Slamfest '99 aka "Super Smash Bros. LIVE" (lost livestream of promotional event for Nintendo 64 crossover fighting game; 1999)

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The start of the Slamfest '99 event.

Status: Lost

Super Smash Bros. is a Nintendo 64 game released in 1999 where players can fight each other using various iconic Nintendo characters. The game was a massive success, spawning a large fanbase and five other games, with the most recent game being Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in late 2018.

To promote the game, Nintendo held a promotional event called Slamfest '99 on April 24th, 1999 from 11 AM to 1 PM at the MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park, in Las Vegas, Nevada.[1] The 17 minute long "fight" that was livestreamed via RealPlayer G2 started half an hour later into the event and featured various costumed characters from the game.[2][3] A recording of it has never surfaced since its initial broadcast.

Event Summary[edit | edit source]

This is a description of how the event unfolded, posted on the same day it was held.

“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.”[4]

Two days after the event, Nintendorks posted their own summary.

“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![5]

Later in June 1999, N64 Magazine published this summary along with two new photos.

“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.”[6]

History[edit | edit source]

On August 22nd, 2014, NeoGAF user Rösti mentioned the event in a discussion about Super Smash Bros. for 3DS & Wii U DLC leaks and revealed that they had found the original webpage promoting it.[7] The website, hosted by MediaOnDemand, revealed the official name of the event being Slamfest '99, as well as a link to the rebroadcast that turned out to be dead.[8] This is the first time in over 12 years that it had been referenced again.

Along with this, Rösti also found that the website Zelda 64 Planet had a page that had more info about the event.[4] This website confirmed that the event was held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, with a summary of the event included. It hosted many images of the event (see Gallery). While this had very useful info about the event, the livestream was still nowhere to be found.

Later on May 11th, 2020, the Supper Mario Broth Twitter account posted an image showing Yoshi, Pikachu, Mario, and Donkey Kong costumes, along with their actors.[9] These costumes were used in the North American commercial for Super Smash Bros., with the costumes being made by KCL Productions. The tweet gained much attention from the Mario community, being used in many memes and being retweeted 4.1k times (as of June 2020).

Andre Segers' tweet, mentioning the Slamfest '99 livestream.

Andrè Segers, founder of YouTube channel GameXplain, retweeted the image with a comment mentioning "a real-life Super Smash Bros. Battle using the same costumes used in the commercial that was livestreamed." He also said in the same tweet that he has found no one else mentioning it exists online. This kickstarted the search, with many people scouring for an archive of the livestream on databases and video-sharing sites to no avail.

By the time Andrè posted his tweet, the original rediscovery on NeoGAF had been forgotten. People speculated that the event was held around April-May 1999 and that it was being held at the MGM Las Vegas' Grand Adventures Connected Theme Park[10] in a boxing ring specifically built for the event.

YouTube user and contributor to the Lost Media Wiki LSuperSonicQ, along with a small search team on Twitter had looked into other websites mentioning the event and old magazine scans, all with no success. It wasn't until Twitter user Robert Sephason tweeted to Andrè Segers an image of a page in a magazine Donkey Kong in a boxing ring. This image originates from video game historian Steven Kent's book The Ultimate History of Video Games.[11] This peaked interest for LSuperSonicQ, who proceeded to contact employees who were suspected to have some involvement in Slamfest.

On the Hunt 5[edit | edit source]

Soon after the On The Hunt search for Slamfest '99 began on May 25, 2021, Lost Media Wiki Discord user SpartaYoshi researched and documented how MediaOnDemand's livestream technology worked. The "OTH Contact Team" then followed LSuperSonicQ's lead by reaching out to more people in search for a recording. Those who weren't part of the team also researched for press records. It was through these combined efforts that garnered a ton of newly discovered information.

Aside from the following developments, the search started to slow down a bit. It stayed this way until October 9th, 2021 when Ed Espinoza, a Golin Harris employee working for Nintendo's PR department, privately messaged LSuperSonicQ. Slamfest '99 was one of his first assignments on the job. In addition to posting a picture of himself with Mario and Donkey Kong to Instagram, he also provided info that is mentioned in the section below.

