6,000 competitors, eight Best Buys, one chance at becoming the first Nintendo World Champion in 25 years. No pressure, right? This past Saturday, Nintendo kicked off its 2015 Nintendo World Championships with eight qualifier tournaments at Best Buys scattered around the US. One of those Best Buys just happened to be our local store in Torrance, California, so we stopped by to watch the competition and bring you a full gallery of photos.
The competition itself boiled down to each player’s skills in Ultimate NES Remix for the 3DS. The first 750 people per store were sent through the gauntlet of of the game’s Championship Mode, which asks you to collect 50 coins in Super Mario Bros., 25 coins in Super Mario Bros. 3, and then complete a game of Dr. Mario – all in under approximately six minutes. A single score was generated based on each player’s performance in the three individual sections, and to say the scores were all over the map would be an understatement. Some scored in the hundreds of thousands, others made it into the millions. It all boiled down to how prepared the player was. Of those we talked to, there was a healthy mix of attendees who started training as soon as Nintendo announced the challenge, those who figured they’d wing it with little practice, and even a few fans who just happened to be at Best Buy anyway.
The event’s setup was one that Nintendo has honed over the years for its E3 Best Buy events. Fans lined up outside in the hundreds, snaking past Best Buy’s neighboring storefront and around the side of the building. They were then brought inside in small batches to a series of tables lined with New 3DS XL systems already running Ultimate NES Remix. All things considered, the line moved briskly, and there were enough slots in the competition to allow for fans who showed up mid-day to still compete. And once players finished competing, they were given the chance to grab an assortment of oldie-but-goodie Nintendo freebies such as Smash Bros. logo decals, Mario Kart 8 and Super Mario 3D World stickers, and even Lego City Undercover mini-figurines.
All in all, the qualifiers were what you would expect with no real surprises. But if last year’s Super Smash Bros. Invitational is any indication, we’ll be in for quite a show when the Nintendo World Championships kick off E3 week on June 14 – and yes, we’ll be there to bring you full coverage from inside LA’s Nokia Theatre. Until then, check out the sights of the qualifiers in the gallery below.