When Donkey Kong’s cut-scene animation inquires, “HOW HIGH CAN YOU GET?,” it isn’t referring to recreational drug use, but to how many meters you can climb in the construction site that is the setting of the game. However, if you thought that a green leafy plant wasn’t at the root of the game’s creation, you’d be wrong!

When Shigeru Miyamoto, working in tandem with chief engineer Gunpei Yokoi, initially set out to design the game, he intended to have a certain spinach- devouring sailor rescue Olive Oyl from his arch nemesis Bluto. While spinach won’t get you high like marijuana, it is the basis of the creation of the beloved, and perhaps most recognizable video game character ever, Mario. You see, when King Features Syndicate refused to grant the license to the popular Popeye comic strip characters, Miyamoto was forced to create his own.

In Miyamoto’s new rendition, the protagonist was originally nicknamed Ossan, Japanese for “middle-aged guy.” When Miyamoto decided that he wanted the character to appear in all of his future video games, in a fashion similar to Alfred Hitchcock’s famous cameos, he dubbed the character Mr. Video. After giving the character the ability to leap over rolling barrels, he renamed the leading role to Jumpman. This ability was literally a leap in game design, as Miyamoto inadvertently created one of the earliest platform games, and the first video game to feature a jumping game-play mechanic.  Read the rest of this article by clicking here!

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Michael Thomasson Michael Thomasson (15 Posts)

Michael Thomasson is one of the most widely respected videogame historians in the field today. He currently teaches college level videogame history, design, and graphics courses. For television, Michael conducted research for MTV's videogame related program Video MODS. In print, he authored Downright Bizarre Games, and has contributed to nearly a dozen gaming texts. Michael’s historical columns have been distributed in newspapers and magazines worldwide. He has written business plans for several vendors and managed a dozen game-related retail stores spanning three decades. Michael consults for multiple video game and computer museums and has worked on nearly a hundred game titles on Atari, Coleco, Sega and other console platforms. In 2014, The Guinness Book of World Records declared that Thomasson had “The Largest Videogame Collection” in the world. His businesses sponsor gaming tradeshows and expos across the US and Canada.  Visit www.GoodDealGames.com.