1990 Nintendo World Championships
[This article was curated from multiple writers and articles including, Ricky D of Popoptiq.com, Jenna Pitcher of Polygon.com and other resources from Wiki and eBay. It is not our intent to infringe upon any of the above writers work. The following article was not written by the NES Page.]
The original Nintendo World Championships began on March 8–11, 1990, in the Fair Park’s Automobile Building in Dallas, Texas, and ended up touring through twenty-nine City Championships across the United States. Players from three separate age groups (11 and below, 12–17, and 18 and above) competed across three days. The top two scorers then competed for the title of City Champion. The finalists won a trophy, US$250, and a trip for two to the World Finals at Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles, California. The runners-up won a Nintendo Power Pad and a Game Boy.
The World Finals were held December 7–9, 1990, conducted similarly to the City Championships and were located at Universal Studios Hollywood in the Star Trek Theater, now Shrek 4-D. There, contestants played a special Nintendo World Championships cartridge for the Nintendo Entertainment System. The cartridge contains three customized minigames based upon the popular games Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris. The objective is to achieve a high score according to a custom cumulative scoring formula across all games, within a total time limit of 6 minutes and 21 seconds.
The Nintendo World Championships competition was based on a custom NES cartridge by the same name. Ninety copies of this cartridge exist as the official gray cartridge, given to finalists after the championships concluded. Another twenty-six copies exist in gold, like the The Legend of Zelda cartridge, and were given as prizes in a separate contest held by Nintendo Power magazine.
The Nintendo World Championships game cartridge is considered to be the most valuable NES cartridge ever released and one of the rarest, with collectors and charities having been paid more than US$15,000 per copy. Pat Contri, known as Pat the NES Punk and a video game collector himself, is notable for owning both a gold and a gray cartridge copy. The games were used on an Angry Video Game Nerd episode and fake cartridges were made for narrative purposes.
The Gold Mario Trophy – 12-17 Age Group – 1 of a kind!
The NWC (Nintendo World Championship) contest stands easily as the largest video game contest in history, filling the largest convention halls in cities from coast to coast. It went on for 9 long months traveling the country before culminating at Universal Studios in Hollywood, California. At the finals the grand prize was a car, a TV, a savings bond, and the golden Mario statue itself. The various Nintendo World Championship memorabilia has attracted a lot of attention over the years, continually becoming more sought after as the pinnacle not just of NES collecting, but in the entire game collecting and media communities. Patrick Scott Patterson has written articles that have been featured on Kotaku, Yahoo, Screwattack, and countless other sites, where he highlights the 1990 NWC in many of his pieces. He has expressed great interest in profiling the trophy as potentially the most exciting gaming collectible to hit the market yet.
The gold Mario itself is the rarest and highest-profile of the NWC collectibles. There were a little over two dozen Gold NWC carts given away through the random Nintendo Power drawing. Perhaps half of the NWC grey carts, of which 90 were given away, have surfaced over the years. Of the Mario statues, there are three second-place silver ones for the runner-ups in three age categories, and three gold, one for each of the three age categories. I won the final run-off with the 11-and-under and 18-and-up winners and can hold the 12-17 gold overall trophy as the highest award in any organized game contest. None of the other Mario trophies have surfaced, and the grand prize trophy itself is definitely one of a kind.
Also Included – Nintendo World Championship “Number 1” Controller – VGA Graded 80 Silver NM:
The number 1 controller was actually used in the touring NWC and a few have surfaced over the years. The majority have been the “number 2” version. This number 1, is only the second one I have seen. The grade is silver, but that is understandable since these gems were used by thousands of kids in 30 cities.
NWC is already at the pinnacle of VG collecting, but I predict with the recent release of the documentary Ecstasy of Order, (where I and the NWC are featured throughout) that the demand will skyrocket.. Ecstasy of Order is now available on their website ecstasyoforder.com and will be available on i-tunes and other VOD formats starting this Tuesday.
For the 25th Anniversary of the games Nintendo held the Nintendo World Championships 2015 with the qualifying rounds to be held at Best Buy locations across the U.S. on May 30 2015. Regional winners will move on to the championship, which will be held at the Nokia Theatre L.A. live in Los Angeles on June 14 2015. Following this news, we thought it would be a great time to look back at the original event that took place at Universal Studios, Hollywood.
Although e-sports have long been a part of video game culture since the early 70’s, competitions saw a large surge in popularity in 1989 when Universal Pictures produced The Wizard, about a trio of kids who make their way to a national Nintendo video game championship for a grand prize of $50,000. A year later, and Nintendo held its first and only World Championships, a video game competition that toured twenty-nine cities across the United States. The competition, which was inspired by the The Wizard, was based on scoring points in three Nintendo Entertainment System games (Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris) within a time limit of 6 minutes and 21 seconds. Players had to collect 50 coins in Super Mario Bros., finish the first race in Rad Racer, and then accumulate as many points as possible in Tetris until time expired.
The event was a focal point in Nintendo’s rise to the top of the gaming market, and kids across north America practiced feverishly in hopes of heading to this event and winning it all. Three World Champion titles were given. Jeff Hansen won in the 11 and under category, Thor Aackerlund won in the 12-17 category, and Robert Whiteman won in the 18 and older category. The three boys than squared off in a Champions tournament, and Aackerlund ran away with the victory, accumulating the highest score of all the competitors with an approximate total of 2.8 million points, beating second place by 100,000 points, and taking home the Golden Mario Trophy. What all 90 competitors didn’t realize at the time, was that even the losers would walk away with something of greater value.The competition was based on a custom NES cartridge by the same name. Ninety of these copies exist as the official gray cartridge, and were given out to finalists after the championships concluded. The other 26 are gold and were given out as prizes in a separate contest held by Nintendo Power magazine. Considering how much of a nostalgic powerhouse the NES is, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the gold cartridge, described as the “holy grail” of console game collecting, recently sold for over $100,000 on eBay.
Immediately following the championships, Thor received his 15 minutes of fame, and then some. He was given a chance to attend Nintendo media events, Consumer Electronic Shows, popular talk shows and he even became a child spokesperson for Canadian-based Camerica. According to his own personal bio, by 1993, Thor was burnt out on the gaming scene, and quit gaming for nearly two decades. 20 year later, Troy decided to return back to the world of gaming and currently holds a top Tetris score at Twin Galaxies and is listed in the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition book. In addition, he’s recently made an appearance in the feature-length documentary Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Master.
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