Nintendo Champion Thor Aackerlund
Justin writes, “In Norse mythology, Thor is the god of thunder and wields his mighty hammer Mjölnir. In Nintendo mythology, Thor Aackerlund was the god of Tetris and was the first Nintendo World Champion. Though as quickly as he ascended the ranks of Nintendo players, he quickly fell into obscurity and out of video gaming. Perhaps it is fitting that the first champion’s journey is just as shrouded in myth and legend as his Norse counterpart.”
The 1990 Nintendo World Championships was a video game tournament that spanned 29 cities across the U.S, where players had to compete in 3 popular video games. The games were Super Mario Bros, Rad Racer, and Tetris. If you are familiar with popular 80’s movies you may remember The Wizard. The movie starring Fred Savage followed a boy who traveled to a national video gaming tournament to compete against some of the best players in the world. There were 3 age groups in the 1990 Nintendo World Championship in which players could compete (11& Under, 12-17 and 18+).
Thor Auckland won the 12-17 division. Each player has 6 minutes and 21 seconds to complete tasks in all 3 games with the final score to be determined by your total score in Tetris, which Thor ended with close to 2.8 million points. He dominated the competition and was thought to be the greatest Tetris player in the world. The 3 champions all received $10,000 U.S. savings bond, a new 1990 Geo Metro Convertible, a 40″ Rear-projection television, and a gold painted Mario trophy.
After the competition, the 3 winners from each age group went head to head unofficially in a friendly battle to determine the “ultimate” champion. Thor won, making him the overall best player in the world. After the competition Thor made some TV appearances playing NES with celebrities like Candace Cameron, Nell Carter and other celebrities of the era. His bio on losthammer.com says after the competition he frequented Consumer Electronic Shows and was frequently asked to rate and provide feedback on video games. He was featured on the home shopping network alongside celebrities like Hulk Hogan and Vanna White. However, after some time Thor became burnt out on video games and distanced himself from the gaming scene. He resurfaced in 2010 at the Classic Tetris World Championship where he took 5th place.
Thor will always be remembered as the first Nintendo World Champion reminding us of just how popular video games were in the late 80’s and early 90s. He set the bar for many young gamers and has become somewhat of a Nintendo legend. Thor’s bio says he’s moved on to enjoying being a dad and perusing his other hobbies.
This article was inspired by Justin Ludwig from Entertainment Budda. The photos were reposted from Justins original article. Some quotes are directly from Justins article and our post is loosely based on Justin’s original work. Other resources obtained at Wiki.