My short bio: My name is Mike Iarossi and I won the 1994 Nintendo World Championships Powerfest. I was also a 1990 NWC finalist in the 18+ group. 1990 had 3 age groups and went to 30 cities for qualifiers, I won in New Jersey. 1994 had no age groups and went to 132 cities and I won the qualifier in Reading, PA.

My Proof: picture of my trophy is my website is my Twitch page

EDIT: I'll answer questions on this as long as people keep asking them. There is no time limit really but it is just more relevant today because of the date.

Comments: 207 • Responses: 86  • Date: 

meatboat2tunatown246 karma

What has your life become, Mike, now that the coke fueled orgies, groupies and endless parties of the Nintendo W.C. scene are over?

Qik1165 karma

I'm not sure if I drink more or less now than I did then. I know that I ran up a $600+ hotel bill at a NYC hotel because I invited a bunch of friends over from NJ and we cleared out the mini bar. Nintendo was not happy with me. I also made a bunch of long distance phone calls. heh

Qik1112 karma

To answer more clearly. I do a bunch of streaming these days. Gaming is a huge part of who I am so that is never going to change. As I get older though the physicality of some of it gets harder. Hands don't want to cooperate as much as they used to and such.

GrimResistance7 karma

Just gotta wait for that Neural Link, jack in and leave the limitations of that spongy meatbag behind!

Qik118 karma

I love when new tech comes around and claims to be the new great thing we're all going to love and they show us how we can play pong with it and how awesome it is in the new thing. New tech takes us 5 steps backsward in gameplay and 5 steps forward in complexity. But wait that thing you used to do with a simple button press you can now do by waving your hand in the air 6 times! I just wanna press the button.

meatboysawakening3 karma

Do you mean like arthritis and physical hand problems, or just your coordination isn't what it used to be?

Qik15 karma

My hands shake pretty often these days and it can prevent you from being accurate.

meatboysawakening2 karma

:( not looking forward to that.

Qik11 karma

Take care of yourself better than I did and you'll be fine.

inigma22231258 karma

Was it like the movie The Wizard?

Qik152 karma

They did try to make this one more like the wizard at the finals because they changed the game when it got to the final 4 kinda of like the movie did. It changed to Donkey Kong Country at the end.

inigma22231219 karma

Had you played that game before? Or was it brand new... definitely one if my fav games.

Qik156 karma

Nintendo gave a demo copy to stores and that demo was the whole game. I borrowed one from a local Software ETC because I knew the manager. Played it over night while they were clsoed and invited a bunch of friends over to play it. We finished it that night.

I bought my copy the day I left for the tournament from the same store so I was playing it in my hotel room during the finals. We didn't know they were going to have it be part of the tournament though and the cart in the tournament was score based and had missing secrets. The other top 2 finalist also had the game but the other 3rd and 4th place finishers did not.

Lightborne24 karma

BudandDoyle693 karma

I am a little young for that one, but I do remember Electronics Boutique.

Qik11 karma

There was an EB just downstairs from it.

UpSiize11 karma

Ahem, unfair advantage, ahem

Qik123 karma

Eh. Nobody knew it would be in the tournament. It just happened to be and only after the final 4.

sniggly16 karma

any speculation on why they wouldn't just use something unreleased, to make (reasonably) sure nobody could have played it before? That seems like too crucial a Wizard detail to mess with lol

Qik124 karma

Promotion. The game was releasing that week and this helped promote it.

psykomet2 karma

The Nintedo World Championship cart? I hope you have it still, it's worth a pretty penny. But I'm sure you knew that.

Qik11 karma

Thats a different cart but I did have one.

froggyjamboree2 karma

Was it the software etc in Menlo? I worked at that one.

Qik13 karma

Wayne, NJ at Willowbrook mall.

Sunburn7937 karma

  1. Are you Fred Savage, and were you in the movie "The Wizard"?
  2. Did you use the Power Glove or the Power Pad during your competition?

Qik142 karma

  1. No but I am quite Savage. I was not in the movie.
  2. I think I tried it once when it was new but it was not very good if I remember right. It was not used in the competition in 1990 or 1994.

xedralya24 karma

Would you say it was so bad, then?

