I decided to return to Nintendo's booth in the last 20 minutes to check out other titles I missed, one of which included the New Super Mario Bros Wii, when who did I see playing? None other than Charles "it's-a-me, Mario" Martinet, with three other Nintendo floor reps!
My lingering didn't go unnoticed when soon one of the reps asked if I wanted to play - to which I admittingly asked for a picture with Charles. Being the very kind man he is (I've met him once before in E3 '06 - the last good E3), Charles and I snapped a picture together.
It was then when I noticed one of the Nintendo reps mysterious went missing. After my photo op, they and Charles were back to playing more Mario with just 3 people. Not forgetting my original intent and seeing the opportunity of a lifetime, I replied to the earlier request and said, "I still would like to play."
Once we were all set, we were selecting levels.
Nintendo rep: "Which level do you wanna play, Charles? How about level 3?"
Charles: "How about...level 8!"
NR: "Are you sure? That level's pretty hard..."
Before we knew it, we were playing the sandy levels of level 8! My player ended up to be the Yellow Toad, while Charles played as Luigi (my fave character, btw). And the rep was right - level 8 is hard, especially when you have 4 people trying to just navigate through the sand geysers and perilless pits. The best moments were when bad things happened to Charles - he expressed his misfortune with his Mario voice going "oh-no" or "why'dyou do that for," which made everyone else laugh.
Level 8 proved too much for our shenanigans ( there was a lot of jumping on each other's heads and pit falling), so we went back to a simpler level 3. By now, a japanese couple also recognize the celebrity playing the game, taking pictures of Charles focused on the screen.
There were moments when it felt like Charles was giving the play-by-play, in his Mario voice, no less! At one time, trying to grab a big coin was a 4-player-jumping-merry-go-round affair, which ended with me snatching the big prize at the end. In another moment, Charles was verbally expressing his intent to secure a Yoshi, to which I silently conceded in pursuing just to here him do his Mario "woohoo"!
Finally, we all passed Level 3, and Charles went back to greet more fans that showed up. By then, it was 6 pm, the day was over, and I left Nintendo's booth happy.