125 Fun Facts About Nintendo Part 2: 26-50

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Here is part two of my list of 125 facts about Nintendo!  

SPOILER ALERT: Numbers 48 and 49 on the list contain an unlockable character from the upcoming Smash Bros. games.


26. Donkey Kong was so successful it caught the attention of Universal Studios, who believed that it infringed on their copyright of King Kong. They filed a lawsuit against Nintendo,  fortunately for game-lovers everywhere, Universal lost the case.

27.  Nintendo rewarded John Kirby, the attorney who defended them against Universal's lawsuit, with a sailboat as well as exclusive rights to name sailboats Donkey Kong.

28.  Kirby also served as the inspiration for the name of one of Nintendo's fluffier, pink characters.

29.  The hero of the original Donkey Kong was named Jumpman.  His name was later changed to Mario in order to imbue him with more personality, with the hopes they he would be able to serve as a mascot for the company.  Legend has it that the idea for the name came from Mario Segale, the notoriously grumpy landlord of the warehouse Nintendo of America was using as an office when the time came to localize Donkey Kong.

30. Mario wears a hat and grows a mustache because they were easier to draw than hair and a mouth due to the limitations of video game graphics at the time.

31.  Similarly, Mario wore red overalls with a blue shirt in order to stand out on the low resolution screens he would grace (the colors were flipped in later iterations of the character).

32. Long before the Super Mario Super Show, Mario starred in a series of Saturday morning cartoons alongside Donkey Kong and Pauline.  This was before there was a Mushroom Kingdom, and long before Charles Martinet gave Mario his now-iconic Italian accent.  Mario is barely recognizable!

33. Donkey Kong Jr. the 1982 sequel to Nintendo's smash hit was the first and, to date, only game in which Mario was the antagonist.  The games has you play as Donkey Kong's son trying to rescue his father who Mario is keeping captive.

Heartless bastard.


34.  Cranky Kong from the Donkey Kong Country series is, in fact the original Donkey Kong, while Donkey Kong Jr. is the eponymous hero of the series.

35.  Mario would return in 1983 in the classic arcade game Mario Bros.  It was at this time that, according to Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario gave up carpentry and became an Italian plumber living in New York with his brother.  The game was only mildly successful in Japan, while it was a hit in the US, despite the fact that the video game market crashed the same year.  In fact the game was actually ported to Atari 2600 and Atari 5200.  It also had one of the greates commercials ever.

36.  The same year Nintendo released Mario Bros. the company also released its first major home console in Japan, the Famicom (Family Computer).  It sold pretty well in Japan; by the end of 1984 Nintendo had sold 2.5 million units.  This is especially impressive considering how little the Japanese liked video games, as they were viewed as time-wasters.

37.  Atari was originally slated to produce the Famicom (renamed Nintendo Entertainment System for North America) but the company's financial problems stemming from the market crash caused the deal to fall through.

38.  Nintendo released the NES in America in small spurts to retailers in New York to "test the waters" in the fall of 1985, with a full release following in February.  The system was a smash hit and is widely credited with rescuing the video game market from the brink of extinction.

39.  Australia had the creepeiest marketing campaign for the NES.

40.  When Shigeru Miyamoto was developing Super Mario Bros. his mentor Gunpei Yokoi suggested that Mario and Luigi be given super powers, such as the ability to jump high and fall from great distances.  He also suggested power-ups.

41.  The manual for Super Mario Bros. in North America states that when King Koopa invaded Mushroom Kingdom he transformed all its residents into blocks.  In other words, Mario and Luigi are cold-blooded murderers.

42.  The Legend of Zelda was originally set to take place in the past and the distant future with the player's character being a "link" between the two time periods.  This idea was scrapped in favor of a medieval-fantasy theme.  The name "Link" is a relic of the game's original plan.

43.  It is widely believed Link was modeled after Peter Pan.


This little guy is called a Pol's Voice, a name which makes zero sense to players outside of Japan as the best way to defeat these buggers is with an arrow.  In Japan players could yell into the mic on the Famicom's controller to take car of these guys.  Since the NES did not have a mic, a new weakness had to be given to them.

45.  Metroid's name came from combining the words "Metro (as in England's underground)" and "Android (as in Paranoid Android)."  This was due to the fact that the sprawling labyrinth players explored in the game resembled an underground railway system.  The android part is a complete mystery as there are literally no androids in the game.

46.  The Super Mario Bros. 2 America got is vastly different than the one Japan got.  In fact they are completely different games.  The sequel in Japan was basically a retooled version of Super Mario Bros. with the difficulty cranked to eleven.  Fearing the difficulty would turn American players off, Nintendo re-skinned Doki Doki Panic, a game which had been developed in a partnership with Fuji Television.  Take a look at this footage...it may look familiar...

47.  In an effort to ensure that the NES was not overrun with crappy games, Nintendo established a set of tough guidelines which each game had to pass in order to be produced for the NES.  Ever noticed the "Nintendo Official Seal of Quality"?  This seal means the game it appears on the box of has been approved by Nintendo's arduous review process.

48.  You can't shoot the dog in Duck Hunt, contrary to what your school friend said at lunch.  Seriously, that kid doesn't know @#$%!

49.  You will be able have your revenge in the new Super Smash Bros. games, as he is a playable character.  I can't wait to beat the tar out of the son of a bitch (he's a dog so it's not swearing).

50.  It is a commonly known fact that when an NES cartridge is not working, simply blowing on the cartridge will fix the problem.  This may true in the short run, but in the long run the moisture from your mouth will tarnish the connectors on the cartridge, making it harder to connect with the NES.  Stop blowing cartridges!  It's just wrong.

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