The whole core of Nintendo Players UK is built around volunteers. Fans of Nintendo who wanted to bring social Nintendo gaming to fellow fans! For the last 6 years we’ve been a hub for a thriving Nintendo community, bringing both local and national opportunities to our followers. From the sticks of North Wales to the bustling city of Newcastle; from Belfast to Norwich and of course not forgetting those up in Scotland, there’s definitely something for everyone! Every group has a unique identity and that’s what makes them so appealing. Mainstream or Indie, weekly or monthly meets, we’ve got you covered. (And of course if your area is missing something, then there’s nothing to stop you getting involved.)
At North Wales we have events every month, most are themed so people know what game to expect (and also what raffle prizes there might be) Some people only come to play certain games, others will try anything. The greatest thing is seeing everyone enjoying playing games in person, together. We’ll have been running 7 years this year, so have many a good memory to share between us all!
The community pre-existed NPUK, and started off simply as a couple who were looking for others to play mario kart with locally in Bangor. We found a guy called Rhys over in Llandudno.and three of us created “StreetPass North Wales”. Some would turn up if the games we featured appealed to them, but over time as they got to know the growing community, we were able to have proper tournaments, whilst encouraging people to talk by putting on a themed year long league each year. We started off with a Mario Kart 7 league which was great fun and even got the Pokemon fans joining in! The next year Smash got a bit too competitive, so since then we’ve tried to make the leagues as varied and fun as we can. We’ve had retro and team leagues, this year we have “Games Done Differently” (Mirror Mirror Mario Kart anyone??) As a tradition, at the end of the year we award the top 3 league players with specially made trophies!
Here are some memories that North Wales members have enjoyed over the years:
“When my daughter dressed up as Wii Fit Trainer [and won] after she’d put in hours practicing the actual yoga moves!” - Cat
“The Labo Race Track was ace!” - Rhodri
“When I ripped my jeans strutting my stuff for the Runway on 1 2 Switch!” - Nick
“When I got to meet Charles Martinet at the Mario Maker Launch Event!” - Dylan
“I have loads of memories, but the ones I remember are is just being able to play with friends and meet new people.” - Dale
“Watching Detective Pikachu with other Pokémon fans, and the gathering in Pizza Hut afterwards.” - Bill
“NNW gave me so much relief from outside pressures, especially work, my degrees and external music ensembles. Always will be so grateful.” - Chan
My own personal favourite thing about the community is the fact that we’ve made ourselves known in the rest of the UK, and people come from far and wide to our events, some regularly and some just in the holiday seasons! I think my greatest achievement for North Wales was hosting a collaboration in Aberystwyth with Nintendo South Wales. The community spirit was strong amongst the 85 strong event on the seafront! I also hosted the first UK-wide event up in Bangor, by the name of MiiVision. This was Tomodachi Life meets Eurovision. It was nice to see a collaboration between North Wales and Basildon, hosting an event which several groups from all over the UK attended to support their group’s song!
Behind the scenes there’s always someone organising something, whether it’s your own group admin organising their next event, or the NPUK admin team planning the next national tournament. It’s all in the dedication and commitment to the group. When a group first gets going it’s always the venue that’s the first major hurdle. Once you’ve found your venue you’re good to go. After you’ve been going for a few years, the events sort of start to run themselves. You might have your regulars who come to every event; and can help out when things get tricky or on to a larger scale. They don’t expect any rewards, none of us do. The reward is simply in seeing how a group flourishes. It’s not uncommon for a first timer to come to a group really shy and come out of it with a new found confidence! Those who didn’t find their fit before find somewhere they can feel comfortable and safe. We do get the occasional wider opportunities though. The NPUK groups got the opportunity to go to the Switch Premiere in London, January 2017. We’ve also been invited to Nintendo HQ for special events. Generally we run regular UK-wide tournaments. Larger ones can sometimes feed into events as big as Insomnia, and smaller ones are often linked with the developers themselves. It’s great as both a regional group and a wider national group, to be able to network with both developers such as Ubisoft, Team17 and Wired; and other communities including Splatoon UK and PuyoGB.
We are always growing as a community, and hope this will continue as more people get involved! Check out where your local group is using this map.