Captain N: The Game Master was an NBC network Saturday morning cartoon produced by DIC Entertainment which incorporated elements from the most popular Nintendo video games at the time. It was also part of an hour-long block in Season 2 with "The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3" and with "Super Mario World" in Season 3 in a half-hour block.
The show first premiered on September 9, 1989 and ended on October 26, 1991 after airing for 3 seasons & 34 episodes.
At the outset of the first episode the hero of the series, Kevin Keene, a teenager from Northridge, Los Angeles, California and his dog Duke are taken to another universe known as Videoland when they are sucked into a vortex called the Ultimate Warp Zone that formed in his television.
In order to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Kevin is destined to become the hero "Captain N: The Game Master" and save Videoland from evil forces led by Mother Brain from the floating world/fortress called Metroid. By the time Kevin arrives on the scene, Mother Brain has almost succeeded in capturing the Palace of Power and conquering all Videoland.
Kevin (who in Videoland is armed with a Zapper and a belt buckle shaped like an NES controller) and Duke appear suddenly on the other side of the Ultimate Warp Zone before the N Team, which consists of Princess Lana (the acting ruler of Videoland as the first episode explains the absence of her father the King), Simon Belmont, Mega Man, and Kid Icarus (known as Pit in newer video games), none of whom show any confidence in Kevin's ability in the beginning.
After Lana is kidnapped by the enemy shortly after Kevin's arrival, the reluctant group puts their differences aside to go on a rescue mission where Kevin eventually gains the others' confidence.
In most episodes, the N Team's enemy is a group of video game villains, usually led by the boisterous and loud Mother Brain who is accompanied by her minions, the Eggplant Wizard, the thuggish King Hippo, and the scheming Dr. Wily. A "villain of the week" is featured in some episodes when a particular video game becomes the setting (such as Malkil of Wizards & Warriors).
Donkey Kong also makes an appearance as a territorial, belligerent, Godzilla-sized gorilla in some episodes, but usually serves as a dangerous neutral character posing a hazard to friend and foe alike.
Further recurring characters make an appearance as either friend or foe. The Count (Castlevania) makes multiple appearances, along with Dr. Light (Dr. Wright), Link and Princess Zelda. During season 2, Game Boy (a human-sized supercomputer shaped like the console) joins the N Team.
The focus of the show is mostly action-adventure sourced from the video games they parody with comedic relief forming in the character's interactions with one another and the environment. Sometimes humor also stems from the comparatively loose interpretations of the laws of reality that apply in Videoland.
Featured video gamesEdit
Because "Captain N: The Game Master" took place in a universe where video games existed as reality, a multitude of video games were used in the thirty-four episodes of the series.
In some cases only areas and elements from the game were used, but the protagonist was absent (some examples include Wizards & Warriors, Dragon Warrior, and Metroid). The following video games were portrayed at least once during the series' run with the ones that appeared having their own world in Videoland:
- The Adventures of Bayou Billy
- Bo Jackson Baseball
- California Games
- Castlevania II: Simon's Quest (music)
- Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse
- Donkey Kong (music)
- Donkey Kong Jr. (music) - In "Simon the Ape-Man," Simon Belmont thought he was Donkey Kong Junior when he had amnesia.
- Dragon Warrior (now referred to as Dragon Quest)
- Final Fantasy
- Kid Icarus (music)
- Marble Madness (music) - In the episode "I Wish I Was a Wombatman", the studio world of Marblopolis is structurally inspired by Marble Madness, right down to a giant black marble weapon with which Mother Brain attacks the N Team. Also, in the earlier episode "The Trojan Dragon", the theme from the first level of Marble Madness can be heard several times.
- Mega Man (music)
- Mega Man 2
- Mega Man 3
- Metroid (music)
- Nemesis (music, mostly featured in Season 2) - "The Trojan Dragon", for example, features this game's Stage 2 theme, "Fortress", during the first minute of the episode. ('Note: This same music was also used in the Japan-only Famicom game, Gradius II.)
- Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! (music)
- Puss 'n Boots: Pero's Great Adventure
- Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- Solar Striker (music) - The episode "Germ Wars", among others, used the Stage 1/2 theme from this game.
- Super Mario Bros. - In the first episode, Kevin briefly compares the Ultimate Warp Zone to this game. Many of the sound effects came from this game, such as jumping. The music for both the underground and fortress stages also is featured. Also, background music and featured songs were shared with The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!.
- Super Mario Bros. 2 (music only)
- Tetris (music)
- Wizards & Warriors - In "Nightmare on Mother Brain's Street", the N Team traveled to the world of Wizards & Warriors and battled the resident villain the wizard Malkil who also appeared on a few times on The Power Team opposite his enemy the knight Kuros.
- The Legend of Zelda
- Zelda II: The Adventure of Link
The character Captain N first appeared in Nintendo Power magazine, created by a Nintendo staff member & magazine editor named Randy Studdard (who presented Nintendo with a formal proposal that included the character as a company spokes-character, the origin and premise, and the Saturday morning cartoon as part of the entire marketing campaign).
The original concept involved Captain N (originally known as "Captain Nintendo") as a Nintendo employee and the Mother Brain as piece of programming from a Nintendo game pak (that was infused in an explosion with experimental "organic" ROMs) that went rogue. Captain N had the power to temporarily give life to characters and items from Nintendo games.
The story left a door open for a sequel (Mother Brain is temporarily defeated but her return was said to be inevitable, and Captain N vows to stop her when the time comes). Nintendo of America, Inc. later decided to follow Studdard's ideas and create a cartoon series, opting neither to credit nor to compensate its creator.
DIC Entertainment was shopped as the animation studio, and changed various aspects of the original idea while keeping the main premise of the Captain opposing Mother Brain as he interacted with a number of video game characters.
- Garry Chalk – King Hippo, Donkey Kong, Count Dracula, Bayou Billy, Malkil, Mayor Squaresly, Gutsman (Past) Additional Voices
- Ian James Corlett – Doctor Light, Alucard Megaman (Past) Rush (Past)
- Michael Donovan – Eggplant Wizard
- Matt Hill – Kevin Keene/Captain N, Narrator (opening credits on Season 3)
- Alessandro Juliani – Kid Icarus
- Andrew Kavadas – Simon Belmont
- Doug Parker – Mega Man, Rush, Kraid (Season 1)
- Levi Stubbs – Mother Brain
- Andrew Francis- Morro
- Venus Terzo – Narrator (opening credits season 2), Princess Lana, Medusa, Kevin's Mom (voice over only)
- Tomm Wright – Duke
- Frank Welker - Gameboy
- Suzanne E. Balcom
- Long John Baldry - King Charles, Little John, Clock Man
- Don Brown
- Len Carlson - Ganon
- Babz Chula
- Violet Crumble
- Christopher Gaze
- Tony Dakota
- Angela Gann
- Marcy Goldberg
- Doc Harris
- Anthony Holland
- Lee Jeffrey
- Alex Jordan
- Annabelle Kershaw
- Campbell Lane
- Blu Mankuma
- Lelani Marrell
- Lois McLean
- Scott McNeil
- Colin Meachum
- Shane Meier
- Andrew Narados
- Pauline Newstone
- Jonathan Potts - Link
- Cynthia Preston - Princess Zelda
- Alvin Sanders
- Marlow Vella
- Mark Weatherly
- Kurt Weldon - Harold Wilson