Getting Into Nintendo


I’m not sure how I first discovered the online sprite comic Captain SNES, but I think it was through a Google search. At first I thought it to be a simple parody of Captain N, which is fine, as I have nostalgic feelings for that cartoon while still realizing it was pretty crappy when you get right down to it. And it is a quite funny comic. There’s a bit of a deeper element to it as well, though, in its musings on the nature of Videoland. It kind of reminds me of other works that involve people visiting a world they originally thought was fictional. Amy actually pointed me in the direction of two different book series along those lines, Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart trilogy and Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series. In the former, the Inkworld is essentially just as real as our own, although the author and some other characters are able to manipulate events there to a certain extent. Fforde’s BookWorld, however, comes across as less of a world unto itself and more of a backstage area for book characters. These characters basically act in the books as they’re being read, and while they do have their own lives, essentially realize they’re fictional creations. And when someone from the real world is in a book, they notice that it has no more detail than what the author provides. In Captain N, not much was said about how Videoland actually worked, which is to be expected for a low-budget cartoon made to promote Nintendo products. The plot is that Kevin Keene, a good-hearted teenager from California who plays a lot of Nintendo, is sucked inside his television set and ends up in Videoland as the Game Master. This is represented in the first episode by a live-action scene that somehow looks even less realistic than the animated stuff.

But did Kevin actually BECOME a cartoon, or is that just a way of representing the transition between universes? I’ve always kind of assumed the latter, but what I’ve read on the Internet suggests the former is a pretty common theory. Anyway, Videoland in the comic bears some resemblance to Fforde’s BookWorld, in that the inhabitants realize they’re sprites, and act according to the rules of their games. They don’t know they’re in video games, with a few exceptions, but the level of detail in their universe is essentially what you would see when playing the games. They were even aware of the change from eight-bit to sixteen-bit graphics. More than that, however, we learn that Videoland works the way the Game Master expects it to. While this hasn’t been entirely spelled out as of yet, the impression seems to be that Kevin’s Videoland was a simple place because of his largely innocent mind. Alex Williams, however, is older, ruder, and more cynical, so Videoland adjusts somewhat to his attitude. He also has a more nuanced view of good and evil than what we see in Saturday morning cartoons, so that also shows. It’s also hinted that Alex’s expectations are why flashbacks to before the Great Change (and, in Alex’s Videoland, people can see and hear flashbacks) are rendered in 8-bit graphics rather than as cartoons. The concept is quite interesting, and I’d recommend the comic, especially to anyone who remembers Captain N and fans of games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy IV (both of which feature quite heavily in the plot so far).

This entry was posted in Captain N: The Game Master, Cartoons, Comics, Jasper Fforde, Television, Thursday Next, Video Games and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Getting Into Nintendo

  1. ozaline says:

    In a similar vain I’d recommend checking out the webseries Captain S http://www.pbc-productions.com/CaptainS/Main.htm

    Which is a Sega based parody of Captain N… with a bit of Saved by the Bell thrown in.

  2. Mario500 says:

    Here is the correct address (the “t” in “html” was missing):
    http://www.pbc-productions.com/CaptainS/Main.html

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