Qik129 karma

so SO bad

redpandaeater8 karma

But your favorite console is the Virtual Boy, right?

Qik111 karma

Jaguar 4 lyfe. Need me that Tempest 2k and AvP action.

Qik113 karma

In all seriousness PS3 gets a serious nod. Uncharted 2, The Last of Us, Demon's Souls, Dragon's Dogma, Bayonetta, Tales of Graces/Xillia/Xillia2 and Ni No Kuni. Just to name a few.

Cumshooter188734 karma

Favourite non Nintendo game ?

Qik154 karma

Dark Souls

kernelcurry32 karma

What did you win for being the champion? I can't imagine they only gave your a statue of Mario...

Qik1132 karma

So the advertised prizes were a new Mustang and $5000 cash among other things. In reality they tell you they will either give you $15000 cash or give $15000 to a dealership so you can go pick out a car. I took the cash and they sent me a check for $20000.

I got a 30 something inch tv, a VCR, a Nintendo exercise bike which I still have laying around and 50 SNES games which were all unopened and I returned for Jeffrey money at Toys R Us and got full value on each. I already had the ones I wanted and was able to just buy what I wanted for months after that.

Funny story I got pulled over once and a cop patted me down and I had the TRU money in my pocket and he was like "What's that?" I had to explain the whole story and he let me go saying "Nobody could make that up".

All told is was around $33000 in cash and prizes.

Admiral_Catbar22 karma

I know this is 8 hours old, but "Nintendo exercise bike?" Like, it hooks up to an NES/SNES? Any pics?

Qik134 karma There is a pic of one. Mine is buried right now.

vinnycthatwhoibe18 karma

That bike is worth some serious cash. Hang onto it. My friend had one growing up. I asked him where it went and I think it ended up donated to Goodwill or something.

Qik120 karma

I have friends that are collectors and it would go to them before I sold it.

mentorofminos21 karma

Did you have to pay a bunch in taxes?

Qik127 karma

It was a couple thousand in taxes.

JCsuperska27 karma

Mike, who is your favorite Ninja Turtle? Thanks.

Qik139 karma


22plus21 karma

Thoughts on Mario Kart Mobile?

Qik141 karma

I actually play it but the gacha part of it is terrible. I know Nintendo farmed it out to another company but I am disappointed that they would go down this road. They used to be better than that.

Reddit_Policeguy8 karma

Thoughts on Death Stranding? It's the first 'strand-type' game.

Qik115 karma

Hail_Kronos7 karma

Wow It's been a long time since I was early for an AMA.

How's life ?

Qik111 karma

Ups and downs. Doing ok currently though. Been a rough few years but I manage.

Hail_Kronos7 karma

Hope you have a better future ahead.

Qik16 karma

Me too :)

Raichu4u16 karma

What do you think about the state of most Nintendo games nowadays? Most titles back then had difficulty reminiscent of some arcade cabinets (or at least closer to), whereas Nintendo gaming nowadays is meant to be more accessible and easier than ever. They still have titles that can challenge the players like Mario Odyssey, or Mario Maker, but there are plenty of games that are going the route of the new Kirby or Yoshi games.

Qik128 karma

So I think some of that has to do with how games have advanced over the years. Games were much more limited in scope in the early days. I think most games that Nintendo made were not all that dissimilar to what we see now but we view them through a different eye and have had more exposure to a wider variety so it's easier for us to have a skewed view.

that being said I don't play many Nintendo made games these days outside of the Mario main line games. I have a Switch but I own maybe 4 games for it. I play most of my stuff on PC these days and Nintendo doesn't make much that I want to play. I do want Bayonetta 3 and the next No More Heroes but not much else for me there unfortunately.

I will say that Super Mario 3D World was fantastic and had a good amount of difficulty once you passed the initial story missions.

Acedia_374 karma

Not a Zelda fan?

Qik112 karma

Honestly no. I used to be. I loved the original and a Link to the Past but then I played every Zelda after that until Skyward sword and finished none of them because I just wasn't enjoying them. I just found the lack of real character advancement to be unfulfilling. I started playing more CRPG's like the Might and Magic or Wizardry games and enjoyed them much more.

