1994 Blockbuster Video World Game Championship: The Intro

If you tried searching for “1994 Blockbuster Video World Game Championship” on the internet’s most popular search engines, chances are you’ll come up dry. There’s not a lot of information out there on the event, which is a shame for me since it was a big moment in my life way back in the day.

By complete happenstance, while searching for my stored-away college diploma and transcripts, I found 2 folders, contents completely intact, of information about the finals of the competition, which were held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Seeing no other information out there on the subject, it is my self-appointed duty to present this info to the masses, right here, on averagejoe.cc! *cheap pop*

I’ll start off with what I know about the beginning of the tournament (unfortunately, I have no physical evidence to back up my claims of anything before the finals, so you’ll just have to trust me on this.) The tournament started at the local level. Competitors entered the tournament at their local Blockbuster Video store and chose to compete on one of two systems: Sega Genesis or Super Nintendo. My choice was the Genesis, so most info I can remember is about that format. For each system, each store would have players compete in 3 games on their system. Each game had its own scoring rubric which was based on the in-game score plus bonuses. Players would have to arrive at the store at specified times to play one of their games. The 3 game scores are combined to determine a store champion who would advance to regionals.

The games for the Genesis were NBA Jam, Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and Virtua Racer. NBA Jam had players play against the computer for 2 quarters. To get the player’s tournament score, the player’s in-game score was multiplied by some amount (1000, I believe) and a bonus was given if the player outscored the computer (guessing 5000). I don’t exactly remember Sonic 3’s scoring rubric; it may have been in-game score with no additional adjustments. I don’t remember Virtua Racer’s scoring at all. The first round was NBA Jam, where I scored 32 points in my allotted time. I was in 8th place after round 1. Round 2 was Sonic 3, where I was the only person in my store who knew how to get a Perfect in the Special Stage (and for those that remember, Perfects get you 50,000 points). After the second round, I had a commanding lead that I didn’t relinquish. Joe is the store champion! (I still have the shirt to prove it.)

Before the next entry: Pictures of the shirt will be edited into this post.
Next entry: The Regional Tournament and the Finals!
The entry after that: PDF scans of all the paper documents I have (to give the whole story some credibility. Credibility is a nice thing to have, after all.)

12 responses to “1994 Blockbuster Video World Game Championship: The Intro

  1. Juan Carlos

    Hi… first, sorry about mi english. Whit the apologyes done i want to share the satisfaction you give me when i found someting about the 1994 blockbuster wolrd game championship…i read about how you there in united state get the regional. Well, i am from Chile and in that olds times, the videogames wasnt masive stuff… So i remember thant was two category… Genesis and super nintendo… and only the supernintendo have the oprotunity to go to the worlds finals (yeah nintendo was more popular thant the sega in my conutry in thas years)… Well, y remmeber too thant was 3 games to get points, Nba jam, Goal and Tmnt tournament fight… all point finaly was added and get the final score… So when i play Nba jam i get the 8 place, i get 38 or point i think in the two quartes… i cant remeber was the second game goal or tmtnt, but in goal i get the high score posible… 13 goals in the 5 minutes. But the game than give me the ticket to the finals was the tmnt… it was my favorite game (i fanatic of the tmtnt when i was a kid) so i have the game in home… i remeber thant i practice that game a lot of time… and when i get to go to the tournament in the bolockbuster store i get the human maximun hig score in this game… i cant remember exactly but was 212.000 points in 5 minutes… i get 4 fight and i get 4 perfect score using donatello. Well.. i won the first place, As I said before, the video games were not popular in southamerica, like that alone my country realized this tournament, for that when i wons, I was to the finals to fourtlouderdale was representing Chile and every sudamerica as the Latin only one participant of this event, maybe the first one in a videogame wolrd event ¿?. As your, i found all the papers of the event, i still remember … I believe that they were 330 supernientedo finalists in whole and exactly I was 330 …. really it was a wonderful experience, I cannot say that meet to many people, because it had the problem of the of the language, but rember have known a Canadian child and an AfroAmerican high and thin … the rest I do not remember very well but I have some photos. I remember when I meet Mark Trumel, really i could not believe that was known a real programmer of video games, really a luxury for anybody wherefrom I come i thats years. Well i have to go for now… in a future i want to asking to you something undestand in that times, example: personalities, situations… etc…


  2. Ben Bonds

    I have been looking for a competitors list or ranking. Kind of aggravated because I can’t find it. I competed on the nintendo side. Big time in my youth. Not historically recorded? Wow. Went from griffin georgia to atlanta and on to ft. Lauderdale. Had it all on video tape. Dunno if I. Still do but I would imagine it would be interesting on you tube or something. I will check next time I go back to Georgia. Thanks for the remembrance.

