Nintendo World Championships

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Nintendo World Championships
Nintendo World Championships logo, 2015.png
Genre Video game competition
Location(s) NWC 2015:
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Country United States
Inaugurated March 8, 1990; 27 years ago (1990-03-08)
Most recent June 14, 2015 (2015-06-14)
Organized by Nintendo

The Nintendo World Championships (NWC) is a video game competition series, organized by Nintendo.

The competition launched in 1990, touring twenty-nine cities across the United States. It is based upon its namesake custom game cartridge for the Nintendo Entertainment System, considered to be the most valuable NES cartridge ever released and one of the rarest. On June 14, 2015, the second Nintendo World Championships event took place for its 25th anniversary as part of Nintendo's E3 2015 coverage.

Nintendo released 2014's NES Remix 2, featuring the reminiscent Nintendo World Championships Remix, which uses emulation and online leaderboards to incite informal public competitiveness.


The original Nintendo World Championships began on March 8–11, 1990,[1][2] in the Fair Park's Automobile Building in Dallas, Texas, and ended up touring through twenty-nine City Championships across the United States.[3] 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,[4][5][6] 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.[7]

Three 1990 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.[8]

There was no official competition round to crown a single winner. However, after the competition ended there was an informal face-off between the three winners, with Thor Aackerlund taking first place, Jeff Hansen taking second, and Robert Whiteman finishing third.

The top winner in each age category were awarded a $10,000 U.S. savings bond, a new 1990 Geo Metro Convertible, a 40" Rear-projection television, and a gold painted Mario trophy. Runners up in each age category received a $1,000 U.S. savings bond and a silver Mario trophy.

Thor Aackerlund later became the official games spokesperson for Camerica Corporation, a direct competitor to Nintendo, immediately after winning the Nintendo World Championship. Jeff Hansen later became the United States representative to Japan to win the World Championship title in Tokyo, Japan, and again in Las Vegas at a rematch with the Japanese champion, Yuichi Suyama.

The 1990 NWC Gold and Gray Cartridges.


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.[9][10]

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.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21] 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.


A screenshot of Narcissa Wright's run through a level in Super Mario Maker, during the final of the 2015 Nintendo World Championships.

On May 13, 2015, Nintendo announced the return of Nintendo World Championships for the event's 25th anniversary, as part of the company's E3 2015 coverage.[22] Qualifying competitions began on May 30 in eight Best Buy locations across the United States.[23] At each location, contestants competed for the high score in Ultimate NES Remix. The winners from each of these eight locations, plus eight players invited by Nintendo, became the contestants for the final event.[24]

The live video of the Championship's final event was streamed online from Los Angeles on June 14, 2015.[25] The qualifying games were Splatoon (Wii U), The Legend of Zelda (NES), Metroid Prime: Federation Force (3DS), Super Metroid (SNES), Mario Kart 8 (Wii U), Balloon Fight (NES), and Super Smash Bros. (Wii U). The final contest consisted of custom levels within the then unreleased Super Mario Maker (Wii U), played by the two finalists: John Numbers and professional speedrunner Cosmo Wright. The players were alternately blindfolded while the other played the game, and they then raced simultaneously to the final level's end, where John Numbers won the championship title. Gamesradar said that Numbers demonstrated "impulsive mastery" of the Super Mario Maker levels which were "hellish", "sadistic", "evil", and "truly weird".[26] Shigeru Miyamoto made a surprise appearance to present a trophy to the winner, and an autographed New Nintendo 3DS XL system to each of the two finalists.[27][28]


In 2015, Gamesradar summarized that "The Super Mario Maker climax ended Nintendo's championships on a pitch-perfect retro note."[26] Contestant Joshua Ovenshire of Smosh Games said that the Nintendo World Championships should be "a staple at every E3", summarizing, "I was a part of Nintendo history. That's where the magic is at."[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Story of the First Nintendo World Championships - IGN". IGN. 2015-05-13. Retrieved 2015-11-09. 
  2. ^ "The Nintendo World Championships '90". AtariHQ. 1997. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  3. ^ "NWC Contestant Information - Flickr - Photo Sharing!". Flickr. 2008-11-18. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  4. ^ "The quest for the golden Nintendo game - Ars Technica". Ars Technica. 2011-09-12. Retrieved 2015-11-09. 
  5. ^ "Nintendo`s Powerfest `90 Is The Video Game Olympics - tribunedigital-chicagotribune". Chicago Tribune. 1990-12-07. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  6. ^ "The Azure Heights Forum: Nintendo World Championships 1990". 2000-12-07. Retrieved 2016-03-08. 
  7. ^ "Nintendo World Championships 1990 for NES". September 16, 2005. Retrieved July 4, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Scan of official contestant information flyer". Bob Whiteman. October 18, 2008. Retrieved October 4, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Nintendo World Championships 1990". Retrieved July 7, 2009. 
  10. ^ Theobald, Phil (March 7, 2009). "Playing with Power". Retrieved July 4, 2009. 
  11. ^ Digital Press Mini Rarity Guide. Messiah Entertainment. 2005. 
  12. ^ Holy Grails of Console Game Collecting
  13. ^ "The Holy Grails of Console Gaming - The Rarest, Most Valuable, and Desirable Games Ever". RetroGaming. 2006. Retrieved July 4, 2009. 
  14. ^ "Nintendo World Championships 1990". Retrieved July 4, 2009. 
  15. ^ Hendricks, JJ (June 23, 2009). "How I Got Nintendo World Championships Gold". Retrieved July 4, 2009. 
  16. ^ "The quest for the golden Nintendo game". September 12, 2011. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  17. ^ "The $15,000 NES Cart". May 1, 2008. Retrieved July 4, 2009. 
  18. ^ Hendricks, JJ (June 23, 2009). "How I Got Nintendo World Championships". Retrieved July 4, 2009. 
  19. ^ "NINTENDO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS NWC 1990 Cartridge". December 11, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2009. [dead link]
  20. ^ "How I Sold Nintendo World Championships". January 27, 2010. Retrieved January 27, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Child's Play Banquet 2011 - Live Auctions". YouTube. December 15, 2011. Retrieved April 25, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Nintendo World Championships headline Nintendo's expanded lineup at E3 2015". Nintendo. May 13, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Nintendo World Championships Headline Nintendo's Expanded Lineup at E3 2015". MarketWatch. 
  24. ^ Nintendo World Championships - Announcing More Details!. Nintendo. June 9, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  25. ^ Nintendo World Championships 2015. Nintendo. June 14, 2015. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  26. ^ a b Kietzmann, Ludwig (June 14, 2015). "Nintendo World Championships conclude with hellish Super Mario gauntlet". Gamesradar. Retrieved June 16, 2015. 
  27. ^ Osborn, Alex (June 15, 2015). "Nintendo World Championships 2015 Winner is John Numbers". IGN. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  28. ^ Leone, Matt (June 14, 2015). "John Numbers wins Nintendo World Championships 2015". Retrieved June 15, 2015. 
  29. ^ Kollar, Philip (June 15, 2015). "Nintendo World Championships was the best E3 kick-off we could have hoped for". Polygon. Retrieved June 15, 2015. 

External links[edit]