Long the holy grail of many a collector, the Nintendo World Championships cart has been floating in the NES world's dreams for many a year. And now, the first few carts are finally beginning to fall into our hands!
The game itself is a combination of three of Nintendo's most popular games at the time - Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer and Tetris. The contestant plays the games in order after finishing a certain objective in each game, and there is an overall time limit of six minutes. The ultimate object, of course, is to score as much as possible and beat the other three kids playing at the same time onstage.
Hit Start on the second controller to begin the game and you enter SMB. Get 50 coins and you move on to the Rad Racer section where your next object is to finish the first level as quickly as possible. Finally you get to Tetris, which you play until your
Further hampering you in your quest for points are the screens in between games, which flash for 20 seconds and tell you (oh so helpfully) what game you're about to play.
The three games are the exact same as the regular home versions, with a couple of important exceptions for the contest: You have infinite lives in SMB, and infinite time in Rad Racer.
The only real contest "rule" was that all three games on the cart must be "played" in order to count for the contest; although most contestants played as normal and aimed to make their major scoring on the Tetris section, some smarter players (not to mention Howard Phillips) realized that better scores can be made by hanging out in Super Mario Bros., warping to 3-2 and using a turtle-stomp trick to get more points, barely making it to the Tetris section before time ran out.
What are you chances of getting a cart like this? This cart was given to national NWC finalists and contest winners, and I doubt many have let go of their carts (and don't bother trying to track down the contest winners from Nintendo Power's list - it's been done). The above grey cartridge went for over $400 in private auction, and I can't see this price going anywhere but up in the future. As a hard-to-find cart, and as a piece of the NES's history and legacy in America, it's definitely unparalleled... and even now, it's not a bad scale to see how good you really are.
Thanks to Thomas for the pictures used here.