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After 25 years, Nintendo blows the dust off its World Championships

May 13, 2015 | By Alex Wawro

After 25 years, Nintendo is planning to host another Nintendo World Championships competition in L.A. the weekend prior to E3 2015 as part of its summer marketing blitz.

Reviving and repurposing prior work with nostalgic appeal is not a novel strategy for Nintendo, but this is especially notable because it represents a big step in the company's ongoing efforts to break out of the traditional E3 press conference model of summer marketing.

Also, the last time this happened it generated one of the most valuable collector's items in the industry.

Longtime enthusiasts may remember the inaugural Nintendo World Championships, which saw the company hosting regional competitions in cities across North America and a world finals at Universal Studios in Florida to determine who could beat a special NES cartridge with three custom snippets of Nintendo games (Super Mario Bros., Tetris and Rad Racer) in the fastest time.

Just over a hundred of these custom NES cartridges were given out to NWC finalists and winners of a Nintendo Power magazine contest; last January, one of them hit eBay with a minimum bid of $5k and wound up selling for $99,902 (with free shipping, of course.)

This time around it's unclear what game(s) will be played in Nintendo's competition; the company plans to host regional tournaments at select Best Buy retail stores across the U.S. on May 30th, and the winners of those tournaments will join other players invited by Nintendo to compete on June 14th in L.A. in a streamed, multi-round event. The winner will be named "Nintendo World Champion" for the year, but whether that title comes with any meaningful perks remains to be seen.

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