After a 25 year hiatus, E3 2015 kicked off with the triumphant return of the Nintendo World Championships.
Long before online tournaments, LAN competitions and Twitch.tv events, Nintendo held their very own tournament with the Nintendo World Championships. The NWC event was created to find and crown the world’s best Nintendo gamer, using various titles from the NES library. Whether it was a head-to-head versus match, time trial or a score attack, each stage of the tournament featured a different game that put to the skills of the participants to the ultimate test. A special competition-only game cartridge was used during the Nintendo World Championships; some of them can still be found in collector-auctions, though for a hefty price as these are among the rarest NES cartridges ever produced.
To commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the original NWC series, Nintendo revived the competition for E3 2015. Over the past few months, Nintendo experts participated in several challenging qualifying rounds at various Best Buy locations. The final 16 competitors found themselves on the Nintendo World Championships main stage this past Sunday evening.
Hosted by Kevin Periera, Justin Flynn, DJ Wheat and his son “Mini Wheat”, the remaining 16 competitors would potentially run the gauntlet of five games, with two of them making their worldwide debut that night. Those knocked out after each stage would have a second chance at redemption as long as he or she survived the “Underground”; eliminated contestants would face one more difficult challenge, with the winner moving into the next round.
Stage 1 opened the Nintendo World Championships with Splatoon, Nintendo’s new team-based shooter for the Wii U. Competitors went head-to-head in two 4v4 “Turf War” matches. The winning team of each best-of-three match was determined by whomever covered the battlefield with the most paint. The two lowest-performing players of each match were sent to the “Underground” for the additional elimination challenge. “TMR – The Mexican Runner”, “Jovenshire”, “MRBLARNEY” and “BSG4000” competed in the first Underground challenge; players raced to finish the first dungeon of The Legend of Zelda for the original NES (played on the Wii U Virtual Console), with BSG4000 completing the challenge with the fastest time.
The remaining 12 competitors were treated to a brand new title, making its world debut at the competition- Blast Ball for the Nintendo 3DS. Blast Ball is best described as a fusion between Titanfall and soccer; each player controls the pilot of a giant mech-suit, armed with a blaster and jets for extra mobility. Two teams of three must fire at a giant ball of energy in order to launch it into the opposing team’s goal. Body-blocking is a viable strategy, however the mech-suits will take damage when they come into contact with the ball. During the match, various stat-modifiers will spawn in the arena, some of which enhance the players abilities, while others deal extreme offensive damage.
After completing both heats, “Essentia”,”Sinister1″, “TimzyBB” and “Fernsig01” joined BSG4000 in the Underground for an even more challenging bout- a race to complete the final sequence of Super Metroid. Players needed to complete all stages of the fight against Mother Brain, and clear the “escape” sequence in the fastest time in order to survive the Underground. Sinister01 narrowly escaped defeat by completing the entire sequence in just over 4 min, securing a spot in the final Underground elimination challenge.
Stage 3 took the Nintendo World Championships into 6th gear, with Mario Kart 8. The Wii U installment of the arcade-racing series, the surviving 8 players participated in two 4-player heats in Mario Kart 8‘s daunting 200cc class. The custom three-track cup featured tracks “Baby Park”, “Animal Crossing”, and “Big Blue”. The five players with the lowest amount of points were sent to the Underground to join Sinister01 in the final elimination challenge.
What came as a surprise to many, “Bananas”, “Cosmo”, Arin Hanson, “Packie”, “JKSNBLKSN” and Sinister01 competed for the highest score in the 1985 NES title, Balloon Fight. All six players raced against each other to break the 25,000 score mark in the endless “Balloon Trip” mode. Alternatively, if no one could reach the preset high score, the player who obtained the highest score after 5 minutes would advance to Stage 4. In the final moments, Cosmo bested Arin’s score by just over 1,000 points, securing his place in Stage 4.
Cosmo, Trihex, Mad Mage and John Numbers advanced to Stage 4, battling for the Final Stage in none other than Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Prior to the match, a special exhibition match between 2014 Smash Bros. tournament winner “Hungry Box” and Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime was held to settle some “unfinished business”. In a laughable display, Hungry Box easily defeated Reggie, in a Jigglypuff VS Ryu “Final Destination” match.
Cosmo and John Numbers were the top-performing players of Stage 4, with both moving onto the Final Stage. A fitting end to the tournament, both players competed for the fastest time in three custom stages of Super Mario Maker. Making its re-branded debut, the previously announced Mario Maker was revamped into Super Mario Maker, with a plethora of new features, and a new tile-set for Super Mario World. Each of the three devilish stages was created by a member of Nintendo’s Treehouse team, designed to take each finalist’s platforming skills to the limit. The three stages used a different tile-set, paying homage to the history of Nintendo; the first stage featured the style of Super Mario Bros, followed by Super Mario Bros. 3, and finally Super Mario World. The player who completed each stage with the fastest time would gain a 15s advantage in the fourth and final stage of the Super Mario Maker challenge. Styled after New Super Mario Bros. 2 for the Wii U, the final stage put Cosmo and John Numbers through a ruthless gauntlet of hazards, only to be greeted by a giant Bowser wielding a Bullet Bill blaster on his back.
After surviving all 4 competition Stages, and avoiding every Underground elimination challenge, John Numbers completed the final Super Mario Maker stage first, thus becoming the 2015 Nintendo World Championships winner. As a special surprise, both John and Cosmo were greeted by Nintendo visionary Shigeru Miyamoto, who presented the winning trophy, and awarded a signed New 3DS XL to both participants.
E3 2015 will continue throughout the week, with the floor expo officially opening on Tuesday. Nintendo will hold their E3 Digital Event Tuesday morning at 9am PT.