This Interactive Totem Lets You Play Classic Nintendo Games in Festival Crowds—But Its Creator Has Bigger Plans

You’ve heard of totems commemorating spiritual and sexual journeys—or just a dank meme—but have you ever encountered one that brought you right back to your childhood?

Without the exuberant camaraderie of rave culture, the pandemic forced onto us a bleak barrage of virtual experiences and “immersive” streams. At that elusive intersection in 2024 is the “Super Nintotem,” an interactive totem taking the electronic dance music community by storm.

Part totem pole, part gaming hub, the traveling “Super Nintotem” is providing a fresh entertainment experience at EDM festivals. The tricked-out totem lets you play classic Nintendo games on a console while in the crowd.

Super Nintotem (0:24)

The totem debuted in 2023 at EDC Las Vegas, its creator, Brian Tai, tells But the idea was hatched a decade earlier at the festival’s mainstage, where he says he vividly remembers talking to a friend about how cool it would be to somehow fire up a game while in the crowd.

Technology caught up along the way, so he decided to go for it. But how exactly does this portable nostalgia machine run?

Tai says lugging the “Super Nintotem” around isn’t easy. It’s heavy and comes with many fragile components, and he can’t move or dance as freely as his fellow ravers.

“It’s designed from the ground up to be modular and packable for flying,” Tai explains. “A gaming system on a desk is pretty easy. A gaming system on a pole is a bit trickier. It uses a 3-piece PVC pole system that fits in a standard suitcase. All of the mounts and connectors are custom-designed and 3D-printed.”

“Thin panel portable screens have come a long way and are reasonably power efficient,” he continues. “Everything is powered by large lithium batteries, and I need to carry several in my CamelBak to last the night. It’s been an iterative process over the last year. The screen got bigger. A wheelable base was created to help with transportation. Moved to cordless controllers to prevent randoms from clotheslining themselves while cutting through the crowd. A light-up amnesty warp pipe was put up top to help with 360-degree visibility.”

The “Super Nintotem” totem.

Brian Tai

The “Super Nintotem” isn’t just a distraction—it’s a fusion of experience, a postmodern Mario mashup where power-ups are found in kindred spirits and the ultimate victory is the shared joy of classic gaming under the electric sky.

However, while totems are an undeniable mainspring of stateside rave culture, many, especially overseas, find them unnecessary and disruptive. Tai wants to show those detractors that totems hold value in places where DJs often numb crowds into head-bobbing hypnosis.

“Totems serve a practical purpose of helping your friends find each other in a sea of 170,000 people at night,” he says. “But beyond that, they’re an expression of creativity, humor and joy. God knows how many times I’ve looked to my side and seen someone’s totem that caused me to laugh and smile. They are a form of communication and interaction. Events are not just insular strangers standing next to each other listening to music on their own.”

However you may feel about totems, there’s no denying the emotional response elicited by the “Super Nintotem.” Tai over the weekend brought it back to EDC, one of the world’s most popular EDM festivals, where over 500 people played games on it. And the reactions were all the same: pure, unfiltered bliss.

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As he’s spent more time with it, Tai has realized it accomplishes a number of benevolent goals despite requiring little from participants: inclusion, participation, immediacy, a form of gifting.

The totem’s cornerstone, however, is its ability to connect people through shared experience—both past and present.

“So much of social media is me me me,” Tai says. “Everything posted on the supernintotem account is focused on the players, none of the posts are about the totem or the people running it. It’s a snapshot frozen in time, with lots of really happy people.”

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