High Score (2020) s01e02 Episode Script

Comeback Kid

[man] When I found out
that I could play games for a living,
I was like, "I will do whatever it takes."
I probably would've shaved my mullet
if they asked me.
It was, like, 1989,
so I had business on the top
and the party in the back,
or the neck blanket
um, skunk tail.
I felt like a rock star most of the time
that I worked there.
We had the satin
Game Play Counselor jackets.
The counselors would
wear them around at lunchtime in the mall
and kids would just be like
[mimics explosion]
"Game Play Counselors!"
People would be like,
"You have the best job in the world!"
And every time you're like,
"You know what? I do!
I have an awesome job! Like,
who gets to play games for a living?"
[upbeat electronic music playing]
[video game sound effects]
[ducks quack]
[video game sound effects]
[man in Japanese]
Sound is needed for games
because games are modeled after real life.
It's a simple mimicking of life so
you need these confirmation cues
in order to feel immersed, you need sound.
Sometimes the inspiration comes to me
first thing in the morning.
Sometimes I'll just hear a tune
when I'm walking down the street.
It's important to think that I'm always
on the job, always creating.
I'm Hirokazu Tanaka.
I worked at Nintendo for 20 years
since 1980.
My job was to create sound effects.
I really did have a lot of fun.
[electronic music playing]
[narrator in English]
Hirokazu Tanaka's resume
of composing bleeps and bloops
is pretty epic.
Kid Icarus. Duck Hunt.
And who could forget
Hello Kitty World?
[dance music playing]
[Tanaka in Japanese] Nintendo
had a very free culture back then.
There were maybe 17 people
working in development.
[Tanaka] Nintendo is a big name now,
but at the time no one knew it.
[cheering and applause]
[narrator in English] Nintendo's humble
beginnings started in 1889,
when a man named Fusajiro Yamauchi
began to produce
and sell Japanese playing cards,
called hanafuda.
To stay competitive
in a modernizing Japan,
their portfolio expanded to include toys,
mechanical carnival games,
and, eventually, into the arcade.
But while Nintendo
experienced successes in Japan,
they hadn't cracked the American market.
And Tanaka would play a big role
in making that happen.
[Tanaka in Japanese]
Space Firebird was my first game.
Next was a game called Radar Scope.
[narrator in English] Nintendo's great
American dream was pinned on Radar Scope,
which looked eerily similar
to Space Invaders.
Regardless, thousands of cabinets
were loaded onto a boat,
delivered to the newly-minted
Nintendo of America headquarters
where they collected dust at a warehouse.
Apparently, American players were ready
for something different.
So a new plan was made,
to keep the cabinets,
but replace the circuitry
with a brand new game.
And that game was called Donkey Kong.
Instead of lasers and guns,
you were armed
with comical hammers, your wits,
and some kicks that granted
some serious hang time.
It was fun to play,
but it was up to Tanaka
to make it fun to hear.
[electronic music playing]
[Tanaka in Japanese]
I made the sound of Donkey Kong
in my second year at the company.
I had no idea how I could make
certain sounds back then.
[narrator in English] Tanaka didn't have
the fancy computer tools we have today.
Things in the '80s were a bit more analog.
[in Japanese] So the sounds
of Donkey Kong walking or Mario walking
would be produced around here.
[electronic bleeps]
The sound of Mario's footsteps
actually worked out differently
than I'd intended.
Every time he takes a step,
the sound changes slightly.
I didn't intend to make it sound so cute.
It's just the circuit ended up
sounding that way by accident.
Even if it's just a beep,
sound is important in games.
You need sound to confirm actions.
Otherwise you wouldn't know
what you were doing.
At the time, I had no idea
Donkey Kong would become so popular.
I never had the sense that people
all over the world enjoyed the games.
[narrator in English] Donkey Kong was big.
Like, really big.
Like, Saturday morning cartoon big.
In its first two years of release,
the arcade game raked in
over 280 million US dollars.
But while Nintendo
had a high score in arcades,
there was a problem
in American living rooms.
