Nintendo Campus Challenge

Retro video game collector and reviewer Pat “The NES Punk” Contri, in the above video, said that, “[The Nintendo World Championships are] a part of Nintendo and video game history. They’re a part of our culture. Those games represent the point where Nintendo dominated our society.” Many years after the devastating Video Game Crash of 1983, gaming was starting to take the world by storm again. And what company sat upon the throne of cartridges and ruled the world of video games? None other than Nintendo. Nintendo has always been one of my favorite developers and publishers; The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is in my top three all-time favorite games. I grew up playing all sorts of games on my NES and SNES, and now I have begun to build up my own retro game collection. It’s safe to say that I’m a huge fan of the company.

Wouldn’t you trust this face? (Credit to ThePunkEffect)

Nintendo Wold Championships is considered a Holy Grail among game collectors. The cartridges used in the 1990 competition are some of the most rare and expensive NES games ever sold. However, looking on Wikipedia one day, I found an article discussing a lesser-known Nintendo competition, one not as recognized by the gaming community at large: the Nintendo Campus Challenge. Two competitions were held, one in 1991 and one in 1992, compelling gamers at universities across the country to compete and prove themselves to be the “college valedictorian of videogames.” The cartridges used in the Campus Challenge are even more rare than the much sought-after Nintendo World Championships cartridges; scarce amounts of the competition cartridges are known to exist, selling for tens of thousands of dollars online. The article itself was, unfortunately, rather bare and missing quite a lot of information, so I attempted to fill it in where I could.

In more recent years, gaming has taken the center-stage in the entertainment industry. The worldwide video game industry is worth nearly one-hundred billion dollars. Series like Call of Duty sell millions of copies within their first week of release. E-Sports competitions, like the League of Legends World Championship, are watched by tens of millions of people around the world. Gaming is increasing in its popularity, but every now and then, it’s nice to remind ourselves of the popularity it had in the past. People still remember the days when Nintendo was at the forefront of gaming innovation. when competitions like the Nintendo Campus Challenge still occurred.

Two of the only Nintendo Campus Challenge cartridges in existence. Left: NCC 1991 cartridge. Right: NCC 1992 cartridge.

Two of the only Nintendo Campus Challenge cartridges in existence. LEFT: NCC 1991 cartridge. RIGHT: NCC 1992 cartridge.

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