I played all of Nintendo’s big upcoming games of 2019, from the new ‘Pokémon’ to a major new ‘Zelda,’ and the one I liked most was a huge surprise

Mario’s brother, Luigi. ‘Luigi’s Mansion 3’/Nintendo
  • Nintendo has a gaggle of huge games coming to its wildly popular Switch throughout the rest of 2019.
  • I played all of them at the video game industry’s big event last week, E3 2019, including the next major games in the “Pokémon” and “Legend of Zelda” franchises.
  • In a surprising twist, the most fun I had with any game in Nintendo’s huge lineup was one starring Mario’s goofy brother Luigi.
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Nintendo’s got a huge lineup of blockbuster games coming in 2019.

There’s a major new “Pokémon” game (“Pokémon Sword & Shield”) and a major new “Legend of Zelda” game (“The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening”). There’s even a major new Mario game on the way in “Super Mario Maker 2.”

All these games and more were playable at E3 2019, the huge annual video game trade show that happened in Los Angeles last week – and I played them all! Though all the games were fun, one starring Mari’s goofy brother Luigi stood out from the rest.

Nintendo’s games at E3 2019 highlighted the massive Nintendo Switch lineup coming in the back half of the year, but there were three standouts. The first is “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening,” a re-make of a classic Game Boy game.


The Game Boy classic “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” was an incredible achievement when it arrived on Nintendo’s Game Boy handheld console in 1993. It felt and played almost as well as the Super Nintendo game “The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past,” despite running on far less powerful hardware.

Over 25 years later, Nintendo is finally giving “Link’s Awakening” the re-master treatment it deserves: The game is getting a gorgeous update on the Nintendo Switch this September.

I played that update in Los Angeles last week, and it was a blast. It felt like my admittedly dated memories of playing the original so many years ago, albeit with far more attractive visuals.

But it wasn’t the most fun I had with a Nintendo game at E3 – read on for that.

Release Date: September 20, 2019

Check out “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening” in action right here:

The second major highlight of Nintendo’s 2019 line-up is the new “Pokémon” game, “Pokémon Sword & Shield,” which I also played.


Pokémon is coming to the Nintendo Switch – prepare yourself!

Not spin-offs, like “Pokémon Stadium” or “Pokémon Snap” way back on the Nintendo 64, but a full-on main series entry: It’s called “Pokémon Sword & Shield.” As is typical for main series “Pokémon” games, there are two versions (“Sword” and “Shield”).

The game is set in a new region, known as Galar, and it features the new art style that looks similar to the “Pokémon Let’s Go!” games from late 2018. It also features new Pokémon, new trainers, and a totally new story.

I had the chance to spend some time with the latest Pokémon game at E3.

My demo took me through a classic Pokémon Gym scenario, where I poorly attempted to solve some basic puzzles and handily crushed a handful of aspiring trainers. It looked like a much prettier version of something I’d done countless times before, the one major difference being the super-sized “Dynamax” Pokémon that I got to use at the end of the fight – they’re much larger versions of the Pokémon you already know, and their moves are equally large and impressive.

Release Date: November 15, 2019

Check out “Pokémon Sword & Shield” in this extensive gameplay demo:

But it was “Luigi’s Mansion 3” — a surprise delight starring Mario’s brother Luigi — that stood out most in Nintendo’s big holiday lineup.


If you’re old like me, you may remember playing an early Nintendo GameCube game named “Luigi’s Mansion.” It came out way back in 2001!

It wasn’t anything like a typical Super Mario game – instead of jumping on Goombas and clearing treacherous gaps, Luigi was sneaking around a haunted mansion with a flashlight and a vacuum. His goal: Stun the villainous ghosts with his flashlight, then vacuum them up. Naturally!

The game is getting a huge new sequel this holiday, named “Luigi’s Mansion 3,” and it was by far the most fun I had with any of Nintendo’s games at the show. The reason is simple: It’s something totally fresh compared with the rest of Nintendo’s big games this year.

“Pokémon Sword & Shield” will assuredly appeal to the tens of millions of Pokémon fans who repeatedly buy new Pokémon games, and the re-make of a classic “Legend of Zelda” game is enticing to people who played the original as well as people who didn’t.

But both games are extremely familiar, whereas “Luigi’s Mansion 3” is something totally different: It’s got a silly-spooky vibe, unique gameplay, and it stars an underappreciated Nintendo character.

It was the most fun I had playing any of Nintendo’s strong lineup of upcoming Switch games, and it’s the one I’m most excited to learn more about as 2019 continues.

Check out “Luigi’s Mansion 3” in action right here: