Matt: Hi! I’m a big fan of competitive video games, I’ve been spending some time trying to dig up info about the 1990 championships but everything seems to link to a few sources that have conflicting details. I’m hoping your crew of experts can clear up some things, or point me in the right direction.
Erik: “Will do our best”
Matt : Specifically, I’m confused about this:
“There was no official competition round to crown a single winner. However, after the competition ended there was an informal face-off between the three winners, with Thor Aackerlund taking first place, Jeff Hansen taking second, and Robert Whiteman finishing third.”
Matt: Jeff Hansen went on as America’s representative to Japan to win the World Championship title again in Tokyo, Japan, and again in Las Vegas at a rematch with the Japanese champion, Yuichi Suyama.”
Do you happen to know where I could find information about the Tokyo competition? Everything I’ve been able to dig up points back to that same passage in Wikipedia, which doesn’t cite a source so I’m not even confident the Japan competition existed. If it did, do you have any idea why Jeff Hansen (11 at the time from what I can tell) went to represent?
Thor: “No idea on why Nintendo choose Jeff Hansen.”
Erik: “There was very very little in the media when it was happening, I think Nintendo wanted to control it, and keep it close to the belt, we did not even know about it until well after it had taken place, it was not on the scale of the massively publicised 1990 Nintendo World Championships were.”
Matt: Wikipedia also claims the winner won a car and a TV in addition to the savings bond. The savings bond I’ve found other evidence of, but again no source on the car/tv thing and no mentions of it aside from this wiki article that everything seems to copy. People are fond of citing the time Carmack gave away his Ferrari as the first instance of a car being won in video games, which makes me wonder if that is true also.
Thor: “The winners also recieved a 1990 Geo Metro Convertible, this would predate Carmack giving away his Ferarri. They had a GeoMetro convertible in yellow for all of the contestants to ooh and ahh at, just out side the StarTrek Theater at Universal Studios, A bunch of the contestants at one point decided to lift the car off the ground!”
Erik: “If I remember right the savings bond was for $10,000, which had a pretty low cash value, the TV was a Panasonic 42″ it replaced Thor’s 13″ Color TV of the time. There were some other things the winners got, A Mario trophy, and a Panasonic Boombox. ”
Matt: I know these are weird and specific questions, and appreciate any insight you can give. Hope the gaming blog goes well, I love reading about all kinds of game competition and retro gaming.
Thor: “Thanks for your great questions, keep them coming”