I am a massive Dark Souls fan though.

caseyweederman4 karma

Breath of the Wild is great, this is coming from a die-hard Dark Souls fan.
It's not a fair comparison but I like both.
You have the ability to dive straight into the really hard part of the game with no preparation, Catacombs style.

Mmm... The minute to minute play experience for me was closer to an Elder Scrolls or a modern Fallout, setting out for a goal and getting distracted by all the stuff there is to do and see.
The combat rewards mastery, like a Nintendo version of Dark Souls, but it's certainly not going to be a challenge for a Dark Souls veteran. Unless you want to go fight the boss with a broken sword hilt.
The weapon condition system means you need to constantly be adapting your strategies. You can't just get the Best Weapon and coast through the rest of the game. Sometimes your Thunderfury: Blessed Blade of the Windseeker shatters and you have to beat three guardians with a deku stick and some hope.

Qik14 karma

My issue with Zelda games became the lack of character progression and boss simplicity. Link follows the same trajectory in each game and I just wasn't enjoying it. I'd play them for a few hours and then just stop. I get that Wild was more open world and was somewhat different but I wasn't interested.

Groenboys11 karma

Favorite Nintendo youtuber?

Qik19 karma

I don't watch much in the way of Nintendo Youtube stuff because I don't play many Nintendo games anymore but I know AbdallahSmash026 is pretty good.

MixmasterJrod10 karma

There's been a few "The Wizard" questions already but was that movie like everything to you at the time kinda the way Roadhouse was for bouncers? Pretty iconic movie. Did your friends call you "the wizard"?

Or since you were in the 18+ age group, was that movie to childish for you?

Qik113 karma

I still get the Wizard ribbing to this day but it's fine. I give all my friends a hard time constantly so the few things they have on me are ok. I can't say I was a big fan of it though. It came out more around the time of the 1990 NWC which I was a part of but it didn't match up well with it. The 94 tournament tried to do the finals a little like that but the movie was still just eh. It's just not an accurate representation.

WatermelonPL9 karma

Any thoughts on Nintendo today?

Qik116 karma

Still a good company but starting to conform to modern times in bad ways like the mobile gaming stuff. Unfortunately they don't make much that interests me these days.

RealJammy7 karma

Have Nintendo told you when the new Animal Crossing is coming out? EDIT: I just realised how dumb I am

Qik112 karma


MyNameMightBePhil6 karma

Do you have any of those super collectible old competition game carts?

Qik114 karma

I had one for being a finalist in 1990 but I sold it long ago. I plan to buy it back from the current owner eventually and have been in contact with him. One of my best friends has a 1994 cart of which there are only 2 and that's worth even more than the 90 ones because of it's rarity.

MaestroLogical4 karma

the current owner

James Rolfe?

Qik16 karma

I don't think so. Doesn't live in the US.

Shellshockisbest6 karma

Did you get that rare cartridge handed out at the tournaments?

Qik114 karma

I did have a 1990 Cart but I sold it a long tiem ago. I have had contact with the current owner though and when he decides to sell he will be contacting me about getting it back.

dingos8mybaby26 karma

Did you win it using the power glove? Wait, you don't need to answer that. I know you did.

Qik19 karma

I won't disappoint you then.

inigma2223125 karma

What is your fav Nintendo game? Super Nintendo game? For me, Super Mario 3 Nintendo, Donkey Kong country Super Nintendo.

Qik110 karma

I'd say games like Zelda 1 and Zelda: a Link to the Past, SMB3, SMW and F-Zero.

inigma2223122 karma

Silly but didn’t own Zelda growing up...however had willow. Loved willow. 😂🤷‍♀️

Qik11 karma

I remember the game existing and I know I played it and I saw the movie but I can't remember what the game was like.

loempiaverkoper5 karma

Do you follow the classic games speedrunning scene? (like )

Do you still compete or do you think you could if you set your mind to it?

Qik14 karma

I don't follow speed running much. I stopped competing and don't do much competitive gaming at all anymore. Competitive gaming has too many highs and lows and not enough middle ground I didn't want to deal with the stress. Speed running is more indirect competition which I enjoy more but I tend to just enjoy games at my own pace these days and not push myself to be the best at something. I just enjoy playing. It's getting harder to find games I enjoy though.

yosefzeev5 karma

Goldeneye: Oddjob? Slappers?

