A Contest in the Making:

The Nintendo World Championship of 1990 had made its debut in Dallas, Texas, from March 8 through March 11. From Dallas, the contest moved to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and various other cities across the United State. Content finalists would later compete at Hollywood Universal Studios in the final competition.

Things to See, Things to Do:

The Nintendo World Championships was a dream come true for gamers. There was tons of entertainment at the convention. Taking a stroll through Nintendo’s “power walk” allowed gamers to check out some of the upcoming Nintendo hits. Games being displayed included Final Fantasy, Solstice, Castlevania III, Crystalis, and Super Mario Bros. 3. Super Mario Bros. 3 would later become one of the best-selling Nintendo games of all time. The convention also offered kiosks featuring some of the latest Gameboy software.

When gamers got tired of trying out the latest games, they could take a break by participating in some of the other Nintendo activities. There was a marked-off section in the complex where game counselors provided gamers with hints and codes. These counselors and “celebrities” were more than happy to give you their autographs. Another section of the center was allotted where kids could create their own rap music videos. Kids would lip-synch a rap song on a set filled with many of the familiar Nintendo characters. I have to wonder how many of the kids actually got up the nerve to participate in this activity.

Let’s Go, Home Son:

While designing the Nintendo World Championship event, Nintendo was wise enough to provide a special section for parents. This section of the convention center was filled with some of Nintendo’s sports and game show titles. However, many of the parents were more interested in watching their sons/daughters compete in the championship tournament.

Time to Compete:

The most exciting part of the Nintendo World Championship was the competition. For the competition, Nintendo designed a special triathlon cartridge. This cartridge featured “edited” versions of Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris. The games were tweaked so that it was impossible to lose. Nintendo also threw in a few special NWC scenes for good measure.

The rules for the competition were as follows:

  • Collect 50 coins in Super Mario Bros.
  • Complete one lap in Rad Racer.
  • Play Tetris.

Gamers had 6 minutes and 21 seconds to complete the three tasks above while scoring good scores. The competition was also broken up into three age groups, as follows:

  • 11 and younger
  • 12 through 17
  • 18 and older

To qualify for the quarter-finals, gamers had to score over a pre-determined number of points in the competition. Winning quarter-finalists would then be invited back for the semi-finals which narrowed the number of competitors down to seven for each age group. These seven would participate in the finals. The three winners of each city (one from each age group) would then be invited back to participate in the national finals in December 1990.

The Flaws:

Flaw #1:
Gamers could participate in as many of these conventions as they desired. For example, a gamer that lost in the Dallas competition could later compete in the Chicago or Detroit competitions. This tactic gave some competitors a slight advantage over others.

Flaw #2:
Gamers were forced to compete standing up! I don’t know about you, but standing up to play video games sounds very uncomfortable. Maybe the excitement was so intense that the gamers forgot that they were standing?