Photos of Lost Smash Bros. Slamfest ’99 They put Pikachu, Mario and Yoshi in a real ring

When Super Smash Bros debuted in 1999, it was an oddity among the Nintendo 64’s library, a stark contrast from its monolithic position as a heavyweight in the Nintendo pantheon today.

Along with the now iconic N64 commercial promoting the game, Nintendo came up with creative ways to convey it to their audience. That effort included a weird but fun slugfest with fighters wearing Nintendo suits called SlamFest ’99. And now, some sleuths on Reddit have uncovered high-quality photos of the event, showing how this early, high-concept gaming event went down.

A legendary event

The event itself was something of a legend in online gaming communities. Vice previously reported on efforts by communities trying to find media in 2020, but not much came of it. This exhibition of IRL Super Smash Bros. once referred to as the “alliance of the millennium” at the original location (now lost to time), it ended in Las Vegas in early 1999 in front of a live audience.

During the event, fighters in Nintendo costumes would duke it out, with the referee determining which of the characters from the Smash Bros. lineup he had the upper hand. In retrospect, the event itself is a forerunner of many of the well-known geek-centric events or spectacles common today. Not only did it feature some pretty high-end cosplay for Pikachu, Mario, Yoshi and Donkey Kong – the same ones from the famous N64 commercial – it was also streamed online for fans to watch online.

Despite the spectacle, much of the footage of this event has yet to be recovered – common for content from the early days of the internet. However, content creators and Redditors should still try to find photos or even a recording of the event. Over the past few years, GameXplain creator Andre Segers has called on fans to find photos or videos of the storefront, which has led to some good finds. In addition to the interview with Ed Espinoza, one of the main producers behind Slamfest ’99, some Redditors have revealed anecdotes and some overheard stories about the show.

A new treasure trove of photos

Recently, Reddit user bozo_ssb posted a trove of photos showcasing the event and what went on behind the scenes. These photos were taken by Ed Espinoza while working the event. It’s an exciting find, which showed the growing scale of gaming events and how video games were becoming more and more mainstream. The photos from this SlamFest ’99 event are also a great time capsule from 1999. Video games and the rest of the world have changed a lot in the last few years.

It’s fun to look back at where gaming events used to be. Hopefully some more people will step forward with the actual event material. I think any self-respecting Smash Bros. fan would love to see footage of a real Pikachu awkwardly punching Donkey Kong.

Thumbnail credit: Ed Espinoza
Alessandro Fillari is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @afillari.

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