The home console market,
once dominated by Atari,
had experienced an epic crash in 1983.
So could a foreign-born company
like Nintendo really turn it all around?
[woman] I started at Nintendo
in the summer of 1983.
Nintendo was most known as Donkey Kong.
I don't even know if anyone knew
what Nintendo was.
They just knew what Donkey Kong was.
[narrator] Gail Tilden would know.
Before she became
a wine producer and marketer,
she was brought into Nintendo
as an advertising manager,
and rose in the ranks
to VP of brand management.
Basically, she's a big deal.
We were focused on how we could bring
Nintendo's products out in the US,
despite what was going on in the markets.
In Japan they hadn't seemed to have
the crash of the industry.
So, Nintendo came out with
their home console system,
in around 1982.
They called it the Famicom.
The family computer system.
[announcer] Family Computer no.
Hiroshi kaze yo ta no
[Gail] It was a cartridge-based system
that hooked to the TV
and it did extremely well in Japan.
Not only were the graphics great,
but the way the characters were moving
on the screen
felt more like the experience
you'd had with the arcades
when compared to what
the other systems had done.
There was pressure to figure out
how to bring the product over
and to what level
did it need to be Americanized
or address where the market was
in terms of negativity about video games.
That really was the big challenge.
[narrator] But the Famicom wasn't exactly
a high-end bottle of wine.
If Americans were going to buy it,
Gail knew it needed a serious re-brand.
[Tilden] It had a kind of
an off-white color and burgundy and red.
Really not colors that would normally
seem like either electronic or kid-like.
[narrator] It had to be sleek and sexy.
Less family station wagon,
and more DeLorean.
[Tilden] So, the designers
at Nintendo of America
created the advanced video system
that was sleek and silver.
Low profile. And it was very beautiful.
It also would have been very expensive
and put the product
at a much higher price point.
Japan came back with the design
and we kind of called it the lunch box
for a while
because we thought that
it was not sleek, and boxy.
The combination of the Nintendo
of America industrial design team
working with them ended up
with the gray and red product.
[narrator] And, with that,
the Nintendo Entertainment System,
nicknamed the NES, had been born.
[announcer] Will you be the one to raise
the incredibly accurate Zapper
and play games like Duck Hunt?
Will you be the one to experience
the Nintendo Entertainment System?
Comes with ROB, Zapper, Control Deck,
two controllers, Gyro Mite and Duck Hunt.
[narrator] The system was released
in a single test market,
New York City,
during the 1985 holiday season.
The strategy was simple.
If you can make it in the Big Apple,
you can make it anywhere.
But while the NES didn't score super high
on the sales charts,
it did well enough
for a nationwide release.
[announcer] This is the world
of the Super Mario Brothers.
Put it on the screen
and where there was one kid,
you'll soon find two or three or more.
[narrator] Word of mouth was getting out
and a shift in conversation was beginning.
People no longer played video games,
they played Nintendo.
We were really relying on TV
and a little bit of grassroots
and a lot of placement of displays,
where the consumer could play.
And among those new consumers
was a 10-year-old Jeff Hansen,
a player and contender for something new
Nintendo had up their sleeves.
[man] I love playing video games.
I would ask for a video game
every time it was my birthday.
Growing up, for whatever reason,
everybody came to our house
to play video games.
Master Blaster,
Mario Brothers, Kid Niki
Games that just bring back
immediate memories to me.
I don't know that I ever saw myself
as somebody who excelled
at video games.
We really didn't know
that I was anything out of the ordinary
until I actually started playing
in the Nintendo competition.
[announcer] King Kong.
He's big. He's ugly.
And he's no good at Nintendo.
But you are.
[narrator] By 1990,
Nintendo was on a rocket to the moon.
To keep the momentum going,
they launched the PowerFest tour.
Only at Universal Studios Hollywood…
[narrator] It was a multi-city tour
across America with two goals:
to showcase hot new games
for people to try and buy
and to hold a competition to find
the greatest Nintendo players alive.
