Leading to the start of E3 2015, Nintendo announced their plans for the week of events, as they had done the year previous in a video created with the help of Mega64. And although, their plans were revealed, they remained rather cryptic with details for the return of the Nintendo World Championships after a 25-year hiatus.
In 1990, Nintendo hosted the Nintendo World Championships following a selection process that gained entrants from 29 cities across the United States. These events were each called City Championships. The World Championships event was a competition based around a collection of NES games on a custom cartridge of the same name. Players competed in 3 separate age groups (11 and below, 12-17, and 18 and above) over a 3 day period. The World Finals were held at Universal Studios Hollywood. The cartridge held 3 specially created minigames based on popular games for the competition. Contestants played Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer and Tetris with the objective of achieving the highest score based on a custom cumulative scoring system across all three games within the 6 minutes 21 seconds time limit.
With Nintendo’s announcement of a return of the Championship, many people were unaware of the previous iteration, due to age, and many others due to the lack of subsequent events. So a lot of fans were somewhat unsure how to react to the news. It was indeed a reason to be excited, however, as this new event would be held prior to the start of E3, and would be very accessible to viewers with the aid of Nintendo’s Twitch channel. The qualifying events were held at 8 separate Best Buy locations across the US on May 30, 2015. Contestants competed at these qualifiers playing for high scores in the Nintendo 3DS game, Ultimate NES Remix. Each of these 8 winners were then flown to the Championship event in Los Angeles on June 14, 2015 to compete against 8 select contestants that were hand-picked by Nintendo of America. The qualifying games were Splatoon (Wii U), The Legend of Zelda (NES), BlastBall [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 from the unreleased Super Mario Maker (Wii U).
These 16 contestants battled it out until there were just the two finalists (John Numbers and Cosmo) left to compete in the 4 specially made stages from Super Mario Maker. The finalists put forth an amazing effort in Super Mario Maker where John Numbers was victorious. It was with that effort and the excitement that it generated among the crowd gathered inside the Nokia Theatre and those viewing online that made the NWC so important to Nintendo and gaming, as a whole.
The simple truth is the games and experiences that Nintendo creates are essential to the industry and their fans. The uniqueness of their products brings a completely different form of gaming to the market that is refreshing, to say the least. Games that were not “designed” for competitive play but for fun, are able to create a competitive experience simply because they are fun! Nintendo has not made any concrete declarations as to the future of the NWC, but it seems the consensus among viewers, fans and industry media types is the desire for more, and on a permanent basis.
“The Super Mario Maker climax ended Nintendo’s championships on a pitch-perfect retro note.” ~Gamesradar
The Nintendo World Championships should be “a staple at every E3…I was a part of Nintendo history. That’s where the magic is at.” ~Joshua Ovenshire–Smosh Games
Creating amazing experiences is what Nintendo does, and it’s what we ALL should hope they continue to do. For that reason, the Nintendo World Championships were so very important! That event was a wonderful display of what their games mean to so many, and it also was a crowning of the majestic positioning that is very possible for the company as long as they truly embrace that magic that is very evident to so many observers. It certainly appears that Nintendo is taking steps to do just that with the NWC, and many other things that they are doing (to be discussed at length later). In the end, they are creating an ecosphere that is unmatched and frankly has the potential to reinvigorate Nintendo’s image and standing in the industry as a whole.
So, were you able to watch the Nintendo World Championships? Did you enjoy them, as well? Do you agree with me about their importance?
As always, gaming is meant to be fun, so keep gaming!!