In 1990, Nintendo struck gold with the introduction of the Nintendo World Championships. For the first time, the bragging rights for the top Nintendo player in the world were officially put on the line, and we’re not talking about the act you saw in The Wizard. This was the real thing. Two years ago, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the first world tournament, Nintendo brought back the Nintendo World Championships at E3 in 2015. Now, Nintendo is bringing back the tournament one more time for its own event.
Nintendo announced the Nintendo World Championships will return in 2017 this October in New York. The tournament will be held at the Manhatten Center’s Grand Ballroom with fans of all ages and from around the world gathering to be crowned the top Nintendo player there is.
Qualifying events will be held at select Best Buy locations around the country starting August 19, so you have a little time to brush up on your Mario Kart and Smash Bros. skills and find those secret exits and hidden items. The main event will take place on October 7.
Here’s how the competition will go down, from a Nintendo press release;
Starting on Aug. 19, select Best Buy stores around the country will host qualifying events in eight locations around the country. Players will be divided into two groups based on their age, and both groups will play Mario Kart 7 for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. The first age group, 12 and Younger, will play as Mario on the Nintendo DS “Luigi’s Mansion” course using Standard Kart, Standard Wheels and Super Glider. The second age group, 13 and Older, will play as Bowser on the Game Boy Advance “Bowser Castle 1” course using Standard Kart, Standard Wheels and Super Glider. The player with the best Time Trial entry in each age group at the end of the two-day event at each location will qualify for the Nintendo World Championships 2017!
Bringing the Nintendo World Championships back once again is a wise move for Nintendo. For starters, it brings a national focus in the gaming industry to the company at a time when it is already laying a positive foundation with the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s latest home console that is already making up ground the WiiU could never dream of covering. And the timing of this tournament just so happens to be leading up to the release of Nintendo’s next Super Mario flagship title, Super Mario Odyssey (scheduled for a release date of October 27).
And anyone attending a Best Buy qualifier will get a chance to test Super Mario Odyssey for themselves. Nintendo will also provide demo access to Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS. Savvy move, Nintendo. Savvy move.
More importantly, it is Nintendo’s way of staying involved in the evolving world of competitive gaming, and this is an area Nintendo really wants to capitalize on with the Switch.
In an age where what’s old is new again, this is Nintendo’s latest push to get into the esports competition game. Nintendo has been making inroads in this space in recent years with Super Smash Bros. tournaments in the past few years and the introduction of other tournaments around newer franchises like Splatoon and ARMS. At this summer’s E3 event, Nintendo ran tournaments centered around the brand new Splatoon 2 (a game I am finding to be much more fun than I ever imagined, by the way), ARMS (Nintendo’s answer to Rock Em Sock Em robots) and Pokkén Tournament DX, a fighting game based on the world of Pokemon.
Nintendo has been left behind by many gamers over the years as consumers have moved on to the PlayStation or Xbox. By staying involved in events like this, Nintendo is investing in regaining a footing in a gaming culture that has left it behind. This doesn’t mean Call of Duty , Overwatch, and Halo lovers are going to drop everything to play some Splatoon, but Nintendo needs the Switch to win back some fans. Tournaments like these will have to help Nintendo’s effort to relate more with competitive gamers.
“The format of the Nintendo World Championships means that anyone has a chance to become the winner,” said Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing (yes, the guy’s last name is actually Bowser, the name of Mario’s nemesis). “Audiences are hungry to watch competitive video games in action, and many of our most classic games, both old and new, are well-suited to competition by players of all ages.”
With two Nintendo World Championships in the past three years, could this be a sign that Nintendo is moving toward more regularly scheduled competitions? Considering the popularity of some of its franchises in the competitive gaming industry today (Smash Bros. and Splatoon), it may not be a bad decision. How successful a Nintendo-run event outside of E3 will be gauged by the success of this world championship tournament.
So game on, Nintendo lovers. You might just have what it takes to be the best Nintendo player in the Mushroom Kingdom.