If Doug TenNapel had done nothing more than create a character named Queen Slug-For-A-Butt, it would have been enough to make him a video game legend. The name is pure perfection, the brilliant antidote to the seemingly never ending cascade of games that take themselves WAY too seriously. Fortunately for the gaming world, he went above and beyond and also created the characters of Earthworm Jim, Princess What’s Her Name, Psy-Crow, Evil The Cat, Major Mucus, and a whole cast of other bizarre creations.
Twenty-five years since its release, Earthworm Jim remains a classic of the platforming genre, a game that somehow manages to satirize platformers while simultaneously mastering the style. The writing is clever and the humor still seems fresh a quarter century later. It’s odd to think that this masterpiece began as a simple sketch of a worm.
Franchises like Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario Bros. were wildly popular, and Playmates Toys decided to create their own franchise. TenNapel presented a sketch of a worm to Shiny Entertainment and the company bought off on the concept. With modern video games involving such massive teams and extensive planning, it’s hard to imagine such a slap dash approach to game making, but TenNapel remembers it as one of the charms of creating a game in the early 90s.
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