[Hansen] I was very excited.
Told my parents about it immediately.
My dad, was-- I don't know
if it was hesitant or not, but
[laughs] he agreed to come with me
to the PowerFest for Salt Lake City
and it was awesome.
They called it
the Nintendo World Championships 1990.
The prizes for winning
was a $10,000 savings bond,
a Geo Metro convertible car,
and a big screen TV.
And then obviously,
the trip to Universal Studios Hollywood.
I mean, obviously I was excited.
But it was all about, like,
the prizes honestly.
The competition was made up
of this cartridge.
They had a whole bunch of them
set up there
And the cartridge had
Super Mario Brothers,
Rad Racer, and Tetris.
[narrator] If the player
could master those games
and win in a participating city,
they would be flown
to Universal Studios Hollywood
to compete in the final competition.
[Hansen] I had played
Super Mario Brothers a ton.
And Rad Racer,
I had also played quite a bit.
Uh, but Tetris was the one
that I hadn't really played much.
I was only ten years old,
but we entered in the competition
[MC] First round of competition
now underway
even though
I hadn't played Tetris much at all.
[MC] Forty-two hundred from Jeff Hansen.
Unbelievably close.
[Hansen] My scores were high
and everybody was really excited.
[MC] Ninety-seven hundred for Jeff Hansen.
[man] Yay!
Really it was, kind of,
a roller coaster ride.
[Jeff] I got third place
for Salt Lake City.
You know, it wasn't good enough
to win the city,
but that won me a Gameboy,
which also came with Tetris.
[announcer] Introducing Gameboy.
It's portable,
and its games are interchangeable.
Plus Gameboy comes with
the outrageous new game Tetris.
[Hansen] That's when I kind of
fell in love with Tetris.
I would play Tetris all day long
and played it over and over and over.
When you do that,
those pieces are just
moving through your mind all the time.
Even when I'm sleeping,
I'm dreaming about Tetris pieces.
I'm trying to figure out
how can I put it all together
to solve the puzzles in my mind.
[narrator] But Jeff wasn't the only one
dedicating all of his free time
to smashing A and B buttons.
[reporter] Parents,
there appears to be no escape.
Video games are back with a vengeance.
Nintendo of America,
based in a suburb of Seattle,
has cornered about 75% of a market worth,
in 1989,
an estimated 3.4 billion dollars.
Nintendo's success has created a demand
for a lot of jobs
playing video games
and talking on the phone.
Not a bad gig for the 80 or so
men and women
who work eight hours shifts
as Nintendo Game Counselors.
[narrator] Sounds like a job
too good to be true, right?
A 17-year-old named Shaun Bloom
was thinking the same thing.
[Bloom] So I was in high school.
It was the end of the school year.
I needed a job really bad
and one of my buddies' girlfriend
said she was gonna go and get a job
at Nintendo for the summer.
And I'm like, "Wait, how do you--
Is Nintendo here?"
I stopped by the front desk.
And they said, "Here's the application.
Just fill this out.
And then you're going to need
to take a test."
I thought the job
was working in the warehouse.
"What kind of test would you take
to work in a warehouse?"
And I said, "Well, what is the test for?"
He said, "We've got to make sure
you know how to play these games."
And I said, "Wait, what am I doing?"
And he said, "You're going to be
a Game Play Counselor."
They gave me a lot of information
to memorize and said,
"This is what you need to know.
And when you're ready
just come back and take it."
[narrator] It's no secret,
games can be tough.
Today, if you're stuck,
YouTube is there to bail you out.
But that wasn't the case
in the era of the mullet.
Nintendo Game Play,
this is Linda speaking.
Nintendo Game Play, this is Jenny.
How may I help you?
[narrator] Nintendo saw a need and
created an army of Game Play Counselors
that had a single goal:
for every 8-year-old Timmy
stuck on Contra,
for every 13-year-old Maria
missing several heart containers,
Game Counselors would be there,
armed with enough tips
and tricks to overcome any obstacle.
It was a great strategy for Nintendo:
beat the game, which means
Mom and Dad will have to get you more.
