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Best Buy Nintendo Wii U kiosk (Photo via Business Wire)

This is test-driving, Nintendo style.

Looking to recover from the Wii’s slump, Nintendo is placing 5,000 interactive kiosks around retail stores this holiday season to give consumers a hands-on look at the new Wii U game console and its touch-screen GamePad controller.

Depending on the kiosk, people will be able to play games like New Super Mario Bros.  and Rayman Legends on the Wii U, which debuts Nov. 18.

Nintendo is hoping to convince shoppers that its newest product is the best way to play games, watch video content and connect with friends. It’s the company’s bid to rebound in the console market after posting the first unprofitable year in its history, thanks in part to a tepid initial response to the Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming machine.

A while back, GeekWire visited a “Wii U Experience” event at a Seattle club and polled some of the people trying out Nintendo’s new thing, which is the first in the industry’s next generation of home consoles and gets Nintendo out ahead of Microsoft and Sony. The reaction from the crowd was generally positive, but not universally so, with some concerned about price and lack of originality.

The Wii U Basic Set will be sold at a suggested retail price of $299.99, while the Wii U Deluxe Set will be available at a suggested retail price of $349.99.

Participating retailers hosting the kiosks include Target, Best Buy, GameStop, Walmart and Toys ‘R’ Us. There are 20 kiosks in a 50-mile radius surrounding Seattle, including ones at the downtown Seattle GameStop’s and the Bellevue Best Buy. See if there are any near you at Nintendo’s website.

Previously on GeekWire: ‘Nintendo TVii’ aims to leapfrog Xbox 360, PS3 in living room

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