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Nintendo World Championships 1990 [Gray]
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Console: Nintendo NES
Year: 1990
RFG ID #: U-027-S-04590-A
Part #: N/A
Developer: Nintendo/Square
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Compilation
Sub-genre: Competition
Players: 1
Controller: Standard Controller
Media Format: Cartridge
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Collection Stats:

  • 9 of 7594 collectors (0.1%) have this game in their collection
  • 20 of 7594 collectors (0.2%) have this game in their wishlist.
  • 0 of 7594 collectors (0%) have this game for sale or trade.

In 1990, Nintendo set out on U.S. tour to promote their Nintendo Entertainment System. The Nintendo World Championships came through thirty lucky U.S. cities such as Dallas, Detroit, Cleveland, and more in search of the greatest Nintendo players. The events surrounding the tour consisted of live entertainment, upcoming game displays, free game counseling, and most importantly - the competiton.

For the competition, Nintendo made a special cartridge which contained modified versions of Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris. Players had six minutes and fifteen seconds to rack up as many points as they could. In Super Mario Bros., the objective was to collect fifty coins. Once the player did so, he or she went on to complete a course in Rad Racer as quickly as possible. Competitors then had the remaining time to play Tetris. Since the game was timed, scores in each idividual games were multiplied as players progressed to reward quickness. The Super Mario Bros. score was raw, the Rad Racer score was multiplied by a factor of ten, and the Tetris score multiplied by an amazing twenty-five.

To even the playing field a bit, Nintendo created three age brackets in the competition: eleven and younger, twelve to seventeen, and eighteen plus. In each city, one winner was chosen from each age bracket to compete in the national events held at Universal Studios in Florida in December of 1990. These ninteny finalists received a grey Nintendo World Championships 1990 cartridge, like the ones used in the competition. Later, twenty-six gold Nintendo World Championships 1990 cartridges were given out in a Nintendo Power contest, bringing the confirmed total of NWC carts in existence to a whopping 116. However, the example Ben Smith so kindly scanned for RF Generation is numbered 0343, leading us to believe that there are at least this many in existence. Read on to find out who the others were given to.

The stage shows were organized by Nintendo Game Play Counselors. The first of these was Ben Smith, who flew into Dallas, TX, on Saturday March 3rd of 1990 to organize the first events. Excerpts from an e-mail exchange between Mr. Smith and RF Generation co-webmaster Michael Collins can be found below. Mr. Smith's NWC cartridge, which can be seen here at RF Generation, sold on eBay on June 3, 2005 at 13:31:34 PDT for $1,975.00. At the time of this writing, this is the most-recently sold NWC cartridge.

E-mail dated Fri, 3 Jun 2005 17:17:03 -0700

Basically I was the first Nintendo Game Play Counslor to be selected for the first ten cities of the 30 city NWC event. More rotated in and out after that. My GPC Lead, Rick Thompson also went with. We started in Dallas and our job was to coordinate with the production company who was staging the event for Nintendo. We were involved with the creation of the stage show, Counselors Corner, and we helped with the magic show and all. Countless hours later we finally had something presentable.

Basically we went from city to city. Each day we'd hold anywhere from three to five stage shows. After each show we'd sign autographs and answer questions, then we'd cruise around the gaming area to help out. The days were exhausting but I had more fun than any person should be able to. We met a lot of people. It was like leading the life of a celebrity for a few short weeks. I was no celebrity, but the kids' enthusiasm and all sure made us feel like we were. It was great. I wasn't a game god at all. I was good and I practiced a hell of a lot but I really was just an average Joe who happened to get on at Nintendo and be in the right place at the right time.

E-mail dated Sat, 4 Jun 2005 13:24:01 -0700

Let me see if I can remember the order of the cities...We flew into Dallas on Sat. 3/3/90.

From there we went on to Cleveland, Philidelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Indianapolis, Worcester/Boston, New York, Hartford, I substituted for a sick GPC during the Seattle show and I did the finals in Universal Studios later that year. I may have forgotten a city or two, not sure, was a long time ago. Maybe it was ten weeks total on the road. Heck, who knows.

We drove by vans and flew to in to a couple of the cities. I think there were about eight semi trucks hauling all the stuff around I remember being tired, a lot. We pretty much lived on adrenaline.

If I remember right the NWC wasn't very profitable, if at all. I don't remember there being any talk of other events. They did some smaller things like the Campus Challenge where they went to different universities, but nothing the scale of NWC.

My best score on the competition game was about 1.4 million. I was good player but there were a lot of people better than me. No problem though. I had a lot of fun.

