The Nintendo World Championship is a special competition cart that Nintendo used in its 1990 video game contest (which was heavily inspired by the movie, "The Wizard"). The cart contains three games - Super Mario Bros, Rad Racer, and Tetris...as well as a built in timer (dip switches on the outside of the cart control how long or short the time limit is). The game starts you out on Mario, where you must get 50 coins. Once you have done that, it's on to Rad Racer...where you have to simply complete the first race. Finally, you must get as many points as possible on Tetris before the remainder of your time runs out. It than takes you to a score screen where it tallies up your total score from the three games...multiplying your Rad Racer score by 10, and your Tetris score by 25 (it does not multiply the Mario score)
The Nintendo World Championship contest consisted of eight rounds, all separated into three age groups. Contestants entered by going to one of the 30 competitions held at different cities across the country (which were all part of Nintendo's "Power Fest 1990"). On the first two days of the contest, contestants would play in groups of up to 50, and the 7 players with the highest scores would than go onto the main stage to compete against each other. The game cart's timer was set to 6 minutes and 21 seconds for the competition.
There were 90 finalists total (30 in each age group). The championship was held at Universal Studios, Hollywood...where each of the age group's finalists competed simultaneously. The top seven highest scorers were brought on stage for the semi-final round. It finally came down to the top two players, who competed head-to-head for the title of Nintendo World Champion. They were Rich Ambler and Thor Aackerlund. Thor ended up being crowned the champion...with 2,800,000 points scored in the final round.
The 90 Nintendo World Championship carts that were used in the competition were given away to the 90 finalists. The carts were gray...but there were also 26 gold colored versions of the NWC cart that were given away to the winners of a contest Nintendo held in Nintendo Power Magazine (25 to the second place winners, and 1 to the first place winner). So, there are 90 known gray NWC carts, and 26 gold ones. Now, are you ready to cancel the down payment on your new house so you can afford to buy one of these babies? A gray cart will usually sell for $3,000 - $6,000...and the even rarer gold cart will sell for (are you ready for this?) $15,000 - $20,000!! At least collectors who want to buy an NWC cart don't have to worry about finding it complete...as this game does not have a box or booklet.
Now, it would be pretty cool to own a copy of this competition cart to play against your friends and see who can rack up the highest score...or even just to see how you stack up against the NWC's champion, Thor Aackerlund. Sadly, it's most likely impossible that you'll ever get your hands on one of them...cause after all, this is the "Holy Grail" we're talking about here. Luckily though...a website that has one of the original carts in their possession started making these reproduction carts:
For just a measly $55, you can own a reproduction of The Holy Grail. The cart may look different on the outside from the originals...but the game on the inside is the EXACT SAME. The cart even has the dip switches for setting the time, just like the original ones had. Still, many collectors loath reproduction carts such as this one, the same way many gamers loath emulation...but for someone who doesn't have a few thousand bucks lying around for the real thing, it's a pretty nice deal.
So, there you go...the most rare and sought after game on the NES.