No, I won an Arena Challenge. I was featured on their high score list. There was my name, in lights and on glossy paper: Greg Noe.
Everyone, quickly grab Nintendo Power issue number 85 page 93 and read on...
Greg Noe Beaver Dam, WI 3:37:00
The greatest moment in my tender gaming career forever engraved on the page.
Okay, I know what you're thinking: "Fifth place! And nearly three hours after that nerd from Vegas? Weak!"
And I respond, "psh!" I was only 11 years old when I took this challenge, and I wasn't even going for the record while playing the game.
Yeah, the game was Donkey Kong Land, the semi-original sub-sequel to Donkey Kong Country on the original Game Boy. Having last played the game 15 years ago, my memories are few and far between, but I do have one story that is related to the completion time.
Before the contest was revealed in issue 79 (not 80 like the image above says), I highly doubt I had any intention on trying to complete the game 100%. I had played and beaten Donkey Kong Country, and hardly felt any urge to complete that game to 101%, so why bother with this one? Well, when the prize is four Power Stamps for the Nintendo Power catalog, you think twice about a challenge!
So here I was, just a little tween trying to get my name into my favorite magazine. The game was pretty easy for me, but I remember being stuck on a particular stage for a few days. This was 1995 so pre-internet days for me (though I was browsing N64.com later known as IGN on a regular basis one year later), and the only place I could turn was the challenger itself: the Nintendo Power Hotline.
The Nintendo Power was a 900 number that let you speak to a game counseler for a few bucks a minute. Now, these game counselers must have been geniuses, becasue I asked my question and got a response back really quickly. The guy told me exactly where to jump or wherever, and there it was, 100%.
Finally, I had to take a picture of the Game Boy to prove I had completed the game and show off my time. The challenge was asking for the first ten readers to send in their times, but evidently only six of us gamers bothered to do it and send in proof, so there we have it.
Along with my Power Stamp reward was a letter from Virginia Oldfin in Publications. Her letter reads:
Way to go Greg!
Congratulations, you have risen to the challenge!
You have entered the Arena in Nintendo Power. Check out Volume 85. Your score in the Power Challenge Donkey Kong Land from Volume 80 has proven to be one of the best in the Arena. To recognize your accomplishment I've enclosed four Nintendo Power stamps.
Again, congratulations Greg! We look forward to seeing you rise to the challenge in the future additions of Nintendo Power.
Thanks for entering our Arena Challenge Contest. Keep reading Nintendo Power for all the best game tips and reviews!
Here's a video with everything mentioned in this piece of nostalgia, hope you enjoyed it.
As for Patrick Kinsey and your insane sub-hour time, I salute you.