1990 Nintendo World Championships

This is going to be difficult to review.

Some say this is the holy grail of Nintendo collecting. A cartridge that is a much sought after item within the retro gaming community. However because only a limited amount of them were ever made, 90 grey and 26 gold, the gold ones were part of a Nintendo Power competition, and the fact that very few have ever resurfaced because they were either lost or destroyed. These carts have become incredibly valuable.

But is it actually any good?

Is it worth the £11,257.95, that’s $17,500, the highest recorded sale, converted to GBP at time of writing, for the gold cartridge?

Well it’s difficult to answer. I think this is one of them times where it’s subjective to the person. Because I personally feel that while this is a good game, it’s certainly not worth the amount of money that people have been paying for it.

The NWC cart is split into three games that are played out over the championship time of 6 minuets and 21 seconds. These games are Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer and Tetris. As the competition progresses you have to collect 50 coins in Mario, complete the specially made lap in Rad Racer then use the remaining time in Tetris to rack up the biggest score you can.

The games all play like they would as stand alone cartridges. But they have been modified slightly for the championship edition. The lives in Mario has been set to 99. In Rad Racer the time limit has been set to stay at 99 and the car no longer overheats meaning you can just keep your finger on the gas, also you are only allowed to use the 328 twin turbo. And finally in Tetris you are only allowed to play game type A and start at level 0. However if you lose at Tetris it will stay a game over until the championship time limit has been reached. A measure included to make sure everyone finishes at the same time.

When the game finishes, the final score is then tallied up by combining the scores from all three games. However the score from Rad Racer is multiplied by 10 and the score from Tetris is multiplied by 25.

While there is no doubt that this is an excellent game, and the time limit gives the game that added challenge, I still can’t justify spending £11,257.95 on a bit of plastic. No matter how rare it is. Yet as I said earlier all this is very subjective and there will be people that would want to spend that kind of money to own, what is essentially, a piece of gaming history.

But not me.

Partly because I don’t have that kind of money and partly because if I did have that money I would rather spend it on something like a car. Or a house. Or anything other than a bit of plastic.

That’s why mine is a reproduction of that cartridge. That cost me like £70 including postage from the US. It’s a very good reproduction though. That came in a very well presented box, with nice instructions, a great looking cartridge and a nifty poster.

But in all seriousness this is a special game. Nintendo certainly did break the mould when they came up with the NWC cartridges. Which is why it is difficult to actually review this game. Because there is nothing else to compare it to. It’s a one of a kind experience that caused a sensation when it happened. So I have to try and review this thing as an experience.

And as an experience it’s terrific. These are three games that most who grew up in the NES age will have played and know inside and out. But the fact that you have the time limit and the challenges means your playing these games in a completely new way. You are essentially having to learn new tricks in order to get the best score at the end of the game. However this experience is not complete unless you are playing against someone else.

Having your friends over to play this with you makes the experience so much better. It’s that spirit of competition that drives everyone on. Figuring out new techniques together and constantly bettering everyone else’s score.

As a game it’s an excellent example. But as an experience it’s something very special. That’s why I am giving this a 5 out of 5. It’s something that can’t be replicated with emulation alone. It has to be experienced, especially with friends, in order to understand why people would be willing to pay so much money for it.

Except for me.

Unboxing Video


I grew up in the magical 8-bit era of computers and consoles. I saw the games crash and saw the recovery from it with the NES. I will always have my trusty C64 in my office and when the need arises I will pop a tape in the Datasette and play some classic games.

With a wealth of knowledge, especially on old-school rpg's, I hope to bring it to you. The viewers of Retroist.com

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