But the test to become one of
the gaming's elite wasn’t easy.
So Shaun came up with
his own little cheat code.
[chuckles] I'm like, "Oh, my God,
how am I going
to remember all this stuff?"
Like, all the sword power-ups,
the triforce pieces, everything.
So, I took my awesome Body Glove
rubber, flexible sunglasses.
And I cut out pieces of paper
that fit behind the sunglass lenses
just perfect.
And then with
my smallest handwriting possible,
I wrote every heart place,
everything you could possibly think of,
was all in two little tiny shades.
They put me in this little room, and
I just set my shades down on the table,
filled out my test.
I passed, like 100 percent, too.
Go figure!
Oh, hi there.
Welcome to Nintendo, and congratulations
on passing the Game Counselors test.
Now, you might think it's all about
playing games from sun up to sun down.
And, yeah, that's part of it,
but there's a whole lot more to it
than just that.
[Bloom] Four weeks of intensive training,
eight hours a day, five days a week.
And it was awesome.
Like, every day I’m like,
"Gonna go to work and make some money
playing games. Oh, darn."
I had the fortune of training
under a trainer called Tom.
He was the very first Game Play Counselor.
He's this older guy with gray hair,
like a grandpa-type guy.
He was a super nice guy
but then he would go,
"Everyone turn around to the table."
And then he would just go
"First heart container Zelda.
Second! Fifth! Third!"
And you'd just, you know,
and he was just, "Now!"
[clicking fingers]
So it was, it was, like,
just demanding of you.
And then it also made you wonder, like,
"Oh, my God, what is it
gonna be like on the phones?"
Like, am I going to get chewed up
and spit out and go home crying?
You didn't know at that point.
[narrator] The list of games Shaun would
have to master was only getting longer.
And legions of eager players
were consumed by one mission:
finish the game and get more!
There's more action.
Very exciting and challenging.
[boy] I like adventure games
where you're set out to do something
and you have to complete your mission.
All that success was thanks in part
to the man who would become
the face of Nintendo.
Well, yes, that would be Mario.
But the creator behind the mustache
is Shigeru Miyamoto.
-[Hansen] Mr. Miyamoto.
-[man] Miyamoto.
-[Hansen] Miyamoto.
Mr. Miyamoto is Nintendo's
legendary game designer
because he created Mario.
[narrator] Miyamoto's little hero started
off life as Jumpman in Donkey Kong,
a blue collar dude trying to save a girl.
He was charming, relatable,
and fun to play.
[Tilden] From there, Miyamoto
developed Super Mario Brothers
and the Legend of Zelda
and put his mark on many other characters
and franchises.
He really does
have that Spielberg-type touch.
He really can gauge
what's going to make something fun.
[narrator] Miyamoto's creations
are still being made into games today.
But despite these successes,
it could've gone down
a very different way
when Nintendo's flagship game
Donkey Kong got hauled into court.
[man] I am not a gamer.
It was always my ambition to be a lawyer.
I think that people regard me
as a very meticulous
and aggressive cross-examiner.
In 1982, John Kirby was hired
to represent Nintendo
in a lawsuit filed
by Universal City Studios.
Universal alleged that Donkey Kong
was in violation
of their trademark in King Kong,
and that Nintendo
should pony up for damages.
[Kirby] Climbing the Empire State Building
is certainly different than
climbing ramps and ladders.
But there's a lot of similarity, too.
Remember, at this time,  Nintendo
of America was a very small company.
If they lost the case,
there would've been
no Nintendo of America.
The stakes were enormous.
Kirby had his work cut out for him.
So he and his team
started to research the case,
which took them
6,000 miles across the globe.
[Kirby] We went to Japan
and spent time
interviewing people at Nintendo.
We did research into
how King Kong was used.
What emerged was that Kong
had really become a synonym
for a big gorilla.
Ultimately, Kirby and his team found
King Kong car washes,
King Kong sandwiches,
even a King Kong wrestler,
but nothing resembling
trademark infringement.
