]

Broadcast

The wrestling match was broadcasted live on the web via Real Time Streaming Protocol (RSTP) and could be viewed in an application that supported the protocol, namely RealPlayer G2. Nintendo's website provided a link to an InternetBroadcast.com domain, which hosted an informational webpage for Slamfest '99 as well as the data for the broadcast.[3] InternetBroadcast.com was a web broadcasting service owned by the company MediaOnDemand.com.

A Real Audio Metadata (.ram) file was available to download from the event's website for several months following its conclusion, which allowed users to watch a rebroadcast of the stream when loaded into RealPlayer.[3] The .ram file was not an actual encoded video file, but rather a container file that would direct RealPlayer to stream the video from the URL it contained.

The URLs which hosted both the .ram file and the address it pointed to are currently non-functional, as are their archived counterparts in the Wayback Machine.

Legacy

In the years since it took place, Slamfest '99 has never been referenced in any official capacity by Nintendo, and maintained an extremely obscure status even among fans of Nintendo and Super Smash Bros.

No video footage of Slamfest '99 is known to survive, and the broadcast is currently considered lost media. However, some non-video content has surfaced, such as photographs, magazine articles, written firsthand accounts, and archived snapshots of the event's official website in the Wayback Machine. Additionally, a talking Donkey Kong plush figure from the "Nintendo Collectibles" line was found featuring promotional material for the event.[9]

In May 2020, André Segers of the YouTube channel GameXplain published a tweet recalling Slamfest '99,[10] which garnered the attention of members of the Lost Media Wiki. A coordinated search effort to find the broadcast footage was launched by the Lost Media Wiki in the following months.

In February 2023, a collection of new high-quality photographs from Slamfest '99 were uploaded to social media by members of the Lost Media Wiki.[11] The photos were provided to the Lost Media Wiki by Slamfest '99's producer, Ed Espinoza.[11]

Gallery

For more images, see: Super Smash Bros. Slamfest '99/Gallery.

References

External links