Back when I was a spry whippersnapper, I competed in every video game competition I could. I never won a Street Fighter tournament (although I did get to the final round once), but I did grab the gold in a Star Fox 64 competition held at 1997’s Electronic Entertainment Expo.

This competition was solely for game journalists, yet ended up being quite the production. Nintendo created four life-size Arwing’s that served as the contestants' seats. After entering the cockpit, the Arwing would rear back and point up toward a movie screen. Remember Star Fox 64 only offered split-screen play, so to ensure the crowd could see it, Nintendo broadcast the system’s fuzzy graphics onto the largest screen possible. If I saw it today, I would probably laugh at how bad the game looked blown up that big, but back then, I thought it was amazing.

While I would like to say that I won this competition with a Karate Kid-like miracle shot, I won most rounds by at least five kills. None of the journalists knew that flying close to the ground removed your Arwing from the radar. None of them ever saw me coming.

After winning the finale round, the host pulled me out of my Arwing and had me wave to the crowd. What happened next will never happen again. Shigeru Miyamoto and Takaya Imamura jumped onto the stage to reward me with a one-of-a-kind gold Nintendo 64 controller (signed by both of them). This was the first time I met Miyamoto. My mouth was on the ground, and I nervously asked, “How ya doing?” He didn’t respond.

What happened next is even crazier. The host said, “Now we have a special treat. Reiner is going to play against Miyamoto!” My Nintendo representative had told me that the winner would compete against Miyamoto weeks prior to the event, but for some reason, I couldn’t believe it was happening. My heart raced faster than it ever has, and the only thing that went through my mind was “Don’t barf. DO NOT BARF!”

After climbing back into my Arwing, a Nintendo team member came over to me and whispered into my ear. He told me to take it easy on Miyamoto since he didn’t have the time to prepare for the competition. I complied…for 10 seconds of the match. I realized this would be my only chance to play against him, and, well, I wanted to shoot him down as many times as I could! And I did. I went after him…and only him. I had a blast.

But then the match ended. At that point reality sunk in and I realized I was going to have to shake his hand. I walked over to him, he looked me in the eye, then smiled. I told him “I had to do it” and he smiled again. He was a good sport. Looking back, I probably should have done things differently, but who else in the world can say they owned Miyamoto in Star Fox 64?