[Kirby] We became convinced
that Universal had no rights.
Even more significantly,
we became convinced
that they knew they had no rights.
After months of painstaking research,
John Kirby and his team of lawyers
headed to court
and all rose
for the Honorable Judge Sweet.
[Kirby] I did actually have
the Donkey Kong machine in the courtroom.
Judge Sweet
was a tremendously curious person.
He said it was a most enjoyable day
in the courtroom.
He said it was only marred by the fact
that there were depositions and affidavits
that I had to look at.
Our basic defense was
the property they claimed to own
had no confusion with anything
that Nintendo did
and that Universal knew
that what they were doing was wrong.
Judge Sweet got the point.
And then I knew that we'd won the case.
And in case you were wondering, yes,
there is a resemblance between
this lovable pink Kirby and this one.
-[narrator] After the case was closed,
Nintendo paid tribute
in the best way possible.
Being a humorless lawyer,
I said, "Well, no one asked my permission.
They didn't get a license from me.
I think I'm probably
going to have to take some action."
[narrator] Thanks to Kirby and his team,
Nintendo had scored a major victory,
and it paved the way
for the Nintendo World Championship
1990 tour across America.
Jeff had lost in his hometown
of Salt Lake City,
but a summer draining double-A batteries
playing Tetris
had leveled up his skills
and his parents noticed.
[Hansen] My mom is very competitive.
Really brags about her kids.
She knew that
there was something special there.
And so she and my dad,
you know, convinced each other
that we were going to just give this
one more shot.
[narrator] There was one last city
on the PowerFest tour
and one last chance
to make it to the finals:
Tampa, Florida, over 2,000 miles away.
[Hansen] I don't think that I
really grasped the whole picture
and whether there was really any chance
that I could win the whole thing.
[MC] Three, two, one, here we go!
[Hansen] The competition started,
and I put my whole heart and soul into it.
[MC] Yes, Tetris!
[Hansen] There were
a lot of people there who wanted to win.
You know, this is your last shot.
[MC] Ladies and gentlemen,
just look at those scores!
[Hansen] If you don't make it in this,
then you're kind of out.
And who knows
if Nintendo's ever going to do this again.
[MC] If anything was any closer than this,
I have not yet seen it.
[Hansen] I don't know how I was able
to keep my nerves straight.
[MC] Running away now
with 3,900 points, Jeff Hansen!
[Hansen] And then, somehow,
I was able to win.
[narrator] With a high score in Tampa,
Jeff secured himself a coveted spot
in the finals
where he would face off against
the top Nintendo players in his age group
from across the country.
There was only a week
after I won the Tampa competition,
before the actual final competition
in Hollywood at Universal Studios.
I really didn't have
a lot of time to practice.
You literally want to get to Tetris
as fast as possible.
The cartridge made you go
to Super Mario Brothers first,
and you try to get 50 coins
just as quickly as you can.
And there were some tricks that I learned
throughout the course of the competition
that kind of helped speed things up.
Like, dying at a certain part
in Super Mario Brothers
to rack up tons of coins.
The problem is
it's kind of tricky to do, right?
But Tetris points were multiplied
by so much
that if you didn't get to Tetris,
you basically wouldn't
score very high at all.
And that's really what I focused on
for that entire week.
Probably played, I don't know
uh, 60 or 70 hours of Tetris.
I have no idea.
Mario! Mario!
[chanting] Mario!
[narrator] By the early 1990s,
Nintendo had little competition
and was dominating
the home console market.
But not every game was a smash hit
like Mario.
So Shaun had to be prepared to walk
clueless players through all of them.
You'll be responsible
for helping our callers
through some of the toughest of games.
Now, there are tons of Nintendo titles
out there,
and you can't possibly be expected
to memorize them all.
So these will be invaluable.
We didn't get the games
before everyone else did,
so we just had to plow through them
as quick as possible
because calls started coming
as soon as games were released.
[narrator] Counselors were playing blind
with no strategy guides
from game developers.
So they had to get creative.
