Captain N: The Game Master

Captain N: The Game Master
Genre Action
Directed by Michael Maliani (Season 1)
Chuck Patton (Season 2)
John Grusd (Season 3)
Kit Hudson (live-action sequences)
Voices of Garry Chalk
Ian James Corlett
Scott McNeil
Michael Donovan
Matt Hill
Alessandro Juliani
Andrew Kavadas
Doug Parker
Levi Stubbs
Venus Terzo
Frank Welker
David Kaye
Tomm Wright
Composer(s) Haim Saban (Season 1)
Shuki Levy (Season 1)
Michael Tavera (Season 2–3)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 34 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Andy Heyward
Producer(s) Michael Maliani (Season 1; supervising producer, Season 2)
John Grusd (Season 3)
Jamie Edlin (live-action sequences)
Editor(s) Lars Floden (Season 1)
William P. Magee (Season 1)
Warren Taylor (Season 2)
Mark A. McNally (Season 2–3)
Susan Odjakjian (Season 2–3)
Mel Ashkenas (Season 3)
Jill Goularte (Season 3)
Running time 22 minutes (Season 1–2)
11 minutes (Season 3)
Production company(s) DIC Entertainment
Saban Productions (Season 1 only)
Nintendo of America, Inc.
Distributor DIC Entertainment
Shout! Factory (North America DVD)
Original network NBC
Original release September 9, 1989 (1989-09-09) – October 26, 1991 (1991-10-26)

Captain N: The Game Master is an AmericanCanadian animated television series that aired on television from 1989 to 1991 as part of the Saturday morning cartoon lineup on NBC. The show is produced by DIC Entertainment and incorporated elements from many of the most popular video games of the time from the Japanese company Nintendo. There was also a comic book version by Valiant Comics, despite only featuring characters from games produced by Nintendo. The show is 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 character Captain N first appeared in Nintendo Power magazine, created by a Nintendo staff member and 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.[1]

Show premise

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 a later 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.


The N Team

Main villains

Minor villains

Other characters

The following characters appear in at least 2 episodes:


Featured video games

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:

Although nearly every major Nintendo franchise at the time was represented at some point or another in the show (as well as a few obscure ones, such as Puss 'n Boots), the Super Mario games were noticeably absent, although a line mentioning the game is included in the pilot episode comparing the Ultimate Warp Zone that brings Captain N to Videoland to the warp zones in Super Mario Bros. This is because The Super Mario Bros. Super Show was airing around the same time which featured the characters and world of the Mario games.


Additional voices

The comic book

The Captain N comic book was published by Valiant Comics as part of the Nintendo Comics System in 1990. Despite being based on the television cartoon of the same name, it was actually quite different from the show. The comics had a more serious tone than the cartoon. Additionally, all third-party characters (Simon Belmont, Mega Man, Dr. Wright, the Count, and Dr. Wily) were not in the comic. Samus Aran, who never appeared in the cartoon, was a recurring of the stories who falls in love with Kevin, and becomes Lana's rival for his affections. When asked by a fan why Samus did not appear in the television series, Jeffrey Scott said "Never heard of her. That could be why."[10] An article at 1UP.COM describes Samus as "rambunctious, reckless, and gets into @#!*% contests with Lana over Kevin's affections, which makes for some of the most entertaining situations in the series". The reviewer added "Not to say that the deadly quiet, contemplative Samus who fights for truth and justice in the more recent Metroid games isn't awesome, but there's something compelling about a Samus who's greedy and conniving – and is proud to admit it."[11]

Mother Brain's second-in-command became Uranos, the God of the Sky based on a regular enemy from Kid Icarus. Pit's toga was changed from white to yellow and, in most of the stories, Lana's dress was purple. However, in the comics Lana has a weapon – a scepter she had in concept art, but only had a very brief appearance on one episode of the show.

