Dec 7-9, 1990. Universal Studios, Hollywood.
My memory is really fuzzy....
I was living in North Hollywood at the time.
The event was on a few miles away, so Nintendo didnt fly me anywwhere.
Wait, I guess I should go back further.
The Nintendo Powerfest tore its way across the country. Back when Nintendo was the only name in the gaming world, they pulled the biggest gaming tour ever. Every weekend, they hit a major city.
One area contained a preview area. People could play Super Mario 3 and Dr Mario and countless other games that were out or not out yet.
The main area was the stage.
The stage was surrounded a ton of monitors. Probably 100. Each was set up to play a special made game.
You had 6 minutes and 21 seconds to rack up 50 coins in Super Mario Bros, race 1 track in Rad Racer, and score points in Tetris.
Every ten minutes, people were allowed to compete. Out of each group, the top 7 were allowed to play on the stage. Each competitor was given a Mario or Luigi plush doll. (I still have both)
The stage consisted of 6 monitors along the front. A seventh monitor was set up above in the rear, with a "thrown" to sit on.
Two giant monitors aside the thrown were set up so the audience to watch.
From this group, the winner was invited to compete for bragging rights on Sunday afternoon. Winners were split into 3 age groups: 11 and under, 12-18, 19 and up.
Los Angeles had two weekends. The first weekend, I set the weekend's record for the highest score in my age group (11 and under).
That qualified me for the quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon.
I blazed thru the quarterfinals with the hgihest score again. That made me the favorite semifinals, so I got to sit in the thrown. That made me nervous.
Really nervous. Mario fell down a pit. My car crashed. I couldnt get set up in Tetris.
I crashed and burned, walking away with a Game Boy for making it that far.
I cried. I wanted to be champion...
I came back next weekend.
I repeated my high scores from last weekend.
When I got to the semifinal, I didn't choke.
The final was no different. The media got a picture of me with a trophy above my head.
$250 and another Game Boy to boot.
I did. I was the Los Angeles 11 & under Nintendo Champion.
50 champions in each age group were crowned that summer. Months went by. I practiced my butt off.
December 7: arrival
I stayed at the Universal Hilton. Nintendo gave me tons of free food. Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Nintendo Brand Fruit Snacks, etc. Lots of sponsorship freebees.
December 8: Orientation/Rehearsal/Practice
Well, first we (all the winners) were sent on the Universal Studios tour.
Then we went to the Star Trek theatre (which is now Nickelodeon) for practice.
Then they made us sing "We are the Champions"
That night, we all had dinner. These older kids were talking about a different method of playing Tetris. I adapted their method of not using the 4*1 until the 2nd one arrives.
Howard Phillips was there. THE man at Nintendo. Because he was the man behind Nintendo Power, he was a celebrity. That and the girls from Full House were there too. Some other people, but I cant remember.
My friends and family were there as well.
By the time competition started, I and everybody else was nervous.
50 monitors were set up around the front of the stage. The 19 and up qualifiers went first. Then my group, the 11 & unders.
They put a plaque with my name on it above my monitor. How cool is that?
My sister was taping me play. Once again, nervousness conquered me. I made it to Tetris, but I messed up. Mistakes all over the place. I couldnt make the top 6.
Eventually, 6 semifinalists from each age group were established. They played on the stage. Finally 2 finalists were established.
Six minutes twenty one seconds.
They best part about that was the giant clock they always had. Funny how crowds love to shout countdowns.
The winners got Gold Mario statues. The runners up got Silver ones.
I did get a nice stereo as a constellation (sp?) prize. I also got a game pak that had the NWC special game on it, but it is now lost. All I have left is my plaque and my trophy. That and a few fuzzy memories.