Blog: 2017
Archive
July 13, 2018
Day three of "Nintendo Treehouse Live at E3 2018" started off with a look at Arcade Archives Donkey Kong and a special guest appearance by Don James, the Nintendo of America executive vice president of operations. Don James, who was the NOA warehouse manager when Donkey Kong was released in 1981, joined Treehouse staffers Morgan and Sam to talk a little bit about the early history of Donkey Kong and how Mario and Pauline got their names.

Nintendo live-streamed it all last month on YouTube here (the Donkey Kong segment starts at 27:00). The following is our transcription of the Donkey Kong Q&A section:

[Timestamp: 28:48]

Morgan Ritchie: So, 36 years ago, Nintendo of America was literally a warehouse?

Don James: Yeah. There were only five employees in a warehouse. We were importing games from Japan fully loaded and complete, and then after that, we couldn't build them fast enough and get them shipped into the United States, because Donkey Kong was so popular. So, we started manufacturing them in the Southcenter facility.

MR: That's so cool. It's like a warehouse full of Donkey Kong machines, basically.

[29:13]

MR: Do you remember when Donkey Kong came out? What that was like? Was it popular?

DJ: Well it was pretty crazy, because the first time we saw it, we immediately thought, "Donkey Kong," what the heck kind of a name is that? Then Japan [Nintendo Co., Ltd.] actually asked us one time if we wanted to rename the main character, Jumpman. Mr. [Minoru] Arakawa, who was the president [of NOA], and myself looked at the character, and we had a landlord that happened to be named Mario as well, and we'd never met the guy, so we thought it'd be funny to name this main character "Mario" after our landlord in Southcenter. And that's actually how Mario got his name.

MR: (Laughs) That's amazing. Did he ever know?

DJ: Yeah, he knows. It's been written in a couple of books.

A little later... [36:00]

MR: Speaking of Pauline, Don, you mentioned Mario, the genesis of that name. I know that some of the other characters in this game were maybe named after people you knew in your real life, back in the day. Can you talk a little about that?

DJ: Yeah, little known fact is that my girlfriend at the time, she was the reason -- through her father's connection to the Far East Video company, was the reason I got offered the consulting job. And so, after we named Mario, Mr. Arakawa thought it'd be really funny to name the heroine -- the female character in the game Pauline, which was actually taken from my girlfriend's name. She eventually became my wife, so effectively, Pauline's named after my ex-wife.

MR: (Laughs) That is so cool.


If you found this article interesting, be sure to check out our History of Mario's Name special!
March 10, 2018
Those crazy folks at www.retrorama.net are currently engaged in a multi-day Mario and Zelda gaming marathon.  Go visit to donate money, win fabulous prizes, donate money, watch gaming escapades, donate money, and see whether the Mario or Zelda games come out on top.

Hurry -- they either die or quit on March 11th.

Link: RetroRama 7 - Mario vs. Zelda
March 8, 2018
Nintendo revealed five new games starring Mario and friends during today's Nintendo Direct. Here's a quick recap:

Nintendo Switch Super Smash Bros. (working title)
The Inklings join the fray in the fifth Super Smash Bros. game, currently scheduled to launch sometime this year.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Switch/3DS)
A re-release of Captain Toad's Wii U game is coming to both the Switch and 3DS, featuring new levels based on locations from Super Mario Odyssey. Both versions are set for release on July 13.

Luigi's Mansion (3DS)
Later this year, Luigi and his trusty Poltergust 3000 will return to the 3DS with this remake of Luigi's spooky adventure on the Nintendo GameCube. New additions include a boss rush mode.

Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story + Bowser Jr.'s Journey (3DS)
A remake of Bowser's Inside Story, originally released on Nintendo DS, will launch on the 3DS next year. "Bowser Jr.'s Journey" is a new mode where you can experience what happens "behind the scenes" of the original adventure.

WarioWare Gold (3DS)
A new entry in the WarioWare series is coming to the 3DS on August 3. Wario and his friends will return with a whopping 300 microgames, which include a mix of old and new content.

Link: Nintendo Direct 3.8.18 (NOA)
January 29, 2018
Tired of the same old Mario music?  Starting now, WTMK is broadcasting nothing but the least played tunes of 2017.  If it was played more than once last year, you won't hear it!  Tune in and see what obscurity you missed!

Link: WTMK: All Mario Radio
January 11, 2018
Today's Nintendo Direct Mini webcast revealed new games and game updates for Mario and friends. Here's a quick recap:

* The Wii U platformer Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will be re-released on the red-hot Nintendo Switch on May 4. This version adds Funky Kong as a playable character.

* Mario and friends are ready to serve up another tennis game, this time on the Switch. Mario Tennis Aces will launch sometime this spring.

* In an upcoming free update to Super Mario Odyssey, Luigi will host a new mode called "Balloon World." You can hide balloons in the various kingdoms and see how fast you can find the balloons hidden by other players around the world. New outfits and snapshot filters will also be included in the update, which will be available in February.

* A new DLC pack coming this spring to Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle will include Donkey Kong and a new world. The price has yet to be annouced.

Link: Nintendo Direct Mini 1.11.2018
June 22, 2017
WTMK Rises from the Grave 12:25:50 AM CT [David]
SO IT'S FINALLY BACK, TO PERFORM FOR YOU
USE THE URL AND YOU'LL HEAR WHAT'S NEW
PUT YOUR HANDS TOGETHER IF YOU WANNA APPLAUD
TMK'S RESIDENT TECHIE SQUAD.

In other words, WTMK is fully back and functional.  The music management system received an update a few months back that seemed to lead to endless snarls and crashes, possibly due to a PHP version incompatibility in the backend.  Thankfully, TMK's resident tech genius got everything working this week.  Thanks to MegaByte, WTMK is back!  All three broadcasts (MP3, Ogg Vorbis, and Opus) are streaming, the cross-fade issues have been fixed, and new audio has been added!

Tune in now to WTMK -- All Mario Radio, (almost) All the Time: http://themushroomkingdom.net/wtmk.shtml.
June 13, 2017
Three new games starring Mario and friends were officially announced during this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California.

Yesterday, Ubisoft and Nintendo showed off Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, a turn-based strategy adventure that will bring the zany Rabbids to the Mushroom Kingdom to team up with Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Yoshi. Kingdom Battle will release exclusively on the Nintendo Switch on August 29.

A Yoshi platforming game for Nintendo Switch, tentatively called "Yoshi for Nintendo Switch," is currently planned for release next year. The developer of Yoshi's latest adventure is Good-Feel, the team behind two other recent Yoshi games: Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U) and Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World (3DS).

A remake of the first "Mario & Luigi" game is coming to Nintendo 3DS this October. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions will feature "Minion Quest: The Search for Bowser," an all-new mode that reveals what happens behind the scenes while the Bros. are saving the Beanbean Kingdom.

Links:
Ubisoft E3 2017 Conference (ubisoft.com)
Nintendo News from E3 2017 (e3.nintendo.com)