Everyone is talking about Nintendo and its new Switch console right now, but the really hardcore fans are the ones who grew up watching Captain N: The Game Master. It followed the adventures of Kevin Keene, a boy who gets sucked into Videoland by a transdimensional NES games console (along with his dog Duke). You fought King Hippo with Mega Man at your side. You befriended an anthropomorphic Game Boy. You helped Link zap Ganon with a blink of a mirror shield. Captain N was the face of Nintendo mania, and it perfectly reciprocated the desires of 1990s youth.
“Every toy back in those days had its own cartoon attached to it,” Ian James Corlett – a career voice actor who’s worked on Dragon Ball Z, My Little Pony and, yes, Captain N as Mega Man’s villainous Dr. Wily – tells Glixel. “It was a means to an end for the marketing company. It was way before games were revered the way they are now. We just sat down and wrote fun little stories so they could involve as many Nintendo characters as possible.”
The role of Captain N was played by Matt Hill. More recently, you’ll have seen him in the role of the deputy in the 2003 movie Shanghai Knights.
“All of us were brand new to the industry. That [first] summer, a bunch of us got invited to a fan convention in San Jose, and that’s when I started to realize ‘oh wow, people are really digging this show, people are digging this culture,'” he says. “I wasn’t a video game player. I had tapped out after Pong. But meeting those fans, they were just crazy enthusiastic.”
For more about the retro cartoon that shaped a generation of gamers head on over to Glixel.