The game play binders
were packed with tips and tricks
that were made entirely by hand.
Maps, locations of secret power ups,
the works.
[Bloom] Legacy of the Wizard, wow.
That was the game
that put the fear of God into you.
It had, like, 64 rooms,
and every room literally looks the same.
The caller would give you clues like,
"There's gray blocks."
Hmm, there's gray blocks
on every spot on this map.
Or "I think
I’m in the bottom right hand area."
"Okay, um, I'm going to transfer you."
[laughs] Boop.
Done with that.
Oh, a call.
When you get into a good groove
you could take up to 20 calls an hour.
When you're ready, take a deep breath
and hit that start button.
Nintendo Game Play, this is Shaun,
How can I help you?
Man, that first call, you're just like,
[weakly] "Nintendo Game Play,
this is Shaun.
I don't know if I can help you or not."
That's what I wanted to say.
[narrator] As a Game Play Counselor,
Shaun could take anywhere
from 50 to even 100 calls a day.
[Bloom] It got harder and harder
to do the job
because pretty soon it's just like,
"Wow, I could take a call on like
2,000 different games right now."
The phone lines were ringing off the hook
at Nintendo.
Well, the final fortress
is kind of a magical maze.
But if you couldn't get through,
there was another way to pull back
the curtain on your favorite games.
Deep within Nintendo headquarters,
expert game counselors
answer your questions.
Their source of information:
Nintendo Power.
Your direct connection to the pros
[narrator] The magazine was named
Nintendo Power,
and it would go on to become a staple
of the Nintendo diet in America.
But what's the secret
to a video game magazine's success?
To no surprise, Japan had the answer.
[Tilden] The Japanese
really have a lot of print media.
Everybody knows manga is huge there.
But they also had a lot
of video game magazines.
They used the magazine
to tell a lot about how to play.
They featured maps
and tips and tricks
to try to help people
get through the games
so that they would be satisfied
and always be happy
to buy another brand new game.
The President of Nintendo in the US
saw what was happening in Japan
and thought,
"You know what?
I think we could make a magazine
similar to the type
that they have in Japan."
Gail paired up with Howard Phillips,
the resident Game Play expert at Nintendo,
to get the magazine off the ground.
And when they landed in Japan,
culture shock was inevitable.
[Tilden] So being in Japan,
meeting with our Japanese co-publishers
and I would say once in a while
the translator may have shed a tear or two
in not wanting to express
what I was expressing.
Part of the challenge
wasn't just coming up with the content,
but even the look and feel.
In Japan, they have a quite different
sensibility about fonts, color.
So not only were you in Japan
in some hotel room and it's midnight,
everybody's smoking cigarettes
and trying to communicate,
but the product isn't what I thought
the US audience,
the North American audience, would like.
I would want to change the font.
I would want to change the color scheme.
I wouldn't like
what they picked for a callout
and I felt like I wanted what I wanted.
Like, I wanted it to be
what I thought was the right thing.
Howard Phillips and I
did those first few trips together
and he was trying to smooth things over.
And so he said, "Don't worry,
she's just a Dragon Lady."
And that was my reputation.
Ultimately, the art director said he quit.
He didn't want to work with me.
But I wanted what I wanted, so
Gail's persistence paid off big time
and Nintendo's top brass
liked what they saw.
With features like the Top 30
and Counselor's Corner,
the magazine was nearing completion.
Now all the team needed
was a cover that would pop.
Nintendo's rising star, Mario,
was helping to push game sales.
Maybe he could come through
on the magazine racks.
[Tilden] First issue,
Super Mario 2 was on the cover
and it's the big feature
with all the maps and all the tips.
We came up with this idea to create
something that looked like claymation.
Keep in mind that there was no such thing
as 3D Mario at the time.
The only image of Mario
that we had was a flat 2D image.
So to represent Mario in that way
was really quite fresh,
and it was very exciting.
It was a chance to peek past the pixels
of what could be,
and tease the whimsical secrets
that were held inside.