We didn't even get a chance to play the competition cart until the second city, Philly, due to all the time we spent just getting the show up and running. Not a good thing. It came back to haunt us.

Rick and I were called to the competition stage to demonstrate the game as a time-filler in Philly. Lots of people there, TV cameras, other press, parents and tons of kids, and everybody was watching us play. We were introduced as game experts from Seattle and rah rah rah. A big ole build up.

And we SUCKED! I think I scored 120,000 or some godawful score. I was humiliated. We got copies of the game and I spent countless hours in my hotel room after that just practicing the game. The rest of the crew went out drinking after the shows and such and I practiced. LOL...one of my not so pleasant memories of the tour. But I was able to put up decent scores after that.


Reviewing the Nintendo World Championships compilation isn't the easiest thing in the world. As a game to play for sheer enjoyment, it has little long-lasting appeal to much of anyone. The game only lasts for a set amount of time (changed by dipswitches on the cartridge), and so it is impossible to make any real progress in the three games the cartridge includes: Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris. However, to review a competition cartridge by rules governing commercially-released games is unfair.

As an instrument of competition, Nintendo World Championships 1990 works fairly well. Scoring big is no easy task, but it is not impossible for the truly great players to showcase their skills by achieving amazing scores. In other words, this compilation does what it sets out to - find the best of the best Nintendo layers across a variety of games.

But is it fun? A competition may pick out the good and the bad players, but if nobody has any fun, who cares? As you know by now, Nintendo chose three of the best games available for the NES in 1990 for their championship competition. The three games were only modified in that they ended at a certain point (collecting fifty coins, finishing the track, or time running out), so none of the elements that made Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, or Tetris were lost in this game. Nintendo gave enough of a test in each game that players have a chance to get into the game, but not too little or too much. Playing the timed game today is still fun and fast-paced, even without all of the hyseria surrounding the events of the U.S. tour in 1990.

High score freaks could probably get hours of enjoyment from Nintendo World Championships 1990, but for most it will not be a game to play more than a few times. As a piece of history and part of a complete NES collection, it is immensely significant. Collectors should expect only to experience a part of history or to relive the nostalgia of the competition when they boot this game up. Casual gamers looking for something special on their NES should stick to the three games this one comprises of: Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, or Tetris. All of them are cheap and readily available.

The below review score has been assigned to this title regarding its merit as a competition game, and NOT as a game for the average player.

RF Generation Review Score


Extra Media:

  • Nintendo World Championships 1990 All Access Pass
  • Nintendo World Championships 1990 eBay auction ending at $1,975.00 on June 3, 2005 (PDF)
  • Variations:

    Console Reg. Type Title Publisher Year Genre
    Nintendo NES U S Nintendo World Championships 1990 [Blue Repro] RetroUSB 2007 Compilation
    Nintendo NES U S Nintendo World Championships 1990 [Gold] Nintendo 1990 Compilation
    Related Games:

    Console Reg. Type Title Publisher Year Genre
    Nintendo NES U S Rad Racer [5 Screw] Nintendo 1987 Racing
    Nintendo NES U S Super Mario Bros. [5 Screw] Nintendo 1985 Platformer
    Nintendo NES U S Tetris Nintendo 1989 Puzzle
    Game Trivia:

    • Ninety grey copies of this game were given out to finalists on the Nintendo World Championships 1990 tour.
    • Twenty-six gold copies were given out via a Nintendo Power contest.
    • Other copies of the cartridge were given to Nintendo employees, though at the time of this writing, a specific figure is not yet known.
    • The tour went through thirty U.S. cities during 1990 and ended with finals at Universal Studios in Florida.
    • Competitors had six minutes and fifteen seconds to collect 50 coins in Super Mario Bros., complete one track in Rad Racer, and rack up points in Tetris.
    • Each Nintendo World Championships 1990 cartridge is individually numbered.
    • The cartridge contains four switches which can be used to change the time limit for the game, though the competition in 1990 had a specific time.
    FAQ's/External Links:

    Page Credits:

    Michael Collins: Page esign, HTML code, screenshots, related games, overview, PDF extra media, game trivia, external links, review.
    Eddie Herrmann: Perl script.
    Rick Johnson: Title correction
    Ben Smith: scans, competition information, external links, extra media photos, e-mail correspondence, game trivia.
    ApolloBoy: Variation title, part number, UPC, developer, genre, title edit
    Shadow Kisuragi: Release Type, Variation Tie-In

    Last Updated: 2011-10-23 20:37:20
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