Contact Findings[edit | edit source]

  • Steven Kent, who had attended the event, stated that several video game magazine reporters were there. Demo booths were set up for people to play Super Smash Bros. before and after the fight. He also provided a colorized version of the photo found in The Ultimate History of Video Games and one of Donkey Kong wielding his "mallet of doom."
  • Eric Mangol, a former Director of Sales for MediaOnDemand, suggested that Onstream Media may have a recording, since they bought out the former company.
  • Jimmy Vaughan, a former MediaOnDemand Project Manager for live and on-demand web casts, confirmed that it was up to Nintendo to tell the company to record Slamfest or not.
  • Ed Espinoza, PR for Golin Harris, claimed that a photographer based in the Los Angeles area was hired to take shots for the event and that a satellite truck from Golin was used to livestream. He suggested that Steve Honig had done truck work for it, and that Golin would have had a recording. Furthermore, he stated that the costume performers and choreographers were from Cirque du Soleil, the ring announcer's "cheesy" script was inspired by the 1989 No Holds Barred movie, kids from the Andre Agassi Foundation were invited to the event, and that the Columbine High School shooting which happened 4 days before Slamfest forced Nintendo to limit the amount of outgoing publicity so they could keep a non-violent image. As a result, only about 100 video game review platforms knew of it.

Research Findings[edit | edit source]

The following Lost Media Wiki members found articles and images which also advanced the search for Slamfest in some way.

On June 26th, 2020, LSuperSonicQ found 2 items pertaining to Slamfest. The first was an IGN article dated April 21st, 1999. This one confirmed that the MGM Grand area dedicated to the event would be open from 11 AM to 1 PM. The exact address used is 3779 Las Vegas Blvd. South. It was on “Salem Avenue” or the “Salem Waterfront.”[1] The second was an article from Nintendorks dated April 22nd, 1999. It confirmed that the fight started at 11:30 AM Pacific Standard time.[3]

On October 1st, 2020, Foxlet found a NintendoWorldReport article dated April 26th, 1999. This confirmed that the fight itself lasted for 17 minutes.[2]

When the On The Hunt first started, former user Binzy Boi found 2 new photos in the 29th issue of N64 Magazine.[6] They do not feature any compression artifacts typical for livestreams in 1999, which fuels a rumor that they came from a VHS copy.

Also on the same day, Tornadic found another Nintendorks article that was dated April 26th, 1999. This provided another brief overview of events during the fight.[5]

On June 8th, 2021 Rno found a Nintendojo article dated April 22nd, 1999. This stated that the fight will be split up into 2 matches; the first being Pikachu vs. Yoshi, and the second one being Mario vs. Donkey Kong. This description contradicts that on the Zelda 64 Planet site, as Mario went up against Donkey Kong first.[12]

On October 15th, 2021, SixtyFours and Rno found a new photo in the April 25th, 1999 issue of The Sacramento Bee newspaper.[13] This confirms Ed Espinoza's claims of an Associated Press photographer being at the event.

Availability[edit | edit source]

While many people made many efforts to find the livestream, such as contacting people possibly involved and finding a possible archive of the stream, the livestream has not been found as of the writing of this article.

Although the stream was not found, several photos taken at the event were found on the websites of interest, shown in the gallery.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Images on Zelda 64 Planet[edit | edit source]

On the Hunt[edit | edit source]

N64 Magazine: Issue 29 Page 13[edit | edit source]

Steven Kent[edit | edit source]

April 25th, 1999 Issue of The Sacramento Bee[edit | edit source]

Nintendo PR Employee[edit | edit source]

Other Images[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

LSuperSonicQ's video on the subject.
LSuperSonicQ's follow up video on the subject.
LSuperSonicQ's second follow up video on the subject.
GameXplain's interview with Ed Espinoza on the subject.
blameitonjorge's video which mentions the Slamfest '99 search (8:32-12:43).
The North American commercial for Super Smash Bros., using the costumes used for Slamfest '99.

References[edit | edit source]