  3. Yep. I did this as a kid, and I still have my official “World Game Championship Pin” that represented my prize for coming in second place during the local event. Sonic was my best game, having spent hours on finding ways to maximize my score, I recall the scoring method clearly. It was based on the number of rings you collected. Each ring was worth 100 points, and to place you needed to use the large/secret rings and get into the 3D bonus arena to maximize those bonus points. There was also a time bonus, and an enemy chain bonus. The real points came from collecting rings, which was the important part. I completely flopped on the racing game, I would have taken first if I didn’t run off the track so much.

  4. I played in the ’94 championship only getting to the 2nd round I think in San Diego at the Florida St. and El Cajon Blvd location that’s long since been shut down, but I was rtying to find out if there was any kind of contestant list for winners and losers. So far as it’s been said already, there isn’t much out there so I was wondering if any1 here knew more. All I was given for prizes were the small golden pin with the sticker on it and the larger white pin. Can any1 help me on this one please?

  5. Know this post is a few years old, but there is not much out there on the event, like you said. I was the Central/North Florida genesis champion and got a whole half hour plane ride to Fort Lauderdale, was still great though. My regional tournament was held at a medieval times lol. I remember how cool the world champion event was, with it being like a mini E3, with hands on previews of unreleased games and celebrities (B/C list, but still), they took everyone to the blockbuster arcade and sports center one night. My guess is the game rental boost they got from the local stores didn’t offset the cost of holding such a massive event and that’s why they scaled it back the next year and did away with it all together later.

  6. Whoa, can’t believe I found this site. I was a participant too in the SNES division back in 94. Coming from Victoria Canada. I found an album recently with all the Blockbuster pamphlets. Glad I found something on this when I googled the term

  7. I represented Ontario – Super Nintendo – at the finals in Fort Lauderdale. Here in Ontario, you had to get the highest score at the store and then they sent us to The Hockey Hall of Fame to play in a NBA Tournament. That place was filled with people, I had all of the confidence in the world, I practiced everyday leading up to the NBA Jam Tournament, I barely spoke to anyone during the tournament and some employees even said ‘look this guy won’t talk much, he is zoned out and locked in.’ Eventually, I beat everyone they threw at me as I descended upon the finals in a bracket like system.

    Eventually, I won and reporters came up to myself and the Genesis winner and asked us how we got so good. My response? You just have to know how to play the game. Lol! I didn’t even give my secrets out, back then. True competitor.

    I still have pictures from the finals in Fort Lauderdale – there were celebrities in the house, we got a signed basketball from Shaq and got to play some exclusive games before their release dates. I almost remember everything from that time, thanks to the amount of pictures we have and because it was one of the best times of my life. I was the talk of my town and known as The Wizard and I won numerous competitions during the early to mid 1990’s.

  8. That’s awesome! I seem to recall the winners – both Genesis and SNES – being on one of the national (U.S.) morning shows. Was that the case?

  9. Juan Carlos Zambrano

    I remember that in my group there was a child who was a representative of Canada, but I can not remember his name, we talked about what ours countries. I represented Chile 😀

  10. Timmothy Bennett

    I won store level out of Fullerton California, which got me to regonials at Knott’s Berry farm. I Had player #8. Morales from a local radio station, power 106 was there hosting the event. My first round was a no-show. Second round I won and on the third I was defeated. I pulled out my yellow manilla envelope to reminisce about the event. I played SNES.

  11. Timmothy Bennett

    I made it as far as Knott’s Berry farm, third round. Player #8. It was a dream come true for me at that point!

  12. Sounds like it was a fun early 90s memory in gaming! The best of times for sure. I didn’t compete, but I recently found the Blockbuster GC pin at a yard sale for .25 cents! Attatched to a really cool Stimpy plush doll. Right up my ally for sure. I wonder how many of these pins were given out? Would love to know… Thanks

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