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Nintendo World Championship 2015 Qualifiers Impressions

Nintendo's legacy competition returns...

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Nintendo is resurrecting the Nintendo World Championships competition and giving away fabulous prizes in celebration of E3 2015. To prepare for the event, Nintendo had organized a nationwide qualifier that would select eight competitors from a pool of thousands to compete in the final round at E3 2015. Those who were looking for a chance to fulfill their dreams of attending E3 for the first time had to put their classic gaming skills to the ultimate test and reach for the highest score possible. Since I was curious about how modern gamers would react to this legacy Nintendo competition from the NES titles, I decided to make my way to a BestBuy location and try my hand at some NES competition.

To my surprise upon arriving at one of the eight official BestBuy locations hosting the qualifier, not many people attended in my region. This was contrary to what I was expecting to see, especially after looking through the positive reactions of Nintendo fans from the announcement over social media. Some places hosting the competition around the nation were packed with people who had lined up since 4 AM local time to secure their spot in line. I fully believed that legions of Nintendo enthusiast would crowd parking lots in all of the qualifier BestBuy locations, looking for possible free stuff if anything else. But that was not the case in the south eastern area where I attended. Things were much calmer than I had anticipated.

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This doesn’t go to say the Nintendo World Championships Qualifier was handled badly or not received well by fans. On the contrary, the competition was a lot of fun to experience and kept people actively discussing everything Nintendo. Even more so, those that attended were rewarded for participating in the competition, which had everyone playing the Championship Mode found in Ultimate NES Remix on Nintendo 3DS. This was the official ruling for mimicking the Nintendo World Championships once held back in 1990, as well as allowing everyone the easiest way to practice for the competition.

Playing in the competition was simple and smooth, surprisingly so because how many people actually attend the location I visited. No more than possibly 100 people were lined up at the BestBuy store looking to complete in the qualifier, guess that was a clear indication of how a lot of modern gamers need to brush up on their retro gaming skills. After registration, everyone was taken to kiosk stations with 3DS systems running Ultimate NES Remix, where an employee of the store would officiate each competitors run. Once someone had finished playing through all three games in Championship Mode on the system, their score was recorded and matched up to the pool of people attending the store.

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By the time I was finished with my own run, I had scored an ok 560,000 points. My score was good for me and gave me a sense of satisfaction, but it was nowhere near as close to the milestones some had been hitting earlier before me. One person for a good amount of time had reach over 1.3 million points on their run, before being outplayed by someone who pushed their score to about 1.5 million points. It was a very humbling experience for my own gaming skills as much as it was fun talking Nintendo with other competitors.

There were a few hiccups during my time at the competition however, which are more nitpicks than an assessment of the overall quality of the Nintendo World Championships Qualifier itself. The top placing competitor was informed via phone if they scored the highest and not announced, so there really was no way to tell who won in my location, even after asking around. I wasn’t sure if this was done because of privacy or more out of convenience for those who couldn’t stay in the BestBuy store for very long, but it still would’ve been nice to see some more recognition for the winner that day. Another nitpick was the free stuff that was given away, which was actually great and more incentive to attend. The only issue was how actively the store would limit what each person would take, where in my case a security guard actively loomed over each person as they went to get a free poster sporting a Nintendo game. It just seemed a bit much and out of place, especially for a location where clearly there was enough for everyone to walk away with bags of free goodies, and still be enough for even more to take throughout the day.

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The Nintendo World Championships Qualifiers were indeed a success, and make me very optimistic about Nintendo continuing this event each year going forward. The big prize for the winner of the finals taking place at E3 2015 has yet to be announced, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a major one. This was a great move by Nintendo to bring back and get everyone excited about E3 2015, as well as keep everyone’s mind focused on Nintendo outside of their E3 Digital Event. Hopefully Nintendo can up the ante and do more for next year’s qualifier, because I’m sure everyone will want to come back and try again.

Did you go out to compete in the Nintendo World Championship Qualifier? Leave us a comment below and share your stories about the competition!

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Jakejames Lugo Senior Editor
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