In the last printed issue of the comic book, a letter column promised that Mega Man would make an appearance but the comic was aborted abruptly and this never came into existence. The first issue was to be included as a digital reprint on the DVD set, but could not since the rights to the comic are in limbo.[12]


Before the show's third and last season, NBC made serious budget cuts to their Saturday Morning cartoon programming as they began to gradually move away from cartoons. As a result, the third season has lower quality animation with certain elements missing (Simon's goggles, Pit's sandals, etc.). Also, many episodes only featured the first party Nintendo characters (Kevin, Pit, Game Boy) to avoid paying royalties to Konami and Capcom for the uses of Simon Belmont and Mega Man respectively. The episodes were also shorter (11 minutes), and some did not have any tie-ins to Nintendo games, but other things such as fairy tales ("Misadventures in Robin Hood Woods") and sports ("Battle of the Baseball Know-It-Alls").

Broadcast history

International broadcast

In other languages

Syndication and changes

Captain N and the Video Game Masters

Captain N was syndicated on local affiliates on weekdays from September 14, 1992 to September 3, 1993, Captain N & The Video Game Masters, a 65-episode package which included Captain N, The Legend of Zelda, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario World.

Other airings

Family Channel

Family Channel played only the first 26 episodes from the Fall of 1991 to the Summer of 1992. Episodes were time compressed to fit in more commercials, making episodes around 2 minutes shorter. Family Channel airings also included the featured songs that played on the NBC and YTV airings, unlike later airings on WGN, Fox, and USA Network. Episodes were split into 4 acts instead of 2 or 3.

USA Network

Starting in the Fall of 1993, USA Network began showing reruns of the series on their Sunday lineup of their USA Cartoon Express animation block. Unlike other reruns, USA opted to edit scenes out of various episodes to cut the length down to their required limit in order to fit in more commercials. In 1994, it was taken off most channels and sometime in 1999 it was removed and replaced with another series. This was the last time the series has been shown on US TV.

Alternate versions of episodes

VHS releases

In the early 1990s, all Captain N episodes were released on VHS tapes distributed by Buena Vista Home Video. Season 3 was released as a 73-minute movie titled "Captain N and the Video Game Masters".

DVD releases and changes

Captain N was released in North America on February 27, 2007, by Shout! Factory and Sony BMG Music Entertainment. But although the set is called The Complete Series, There are some omissions:

The DVD set is packaged in two double-disc thin packs. The booklet planned for the set was omitted due to time constraints, as no further delays were wanted.

DVD Name Ep # Release Date Additional Information
Captain N: The Game Master – The Complete Series 26 February 27, 2007
  • Map of Videoland-style menus
  • Character Video Bios, including narration taken directly from the text of the Captain N bible
  • Exploring Videoland: Concept art for the worlds and locations of Captain N: The Game Master
  • "Captain Nintendo" – the original Nintendo Power short story.

Regional DVD releases

Every episode of Season 3 is available on Australian DVD alongside the entire series of the "Super Mario World" cartoon, just like in the US.

Three of the episodes of Season 3 are available on a Japanese DVD.


See also


  1. The Man Behind Captain Nintendo, Nintendo Player, archived from the original on 2013-09-16
  2. Seanbaby, "Memorial to Captain N: Kevin," Electronic Gaming Monthly 229 (June 2008): 90.
  3. Seanbaby, "Memorial to Captain N: Simon Belmont," Electronic Gaming Monthly 229 (June 2008): 91.
  4. Seanbaby, "Memorial to Captain N: Kid Icarus," Electronic Gaming Monthly 229 (June 2008): 91.
  5. Seanbaby, "Memorial to Captain N: Mega Man," Electronic Gaming Monthly 229 (June 2008): 91.
  6. Seanbaby, "Memorial to Captain N: Game Boy," Electronic Gaming Monthly 229 (June 2008): 91.
  7. Seanbaby, "Memorial to Captain N: Mother Brain," Electronic Gaming Monthly 229 (June 2008): 91.
  8. Seanbaby, "Memorial to Captain N: King Hippo," Electronic Gaming Monthly 229 (June 2008): 91.
  9. Seanbaby, "Memorial to Captain N: Eggplant Wizard," Electronic Gaming Monthly 229 (June 2008): 91.
  10. Interview with Jeffrey Scott, The Unofficial Captain N Homepage
  11. "Funny Pages. 1UP.COM. 1. Retrieved October 16, 2008.
  12. Crichton, John. "Brian Ward Shouts Up Captain N on DVD Archived March 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.." Toonzone. February 23, 2007.
  13. "Captain N replacement dvd". Shout! Factory Community. Archived from the original on 2008-12-03.

External links

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Informational sites

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