How did they go about selecting who would compete? Was there some sort of "screening"?

Qik16 karma

Since I started playing shooters on PC it was hard for me to give them a fair shake on consoles and I never got into Goldeneye because of that. Controllers just don't cut it when you have played on Mouse and Keyboard for years.

There were qualifiers in 132 cities and when you won a local you were flown to the finals in San Diego.

zerofailure3 karma

Do you still play first person shooters now? Since you started early, I assume it was UT and Quake like me. Do you wish for arena type games today? Thoughts on Overwatch? I agree pc ruins all console fps once you switch.

Qik15 karma

I play them but not in pvp type settings. I play single player or co-op. Borderlands 2 I have close to 1000 hours on. Division 1 and 2 although 2 has been kinda shit. Doom, Remnant, Fallout. I remember when the original Wolfenstein was out and shown to me. Went and got it then played Doom, Heretic, Hexen and a bunch more.

Pwn5t4r132 karma

What are your thoughts on BL3?

Qik12 karma

I'll let you know in April when I can play it with a clear conscience.

Pwn5t4r132 karma

What do you mean by that?

Qik14 karma

It comes out on Steam in April and I won't have to deal with the Epic launcher or support exclusivity agreements. BL3 has been one of my most wanted games for years but I won't support a company buying a user base. I'll wait til I can play it somewhere else.

Pwn5t4r132 karma

I like that. I haven’t bought it yet either and I think I’ll do the same thing.

Qik11 karma

You. I like you.

yosefzeev2 karma

So what would a qualifier look like? What sorts of games were involved in that?

Qik12 karma

It was the same games in the qualifier as the finals (Mario All Stars, Mario Kart, Ken Griffey baseball) until it changed at the final 4 to Donkey Kong Country.

yosefzeev2 karma

All right. I have one final question: Favorite Board of Donkey Kong Country and Favorite Soundtrack?

Qik12 karma

Wow. I don't think I can remember the stage names because it's been so long. I enjoyed the rhino stages.

Game soundtrack I assume. I was never really into video game music much. I end up turning it down or off a lot of times that I play. If I did pick one though... I remember Bayonetta having a decent soundtrack.

Bro3256Films4 karma

Do you have any plans to enter a future NWC if one is announced?

Qik121 karma

I entered the 2015 one and while I was capable of qualifying I still missed the cut but they don't run the qualifiers well these days so in 2017 I just skipped it altogether. The finals they do are great and I would love to be part of that but they aren't even giving out prizes for winning anymore. John Goldberg won a trophy and a DS for winning in 2015. That is ridiculous.

bestminipc4 karma

what game u win in... ??

why dont you say in post?

Qik120 karma

The games were Super Mario All Stars - Clear the first stage

Super Mario Kart - clear the first race using Mario

Ken Griffey Jr. baseball home run derby for the remaining time.

You had 6 minutes total.

Qik114 karma

Oh and in the final 4 we played Donkey Kong Country to decide the winner.

tixier3 karma

How did you get your first console? I found my Dad’s Atari-a-like Pong in the basement, set it up on my 13” b/w UHF TV and became obsessed with the idea of leveling up. Earned my NES for straight As. Grounded from it every time I refused to let my little brother in as Player 2.

Qik12 karma

I got my first Atari 2600 from my Aunt for Christmas around 1979 or 1980.

Yeazelicious3 karma

Will you ever be as cool as Lucas Barton from the 1989 film The Wizard?

Qik115 karma

You mean power glove douche? He was never cool. This is a low bar.

AStickyBoi3 karma

Do you have a Nintendo switch?

Qik11 karma


AStickyBoi2 karma

The orignal or the switch lite?

Also what are your opinions on pokémon sword and shield?

Qik11 karma

I never got into Pokemon so... no real opinion. Original Switch black/grey.

snipercandyman3 karma

How is your relationship with the two time champ Dr. Disrespect?

Qik14 karma

Non existent but good for him for creating a persona that people enjoy watching.

