It’s time to party like it’s 1990 all over again. After a 25 year absence, Nintendo has announced the triumphant return of its most beloved event in its history: the Nintendo World Championships.
The announcement was made last week during a special Nintendo E3 preparation preview. In the video, Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé is seen training to compete in the event by curling GameCube systems, playing the Virtual Boy, and cheating by using his hands on a Power Pad in the NES classic Track and Field. The segment ended with the announcement that The Nintendo World Championships will return Sunday, June 14th, in Los Angeles two days before E3 opens.
Younger readers may not understand the sheer epicness of this event returning, so I’ll share a little history.
In 1990, Nintendo toured an event called Power Fest. The event traveled across the country, stopping in 29 cities and challenged gamers of all ages. Entrants chased the high scores on this specially made game cartridge featuring three NES games: Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer and Tetris. The top players at each of the regional stops were flown to Universal Studios in Hollywood for the main event, the Nintendo World Championships!
The main event consisted of three age groups: children (ten and under), young adults (11-17), and adults (18 and over). All the groups battled it out to see who could get the most points in a mashup of classic NES games. The winners in each group won a $10,000 savings bond, a mountain of Nintendo goodies, and the glorious title of “Nintendo World Champion.” Additionally, every finalist was given an individually numbered cartridge used in the tournament. While many of the cartridges were discarded or sold at rummage sales throughout the years since the event, one in good condition can sell for thousands of dollars and is considered a Holy Grail in classic gaming.
With the Nintendo World Championships being loosely based on the film, The Wizard, it’s obvious that the event was created as a marketing opportunity right out of the gate. Sure, the prestige and honor of having Nintendo make national headlines for an entertainment event and spectacle meant something. It all wouldn’t have mattered if it all backfired and Nintendo had lost all momentum it had going into the decade of the 90s. The Championships, however, were a success in the end. Nintendo was able to grow and thrive as a company, and it paved the way for other game companies to enter into the mix.
A 25th anniversary of anything is relatively special when you realize it’s a quarter of a century, so Nintendo hoping to capitalize on the nostalgia of the World Championships shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. This year’s event, which the announcement video will have us believe, should be incredibly special in its own right. It can once again propel Nintendo forward into that heavenly gaming ether.Leave a Comment