Could a sequel to The Wizard be far behind?
There was only ever one Nintendo World Championships, held in 1990, but Nintendo is bringing it back this year. Starting on May 30, the publisher will stage qualifying tournaments at certain Best Buy stores in cities around the country; winners in each region, “plus competitors invited by Nintendo,” will then gather at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on June 14 for a multi-round final showdown to determine the champion.
The original Nintendo World Championship was held one year after The Wizard hit theaters. Starring Fred Savage, the family-friendly road movie attempted to capture the growing zeitgeist around the still-young video game industry with a fictional championship tournament. Nintendo games featured heavily into the story, and the original Nintendo World Championships drew clear inspiration from the film.
The 1990 event took a similar approach to the 2015 one, with regional qualifying tournaments leading up to a big, final showdown. Competitors were broken into three separate age groups and champions were crowned in each. The 2015 iteration may still break contestants into different age-specific categories, but the initial announcement plainly states that there will only be one winner.
Tournament competitors in 1990 played on specially designed cartridges that ran through a timed gauntlet of three minigame challenges based on well-known games. First, competitors were tasked with collecting 50 coins in Super Mario Bros.; after that, it was a Rad Racer challenge on a custom NWC course; the final minigame was a Tetris challenge, with competitors creating lines until the match timer ran out.
There’s no word on which game(s) comprise the 2015 Nintendo World Championships. It may well be “Nintendo World Championships Remix,” a mode in NES Remix 2 that unlocks on systems where an NES Remix save file is present. Similar to the 1990 minigame gauntlet, NWC Remix sends players on a high score hunt in three linked challenges, based on Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, and Dr. Mario. It’s also possible that Nintendo will come up with something completely new for the 2015 championship.
The final showdown in Los Angeles is intended to kick off Nintendo’s presence at the E3 2015 trade show. The annual Nintendo Digital Event returns this year on day one of the show, with a livestream starting at 9 a.m. PT on Tuesday, June 16. More streams will follow throughout the show, which runs from June 16 to 19.
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