RubyRuby_Soho3 karma

You’d be the coolest older bro to watch play Mario and also beat my bosses for me!

1.) Are you bored of Nintendo now??

2.) What is your current and favourite new console atm?

3.)What is your favourite all time console?

Qik11 karma

I like Nintendo but I find a lot of what they make doesn't appeal to me.

The PS4 has been a good console. Bloodborne, Uncharted 4, God of War. They've been delivering on games.

NES/SNES are damn good. A bunch of classic there I truly love. The PS3 is also really really good though with a bunch of games I mentioned replying to someone else. Demon's Souls, Uncharted 2, Last of Us and others.

PiGuy1803 karma

If Nintendo ever hosted another World Championship (say a 30th anniversary one), would you participate?

Qik12 karma

Depends on the rules. I competed in 2015 but skipped 2017 because they are just not done very well. Prizes are also non existent.

afraidofthedrk3 karma

Did you ever think you would achieve this? How would your younger self react to what you've accomplished?

Qik12 karma

Winning? I mean I was only 23 when it happened so I was pretty young still. I'm not sure if a 10 year old me would grasp it very well.

OmegaPrecept3 karma

How many time can you beat Contra on the NES without losing a life?

Qik14 karma

Divide by Zero.

OmegaPrecept2 karma

My record is 5 :)

Qik11 karma

I liked the old Contra games and was decent at them but not to that extent. I was able to do that with stuff like Gradius, Lifeforce, Ghosts and Goblins and Smash TV.

OmegaPrecept2 karma

Life force was my first NES game I was decent at it what a classic! I only beat Ghost and goblins once. :( It took me an entire summer lol.

Qik12 karma

Did you get the true ending? Ghosts and Goblins had to be beaten twice to actually get the ending.

dpcarballo3 karma

Do you agree that Genesis does what Nintendon't?

Qik14 karma

Yeah it sucks.

BullseyeBrandon3 karma

Ever tried any kaizo mario romhacks?

Qik11 karma

No but they make for entertaining videos.

Kilusan3 karma

What exactly was the Nintendo world championships ? What game did you play / win at the time?

Qik12 karma

There have been a few iterations. In 1990 the first NWC had Super Mario, Rad Racer and Tetris and is the most widely known of the 4 NWC's. I was a finalist that year also but did not win. Then in 1994 they had another and the games were Mario All stars, Mario Kart and Ken Griffey Baseball. I won that year. In 2015 they brought it back and used Mario 1, Mario 3 and Dr. Mario. In 2017 It was based around Mario Kart on DS.

dannyrover3 karma

Do you remember a movie called Wizard? Were these competition as portrayed?

Qik12 karma

Yeah there are lots of comparisons but the movie isn't that good and it doesn't compare well to what we actually did.

LumpySeat3 karma

What did you win it in?

Qik12 karma

The games you mean? it was a timed cartridge consisting of Mario all stars, Mario kart and ken griffey jr baseball. You cleared the first stage in each of the first 2 games and used the remaining time to hit home runs in griffey's HR derby for score with the remaining time.

LumpySeat2 karma

Sounds like alot of work. Congrats tho

Qik11 karma

It was a lot of practice to become consistent enough to win.

LumpySeat2 karma

What game do you think you were the best at?

Qik12 karma

Tetris in the late 80's early 90's. I was good enough then that I could have competed in CTWC (classic tetris world championships) if it existed then. I was also a god at Kung Fu on the NES when it was the only game I owned.

Another game was Everquest. Now I wasn't the best EQ player but I led a really great guild for a while and we had a lot of success. It's one of my fondest memories and I still have contact with many of them today.

LumpySeat2 karma

I feel like this is an example of 1. Videogames bring people together 2. Not everyone on the internet is a predator... im looking at you boomers

Qik12 karma

Video games absolutely bring people together. I met all of my best friends because of video games.

FatAssOgre3 karma

I might’ve participated in the same thing. Blockbuster video (rip) held some video game championship where the winner would go onto nationals. You could pick Nintendo or Sega .. I owned a Nintendo but for some reason I picked Sega, maybe I was more familiar with the games because my cousin owned one? It was like NBA Jam, Sonic and some racing game. I remember crushing the top score by a large margin, then suddenly some player signs up late to the competition and mysteriously beats my score. All I got was a sticker that I put on my Nintendo (which was later stolen). I’m still bitter about all of this if you can tell.