[clears throat]
"It all started late one night
when our hero, Mario,
had a very strange dream.
In his dream,
he climbed up a long winding stairway
leading to a door.
When he opened the door,
he saw a world unlike anything
he'd ever seen before.
As he peered into this wondrous world,
he suddenly heard someone say,
in a faint and distant voice,
'We've been waiting for you, Mario.
We want you and your friends to fight
and bring peace back
to the world of dreams.'"
One of the most important things
in the magazine was the maps.
You would be able
to just look directly at the game
and then look at this map
and really just
navigate through all the levels
and hopefully get to the end.
There's callouts that show
where he should pluck a radish
or something that shows
where he should be jumping up
and hitting the POW box.
You can see all that on the layout.
It really was a major media
for the industry
and the industry at the time
was really the NES.
The first issue is the issue
with the largest circulation.
It was around 3.2 million copies
that we sent out.
So, you know,
if you're trying to eBay that one,
everybody has it.
[MC] Traveling coast to coast
across the country.
From Seattle to Miami,
New York to Los Angeles.
Searching for the best in the business,
the top guns of Nintendo.
[narrator] After a nationwide tour,
thousands of screaming kids
and more than a few stressed parents,
it was time for the final competition
and the crowning of a Nintendo champion.
[MC] Whoo! Yeah, are you ready?
Whoo! Thank you,
I don't get this at home.
Welcome to Universal Studios Hollywood.
This is the unprecedented
1990 Nintendo World Championships.
[man] Yay, Jeff!
[Hansen] The competition in California
was pretty intense.
I mean,
Nintendo really tried to soup it up.
-[MC] The Champions…
[Hansen] There were lasers
and there was smoke.
And they had a DJ from MTV
doing all the music.
There was, you know, Mario, Luigi.
I mean, it's just like, you know,
a Nintendo kid's dream.
[cheering and applause]
[woman] All right, Jeff!
Ten-year-old Jeff entered the ring.
And if he was going to win,
then he couldn't hold back.
[dramatic music playing]
[MC] Ladies and gentlemen, this is it.
The final round
of the 1990 Nintendo World Championship.
[Hansen] It was totally intense.
Before the game, my hands turned cold.
You have to make sure
that you don't mess up,
don't get distracted
in any way from anybody else
or anything else that's going on.
[MC] Five, four, three, two, one
And then it happens.
[MC] One of these gentlemen will walk away
as the World's Champion.
[Hansen] I don't know
how I was able to tune out
all the lasers and all the smoke
and all the music.
[MC] Here it comes, Tetris!
-[woman screams]
[Hansen] Trying to tune out my mom
because she's cheering
at the top of her lungs.
[woman] All right, Jeff, you can do it!
[MC] Jeff Hansen looking for the top two.
Here it comes, Tetris!
[Jeff] But somehow I was able to focus.
[MC] Out of the top, he takes it back.
18,000, Jeff Hansen, time ticking away.
Three, two, one. That is time.
Gentlemen, come on up here,
every one of you.
Families, come on up here.
I didn't think a score like this
was going to take it home tonight.
Two million
nine thousand nine hundred and fifty,
you are looking at the best in the world,
Mr. Jeff Hansen!
[Hansen] My parents were
totally supportive. Loved every moment.
For my mom,
winning the whole competition reinforced,
in her mind, that I was the best.
She always knew I was the best,
but there wasn't really any proof of that.
She wanted to make sure
the whole world knew
that I was the Nintendo World Champion.
The Nintendo Entertainment System
would go on to sell over 61 million units
before walking off into an 8-bit sunset.
But more valuable than statistics
were the memories it left behind.
The anticipation of a magazine
waiting in your mailbox every month.
An explosive competition
that rivaled the most bombastic band tour.
And, of course, the games.
Countless hours of gameplay,
the feeling
of triumph, frustration, and wonder.
Nintendo had cracked the fun code
on playing a character
in an imaginary world.
But what if instead
of simply controlling a character,
you could become one?
Where reality and fantasy intersect
lies the world of the role player.
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