Nintendo is trying to drum up hype before next month’s Electronic Entertainment Expo, the world’s biggest showcase for all the big consumer games coming out in the next year.
So, in the lead-up to that event, the Japanese gaming company is bringing back the “Nintendo World Championships,” which hasn’t been a thing in 25 years.
Nintendo announced the news in a goofy video, where Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime plays a bunch of old Nintendo games to train for the two-week-long gaming tournament starting in late May.
If you have no idea what the Nintendo World Championships are, don’t worry. I had never heard of them until watching Nintendo’s video.
Only Nintendo diehards remember the 1990 Nintendo World Championships, the first and only time Nintendo held a cross-country competition to find the best Nintendo gamers in the US.
(Ignore the fact it’s called “World” Championships, not “US” Championships.)
Nintendo toured various US cities and had local players test their skills by playing certain portions of major Nintendo games like “Super Mario Bros.” and “Tetris,” which were all crammed into a specially-made gaming cartridge for these events. The winners of the local contests were flown out to Hollywood to compete against players their own age to win incredible prizes, including a 40-inch TV and a Geo Metro convertible! Wowza!
Nintendo is pretty mum on details for this year’s World Championship — all we know is that qualifying rounds will begin May 30 at Best Buys in major US cities, and the winners from those events, as well as a few invited competitors (probably the winners from the 1990 World Championship, and maybe some surprise guests), will compete at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on June 14 to be crowned “Nintendo World Champion.”
That final championship event will be live streamed online.
Nintendo says it will offer more details about the Nintendo World Championships in the coming weeks, including which games will be played and the possible prizes.
The short-term goal of the event is to build hype for E3, which begins two days after the Nintendo World Championships end. On June 16, Nintendo will hold its “digital event,” which will presumably include a ton of announcements about the Wii U and 3DS handheld. Nintendo did something a bit similar last year: It held a “Super Smash Bros.” invitational tournament before E3 began, and decided to forgo a formal press event in favour of one of these “digital events.”
Still, if popular, Nintendo might consider making its World Championships an annual event. Competitive gaming, also known as eSports, is becoming incredibly popular in the US, and this would be a great way for Nintendo to celebrate this particular demographic while showcasing some of its classic games. Personally, I can’t wait to learn more about this tournament, and watch the June 14 tournament.