Qik12 karma

Those were the Blockbuster tournaments. I want to say one was in 94 and another in 95. I know the 95 one was based around the DKC cart that was used in the NWC 1994 finals that I won.

FatAssOgre3 karma

A shame there aren’t any classic SNES tournaments where I can go and prove that my all my time spent as a youth behind a controller wasn’t in vain. Age sucks though and seeing how much time I’ve clocked into Overwatch and how terrible I still am versus the majority... maybe I still have muscle memory from the original Mario Kart.

Qik12 karma

Happy Cake Day! Check out some Retro gaming expos. I had Mario Kart 64 in one of my tournaments this year in Arizona.

beebish2 karma

What are your favorite switch games?

Qik11 karma

Mario Odyssey. I didn't get much for it. I want Bayonetta 3 and No More Heroes 3. I also have Xenoblade 2 and Sushi Striker. I play most of my games on PC so if there is a PC option for anything then I get it there.

kanekong062 karma

What was the hardest part of the championships?

Qik15 karma

Making the top 16 when all 132 players had to play at the finals. The tournament wasn't the most skillful they could have done so making the top 16 had a lot of luck to it. Once I made top 16 though I knew I had a very good chance of winning because I was very consistent.

cjtnegrete2 karma

What's dr disrespect like?

Qik11 karma

I mentioned earlier that at least he made a persona people find entertaining so good for him. It's just an act though.

Dub_Monster2 karma

Did you ever meet Nintendo Ninjas?

Qik11 karma

I didn't know what this was and had to look it up.


But now I want to.

martijnfromholland2 karma

Do you like other Nintendo games ? Like breath of the wild and splatoon 2?

Qik12 karma

I didn't play either Splatoon game but they did look cool. I don't really play the Zelda games anymore. I do still enjoy the main line Mario games though.

lazykid2 karma

What is your favorite Nintendo game?

Qik12 karma

Hard to point to one. Zelda 1 and 3, SMB3, SMW, F-Zero. Those are some of my favorites that are made by Nintendo.

logbasepi2 karma

Were you ever active on the old Nintendo Nsider Forums before their demise? I was a member, but not long before they became "Tech Support Only."

Qik11 karma

I was not.

GCHF2 karma

Billy Mitchell?

Any views on the scandal?

Did he have any affect on what you were doing?

Qik13 karma

I've met Billy and he's a decent guy. I know Walter really well also. I don't think Billy knowingly did anything wrong. I think he played on a machine that someone used an emulated board in and he caught hell for it. It's not like he hasn't repeatedly gotten the scores that people call foul on him for. I don't think Billy is the villain everyone wants him to be. Has no effect on me.

B_Rich2 karma

Has anyone recognized you in public?

Qik12 karma

I go to classic gaming expos and get recognized there often but just off the street just once back in the 90's before I won in 1994. It was for winning the qualifier in NJ for the 1990 NWC and they recognized me from that.

I'm not an easy person to forget. I kind of stand out in a crowd and am very recognizable.

Dreadlordstu2 karma

What did you do with the prize money?

Qik13 karma

I bought an 89 Mustang LX 5.0 for 6000. The rest I spent over time.

hi_im_haley1 karma

I could probably google this, but, why is your last name not capitalised?

Qik13 karma

It is

CraftBrewHaHa3 karma

Such an honest question and honest answer 😂 ... OP.. his last name starts with an “i”

Qik13 karma

For whatever reason a lot of people have a hard time seeing a last name start with ia. My entire life I have been called Mr. Larossi from people who can't see anything but a lower case l instead of a capital I and it's all because of stupid fonts that have taught us they look the same.

keatches1 karma

your thoughts about cosmo ?

Qik12 karma

like 2015 finals Cosmo?

keatches2 karma


Qik12 karma

I don't know much about him really. I know John Numbers though. I do some stuff for Game On Expo in Arizona every August and in 2017 I invited him there to talk on a panel and participate in one of our tournaments.