CGC Video Games and CAG Present the Nicholas Membrez-Weiler Collection
Posted on 2/21/2023
CGC Video Games™ and Collectibles Authentication Guaranty® (CAG®) recently had the honor of certifying the Nicholas Membrez-Weiler Collection. The entire collection is now being offered in an ongoing auction on ComicConnect, which is set to end on March 13, 2023. This extraordinary group consists of 42 items related to Nicholas Membrez-Weiler’s participation in the 1990 Nintendo World Championships (NWC), the first major Esports event in the US. Nintendo of America, Inc. hosted the tournament, which stopped at 29 cities across the country and culminated in the world championship held at Universal Studios Hollywood.
CGC Video Games and CAG were selected to certify the entire Nicholas Membrez-Weiler Collection. This pedigreed collection is one of the largest collections of originally owned Nintendo World Championships material in the world. Each item in the collection represents this important moment in video game and pop culture history.
Provenance of the collection
At seven years old, Nicholas was the youngest finalist to reach the world championship. The tournament was divided into three separate age groups: 11 and under, 12 to 17 and 18 and over. Each of the 29 cities had one champion from each age group, except for Los Angeles, which hosted the tournament twice and produced two sets of finalists. These 90 finalists were then invited to the world championships at Universal Studios.
Most of the items in the collection are unique to Nicholas and his family. His parents, Chris “Grizz” Weiler and Michelle Membrez also entered the tournament while his sister, Elise Membrez-Weiler, rooted them on. Together, the family travelled to nine separate cities along the tour.
Nicholas and his family first attended the NWC in St. Paul, Minnesota, the same weekend Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev was visiting neighboring Minneapolis. The family was mesmerized by the NWC, which featured not just the tournament but an entire tradeshow of Nintendo products, merchandise and entertainment. At each stop during the tour, thousands of people turned out to try the newest games and preview upcoming titles.
Nicholas was excited to enter the tournament, which required competitors to play a specially designed triathlon cartridge featuring levels from Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer and Tetris. He made it into the city semifinal, but wasn’t able to attend the Sunday finals due to Mikhail Gorbachev’s motorcade blocking the family’s way to the convention center.
Wanting another shot to qualify for the world championships, Nicholas and his family followed the NWC to Seattle, where he made it to the semifinals. Invited onto the Power Stage, Nicholas was among Seattle’s top-seven players in his age group. He made it through the semifinal and advanced to the city championship. After a final round on the triathlon cartridge, Nicholas walked away with the Seattle Champion Trophy.
Both Grizz and Michelle were determined to match their son’s success. The family continued to follow the NWC as it made its way down the Pacific Coast and back to the eastern states. Grizz and Michelle both made it to several semifinals along the way. Together, they won a dozen brand-new Nintendo Game Boys for qualifying, which they traded to Toys ‘R’ Us for Geoffrey Bucks. The family’s final stop was in Miami, Florida, where Grizz lost the city championship to Erik Aackerlund.
For winning the Seattle championship, Nicholas was invited to compete in the world championship at Universal Studios Hollywood. The NWC finals were divided into three rounds. All 30 finalists from each age group competed in an initial heat. From there, the top seven scorers advanced to the semifinal round. Finally, the top two scorers from the semifinal round faced off head-to-head.
Despite waking up with a fever and flu-like symptoms, Nicholas logged the second-best score in his age group and advanced to the semifinal round. Ultimately, he finished the semifinal in fourth place and had to watch from the audience as Jeff Hansen bested Adam Misosky for the world championship title.
Although he did not win the Nintendo World Championships, Nicholas Membrez-Weiler was a trailblazer for the early Esports community. At only seven years old, he had competed on the national stage and bested hundreds of thousands of other children across the country. The success that he and the other NWC finalists had was chronicled in newspapers, magazines and on television. It was that experience which helped create the necessary desire and passion among gamers for Esports to become a permanent fixture in American culture.
Items in the collection
During their travels, Nicholas and his family accumulated a large assortment of items related to the NWC. While most of the items in the Nicholas Membrez-Weiler Collection are specific to Nicholas’s finals run, there is also a good amount of general NWC memorabilia.
The most important item in the collection is Nicholas’s copy of Nintendo World Championships 1990. These triathlon cartridges were used throughout the competition and consisted of specialized levels from Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer and Tetris. Nintendo of America gifted each finalist a copy upon the conclusion of the tournament. After receiving the cartridge, Nicholas attached his NWC Finals VIP Sticker to it.
The collection also includes Nicholas’s Seattle Champion 11 & Under Trophy. The city champions from each age group were awarded one of these trophies. Each one has a specialized plaque denoting the city and the age group. Nicholas can be seen hoisting the trophy in a photograph featured on the front page of The Denver Post.
Perhaps the most customized item in the collection is Nicholas’s Nintendo Youth Participant Shirt. Michelle purchased this shirt for Nicholas in Seattle, and he wore it while he competed in the city championship. Afterwards, Nicholas painted a picture of his city championship trophy on the back with puffy paint.
Another unique item is Nicholas’s Champion 11 and Under Tombstone Plaque. After the finals, Nintendo of America presented one of these personalized plaques to each finalist. The term “tombstone” was coined by finalist Chris Tang, who first noticed the plaque’s macabre shape. Many finalists recall awkwardly carrying these plaques on the airplane ride home.
As a finalist, Nicholas was able to acquire pieces of NWC merchandise that other participants were not. Upon arrival at Universal Studios, Nintendo of America’s representatives handed each finalist an NWC Contestant Information Sheet and an envelope that included two Backstage Pass stickers and two VIP Guest stickers, as well as instructions on when to wear them. Nintendo also gifted each finalist a Nintendo World Championships hat and a Nintendo World Championships black bag. Nicholas stored most of the items from the collection in this bag.
Other items in the collection relate specifically to Nicholas and his family, including the Seattle Finalist Badge and the Travel Companion Badge he and his mother were given during their stay in Universal City. There are also several clippings of newspaper articles devoted to the Membrez-Weilers and their NWC experience, as well as Nicholas’s copy of Nintendo Power #18 in which he is featured.
Because the Membrez-Weilers competed in nine separate cities, they were able to accumulate several pieces of NWC merchandise. Nicholas and his parent’s success in the tournament netted them several NWC Semifinalist hats, VIP Guest stickers and Quarter-Finalist stickers. The collection also includes Nicholas’s VIP Semi-Finalist sticker that he wore during the Seattle city championship.
About CGC Video Games and Collectibles Authentication Guaranty (CAG)
CGC Video Games, the latest division of Certified Guaranty Company® (CCG®), began accepting submissions in October 2022. Since then, the company has graded thousands of video games from the world’s most popular console libraries, including Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, Atari and more. CGC Video Games provides expert authentication, grading and encapsulation services for video games, backed by the CGC Guarantee. To learn more about CGC Video Games, click here.
Collectibles Authentication Guaranty (CAG) devotedly authenticates and preserves the provenance of historical artifacts, memorabilia and estate items from around the world. The company has worked closely with collectors, estates, artists and museums to ensure the continued preservation of history’s most relevant artifacts, including the Armstrong Family Collection™. To learn more about CAG, click here.
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