Dr. Mario Championship: The Next Addictive Esport

The Dr. Mario Championship (DrMC) is an annual tournament where players compete head to head on the NES version of Dr. Mario. This game is similar to Tetris, as both games have randomized puzzle pieces that fall from the top and the player has to figure out where to place them.

Dr. Mario Gameplay
Dr. Mario Gameplay

In 1990, Nintendo released Dr. Mario as their way to capitalize on their success with Tetris. It also inspired the game mechanics of Tetris 2. If you enjoy watching the CTWC, I definitely recommend watching the Dr. Mario Championship. For this reason, I chose to mention this game on a website that is supposed to be about Tetris.

How Does The Gameplay Work?

In Dr. Mario, the object of the game is to eliminate all of the viruses by placing two-colored vitamin capsules on them. To eliminate a virus, the player forms 4 adjacent of the same color. This is how you make a “clear”. A player can send garbage to their opponent by forming clear combos of at least a double.

If the player tops out, by having the capsules reach the top of the screen, the game ends and the viruses laughs at the losing player. You can learn more about the game in the instruction manual. aGameScout also explains it when he watched an invitational tournament at the CTWC, check out the video here.

The Tournament is broadcasted live on their Twitch Channels, TheDrMC and TheDrMC2.

Watch all of the recorded matches here.

How does each game at the Dr. Mario Championship work?

Unlike NES Tetris, Dr. Mario has a 2 player mode which is what the tournament uses. In each game, players race against each other to eliminate all the viruses first. If a player tops out, their opponent automatically wins that game.

Let’s review the 2 scenarios that can happen in a match between Player A and Player B

  1. Player A eliminates all of his/her viruses before Player B does (Player A wins)
  2. Player A tops out first (Player B wins)
2 players face off at the 2019 Dr. Mario Championship
Packie leads the match against Dmhero, 2 games to 0 as indicated by the yellow crowns on top. The numbers on top represents the remaining viruses for each player.

Format of the Tournament

In the qualifying round, players wait in line to join an eight-player pool. Each pool will have players competing against each other in a round robin format. In this round, competitors play on Level 11/Medium Speed. At the end of each game, the winner earns 2 points for every virus cleared and 1 point for every virus the opponent has left. While the loser earns 1 points for every virus cleared.

The Pool winner is determined by the following in order of importance:

  1. Winning Percentages
  2. Head to Head match among players in question
  3. Points earned in all matches
  4. Points earned in matches among players in question
  5. Sudden Death Match (Level 0/High Speed)

If there’s a tie among 3 or more players for ranking of Pool Winner, players will be eliminated via the tie-breaker protocol until there is a winner. At the end of the pool, all players can return to the line to join a new pool.

At the end of the qualifying round, pool winners get an automatic spot in the Top 48 playoffs. To determine which players get the remaining spots, the organizers will view the non-pool winner’s winning percentage and points earned.

The event uses a seeded bracket for the playoffs. Players are seeded by winning percentage, then points earned. Pool Winners do not get any special treatment at this point, which means they can have a low seeding rank if they have a low winning percentage.

For the Top 48 Playoffs, each match is a Best of 5. Players compete head to head on Level 14/High Speed.

Why are there NO chairs for the players?

Just to be clear, the organizers have stools available for anyone that needs to sit.

With that said, the tournament follows the traditions of the Nintendo World Championships where players played standing up. When I first watched the tournament, I thought it was because they could not afford chairs.

Where to learn more about the Dr. Mario Championship

Here’s a video that gives a quick overview on how the game and tournament works.

To keep up with the latest development, you can join their Facebook Group and Discord. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Check out my other articles that I have written about Dr. Mario here.