John Goldberg, Nintendo National Champ
by Holly Bieler
Jul 29, 2015 | 14861 views | 0 0 comments | 425 425 recommendations | email to a friend | print
South Ozone Park resident John Goldberg wasn’t expecting much when he entered a gaming competition hosted by Nintendo at a Best Buy on Northern Boulevard in the spring.

One of eight competitions held throughout the nation, Goldberg, a life-long gamer, said that when he found out one contest was only nine miles away from his South Ozone Park home, it only made sense to enter the competition.

“I’ve been gaming with Nintendo for as long as I can remember,” he said. “I played Super Mario Bros. on my parents’ console as a kid. And [the competition] was a simple ride away on public transit.”

His confidence was high after the last game turned out to be Super Mario Bros., one of his favorites, however he didn’t even stick around to see how he had ranked in the competition, leaving for another tournament. At 7:30 p.m. he received word he had won the entire event.

“I was excited to say the least,” he said.

Along with the country’s seven other winners, he was flown to Los Angeles in June to take part in the Nintendo National Championships.

“I was just going to enjoy new experiences,” he said. “I’d never been on a plane before, I’d never been in California before. I was just like ‘okay, I’m going to do all this new stuff, I’m going to have a great time.’”

That great time, however, turned into a life-changing event when he won the entire competition, beating out 15 other competitors in front of a crowd of 2,500. Many more witnessed his win virtually, with the competition receiving 2.5 million hits on Youtube.

Nearly a month later, Goldberg says his win has yet to fully resonate.

“I don’t think the shock has even registered yet,” he said.

In addition to the prestigious title and trophy, Goldberg had the chance to meet one of his idols and a veritable God in the gaming community, Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo's chief game designer, who presented him with his award.

“I was star struck,” he said. “It was amazing to meet the man.”

And even if Miyamoto doesn’t speak English, Goldberg says he seized the chance to thank the man who has given him so much.

“I said thank you so much for all the games and the experiences you’ve given me and everyone over the years,” he said. “He basically understood what I said.”

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