Join The NES Crazy With Captain N: The Game Master I LRM’s Retro-Specs

Welcome to the first 2023 edition of LRM’s Retro-Specs! Happy New Year, and I hope you had a good holiday season. If you are a child of the 80s and 90s you know Nintendo ruled the world. You name it, Nintendo had some type of connection to everything! It clearly dominates the video game industry, so what about the cartoon world? There is a great classic cartoon pulling us into the world of Nintendo with Captain N: The Game Master.

Strike While The Iron Is Hot

Even though it begins in 1989, Captain N: The Game Master spans three seasons with 34 episodes. The series begins from Saban then transfers to DIC Animation. The cartoon hits during the hot spot on NBC.

While the Mario Brothers, Link, and Zelda are the most well-known characters at the time, Captain N brings in other NES fan favorites. What better time to ride the success train of NES (as well as get some advertising in for other characters) in the late 80s/early 90s? 

The concept revolves around video game lover, Kevin Keene. One day he and Duke, his dog, are drawn into another dimension through TV into Videoland! There is a prophecy in Videoland about good ol’ Kevin. He is more than the everyday teen. He is the mighty Captain N who will save Videoland!

An awesome part of the show is that while other NES characters find the limelight, so do their villains! It’s a mashup rogues gallery of sorts. Captain N is awesome. Donning the NES shooter as his weapon and the game controller on his belt as another tool. The heroes who fight with Captain N are: Mega Man, Kid Icarus (many know as Pit), Princess Lana (after Palutena), Simon Belmont (from Castlevania), and Game Boy (supercomputer). 

There are some great appearances along the way to help Team N which includes the likes of: Zelda, Link, Bayou Billy, Dr. Light, Mega Girl, and others.

The team is in charge of fighting the villainous group: The Forces of Chaos (great 80s villain group name). This group consists of: Mother Brain (from Metroid), King Hippo (Mike Tyson’s Punchout), Eggplant Wizard (from Kid Icarus), and Dr. Wily (Mega Man). 

Some minor antagonists who help The Forces of Choas include: Donkey Kong, The Count, Alucard (but a young 90s style teenager), Ganon, Medusa, and others.

It really is an all-star character group! It is cool to see them all together and inadvertently does plug many of the other games. The show creates curiosity among kids watching the show who then want to go play as, or defeat, the characters. 

The Idea Is Awesome, But There Are Some Issues

While the idea is great, issues are still present. Some characters are absolutely nothing like their video game counterparts. Don’t forget, each NES game comes with a guide which often tells the backstories and character traits (I would actually read these. Anyone else?).

The main issue for me is Simon Belmont. For as badass of a character as he is, the portrayal in Captain N: The Game Master is way off. In Captain N, Belmont is cocky, but not in his skills type of way. Moreso over his looks. He seems unintelligent, and pretty much an ass. He makes for some of the comic relief, but is a far cry from the Belmont family we all know. 

Mega Man also seemed very child-like to me. Moreso than to be expected for the endeavors he encounters in his games. It is still an incredibly entertaining show though.

A Three-Season Commerical

While not only plugging some other larger characters, Captain N also advertises its new products of course. Due to some rights issues, they could not always be as direct. For instance, an episode surrounds a genie granting Team N their wishes. As we know, the Game Genie comes out in 1991. So some plugs are subtle, but still there none-the-less. 

There is even an episode that reflects 1991’s Robin Hood Prince of Thieves video games (which I found to be incredibly difficult). There is even a character with the name Wombatman with his girl friend Nikki. Yes, it’s a comedic take on Batman and Vicki from 1989s Batman and the 1990 game. Add that to sprinkling in other various characters and villains and it is quite the showcase for the franchise.


There is not an individual game for Captain N: The Game Master. However, the point of the show is to plug the numerous NES library. Although, there is a brief comic. In 1990 Valiant Comics partners with Nintendo Comics System. It is based on the cartoon. However, parts are drastically different. The comics are a bit darker with a serious tone. I actually preferred the grounding of the comics. 

There is an issue as third-party characters are not allowed in the comics. Simon Belmont and Mega Man are removed. As sad as that is, their replacement is great. Samus, Metroid, is brought to the team. The character is actually extremely close to the source material, which is a welcoming touch. She rivals Princess Luna for the affections of Kevin, Captain N himself. 

Some other characters are removed as well due to third parties: Dr. Light, The Count, and Dr. Wily. There are some other, minor changes, but Uranos (from Kid Icarus) also comes in to be Mother Brain’s next in command. At one point Mega Man is promised to make an appearance due to those missing his incorporation. However, the comic is stopped and it never comes to fruition.

So, What Happened?

A three-season arc in the 80s/90s is a decent haul seeing so many other gems fall short of that mark. At the time, Nintendo has a number of moving parts for cartoons. By 1992, the show becomes Captain N & The Video Game Masters. This in essences combines the Captain N show with The Legend of Zelda, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario World. For syndication some of the times are cut so that two shows can be shown during the 30-minute block. While it is great having all of the cartoons in one place, it also seemingly leads to the end of Captain N: The Game Master as we know it. 

Also, the series is usually on the Saturday Morning lineup on NBC. However, it is taken off and replaced by the news. Yuck. That is always the worst when you know Saturday morning is done because the cartoons make way for the news. It was the same for TGIF on Fridays!

In the early 90s there are VHS releases. There are even releases of the entirety of the series in 2007, but only to select regions. Some episodes can be found on YouTube though.

ALSO SEE: Media Play: The Place To Go For All Your 90s Holiday Needs! I LRM’s RetroSpecs

Do you remember Captain N: The Game Master? Who is your favorite character? What are your fondest memories of the show? Did you ever take the NES shooter and try to be Captain N (maybe I did…)? What other characters would you have liked to see in the show? Leave your thoughts in the usual spot, and thanks for reading!

Sources: TV TropesSVG

Night Terror Banner   GenreVerse FOR FANBOYS, BY FANBOYS Have you checked out LRM Online’s official podcasts and videos on The Genreverse Podcast Network? Available on YouTube and all your favorite podcast apps, This multimedia empire includes The Daily CoGBreaking Geek Radio: The Podcast, GeekScholars Movie News, Anime-Versal Review Podcast, and our Star Wars dedicated podcast The Cantina. Check it out by listening on all your favorite podcast apps, or watching on YouTube! Subscribe on: Apple PodcastsSpotify |  SoundCloud | Stitcher | Google Play
Share the Post: