Nintendo World Championships Continues the Best Switch Trend Before Its Successor Arrives

What’s old is new again.

Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition physical box

The Nintendo World Championship is returning, and this time you don’t need to be a world-class competitor or fork over your life savings to play it. Nintendo announced Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition heading to Switch this summer, which is packed with speedrun challenges for retro gaming aficionados. With the new Switch console arriving as early as the end of this year, Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition feels like a send-off for Nintendo fans, and the latest entry in a trend of the developer remixing its best-known games for new audiences.

Back in 1990, the original Nintendo World Championship was held as an in-person tournament. Competitors faced off in high-score challenges based on Super Mario Bros., Tetris, and Rad Racer, and a custom cartridge containing the games is one of the rarest and most sought-after games by Nintendo collectors.

Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition puts a new spin on classic Nintendo games.

Soon, there will be an easier way to play score-attack versions of some classic Nintendo games. Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition features more than 150 speedrunning challenges based on 13 Nintendo games, including Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Kirby’s Adventure, and Super Mario Bros. Players can complete challenges at their own pace and have their scores uploaded to an online leaderboard to see how their scores stack up to others across the globe, while a local multiplayer mode lets up to eight players compete for the high score at the same time.

For collectors, there’s also a physical deluxe edition that includes a replica of the famed gold NES World Championship cartridge, along with art prints and pins.

Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition is an interesting and unexpected throwback to Nintendo history, but it also fits neatly into a trend that the publisher has been following for years now. A number of recent releases have been using classic Nintendo games as a template for whole new experiences, from user-created levels to new competitive spins on existing games.

Back in 2015, Nintendo released Super Mario Maker, which — along with its sequel — lets players create their own Mario levels and even share them online. At least it did until Nintendo shut down its servers on April 8, that is.

The physical version of Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition comes with bonuses celebrating classic Nintendo games.


Super Mario Maker was followed by Tetris 99 and Super Mario Bros. 35, two online multiplayer games that turn their respective inspirations into battle royales, with players competing to be the last one standing by sending obstacles to competitors as they completed their own levels. Super Mario Bros. 35 met the same fate as Super Mario Maker, though its servers only stayed up for a few short months.

Even elements of the Nintendo Switch Online catalog plays into the trend. Some select games are marked as “SP” editions, which are essentially save files that start players at specific points in the game. In Super Metroid, for instance, players can start at the battle with Ridley with all weapons unlocked, offering new players a short preview of the game with Samus at full power.

Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition is the latest in a wave of games that remix Nintendo’s history.


Though Nintendo is known for being extremely protective of its games when it comes to emulators or fan projects, its willingness to remix its old games in various ways helps keep them fresh for new and veteran players. Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition is a particularly interesting example of that, especially coming toward the end of the Switch’s life cycle. The Switch already lacks some blockbuster games that hit PlayStation and Xbox, due to its much lower system specs. Even first-party games in recent years like Tears of the Kingdom have noticeable performance issues on the Switch’s aging hardware.

That’s hopefully something that the Switch successor will remedy, but until then, it makes sense that Nintendo isn’t pushing its hardware any further for first-party games. Rather than continue to stretch the Switch’s limits and release must-play titles, Nintendo seems ready to move on, giving the original Switch something of a victory lap instead. Nintendo has said that the Switch generation is the most profitable the company has ever been, and since the number of people who own one is so massive, the hybrid console is a great platform for experiments with Nintendo’s back catalog. Giving everyone a chance to try their hand at speedrunning classic games with Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition feels like a great way for Nintendo to celebrate its history while winding down its wildly successful handheld ahead of the next one.

Nintendo World Championships: NES Edition launches on Nintendo Switch on July 18.

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