Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Captain N: The Game Master

Go To
From left to right: Duke the Dog, Kevin (a.k.a. Captain N), Princess Lana, Simon Belmont, and Mega Man, with Kid Icarus above. Just so that you'd know.

Captain N: The Game Master is an Animated Series on NBC based on the popular NES games that weren't Super Mario Bros. It is about the story of Kevin Keene, a teenager who loves playing video games so much that one day he and his dog, Duke, are sucked into the TV and they enter a strange dimension called Videoland.

Once there, Kevin learns that he is to fulfill a prophecy as "Captain N", a savior sent to save Videoland from the evil Forces of Chaos, led by the Audrey II-esque Mother Brain (the main villain from Metroid). Joining him are Videoland's sovereign Princess Lana, Mega Man, Kid Icarus, Simon Belmont from Castlevania, and later Game Boy. Kevin/Captain N and the gang would defend Videoland from Mother Brain and her henchmen, who included King Hippo from Punch-Out!! and the Eggplant Wizard from Kid Icarus. Other frequently occurring villains were Dr. Wily of Mega Man fame (who was probably the only semi-competent villain in the entire series), a Large Ham version of Dracula from Castlevania, and a King Kong-like Donkey Kong.


Many of the characters were nothing like their original counterparts. It was also notable for adding Link and Zelda from the The Legend of Zelda cartoon series as supporting cast members following the cancellation of the Super Mario Bros. Super Show. It lasted for three seasons and was Screwed by the Network due to NBC's departure from the Saturday Morning Cartoon genre, and its time slot was replaced by local news after the Saturday morning block was shut down.

For an unofficial pseudo-sequel, see the sprite comic Captain SNES: The Game Masta. See also the live-action web series The New Adventures of Captain S, which pastiches the original with a Sega Genesis theme (and has a Goth Nintendo fan for an antagonist).

    Games featured in Captain N: The Game Master 

This series features examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Simon Belmont gained a few of these for comedic effect. In the episode "I Wish I Was a Wombatman", a short, blonde haired and blue eyed octopus with an hourglass figure fell in love with him the moment he expressed an interest in acting. She gave him a hug, a wink and chased after him so she could kiss him. A heavy set female gorilla also fell for Simon and wanted to smooch in the episode "Queen of the Apes."
  • Adaptation Expansion: The comics released by Valiant Comics were altogether better written and spent quite some time exploring the relationships between the characters instead of the show's simplistic "game world of the week" plotlines. And they actually remembered that Metroid has a heroine, and other characters besides Mother Brain.
  • Adaptation Name Change:
    • Pit from Kid Icarus becomes Kid Icarus. Explainable since the back of the NES box really did call him Kid Icarus, and the showrunners likely did not consult the manual.
    • Princess Lana is based on the goddess Palutena from the same game, but her design is such a departure from Palutena's (even with the little official art that was available at the time), she might as well be a totally new character.
    • While the villains are collectively referred to as the Forces of Chaos in the TV series, they are instead known as the League of Darkness in the comic books.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Simon's not the only Castlevania character to get the shit end of the stick. Here, Alucard starts out on the heroes' side but proves to be a villain, which a complete 180 from his characterization in the games.
    • King Hippo appears as one of Mother Brain's henchmen; in Punch-Out!!, he wasn't as mean as some of Little Mac's other opponents, even offering to take him out to lunch.
    • In the comics, Glass Joe makes a cameo as one of the villainous mooks attacking Mount Olympus in "The Happy Zone". That's quite a step up from the wimpy boxer who never does anything particularly mean in Punch-Out!!
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Simon, to an embarrassing extent. In the games, Simon was so badass that he single-handedly traversed through a demonic hell castle, killed Dracula, then brought him back to life so he could kill him again. In the TV show, Simon is a cowardly blowhard and buffoon with occasional moments of competency, who is constantly outshone by his own magic whip.
    • While Pit in his own game was no powerhouse, he was still an expert marksman and could fire deadly arrows. Here, the only thing that Kid Icarus could do better than Pit was fly without any help.
    • In Punch-Out!!, King Hippo was a behemoth to fight against, but in Captain N, he received this treatment due to politics about throwing punches in a kids cartoon.
  • Adapted Out: The comics couldn't use half the N-team due to legal issues, but this was a blessing in disguise, as it was the far more annoying and less true-to-source-material half.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Simon Belmont wore a pilot's outfit, with goggles and a backpack. Only problem is the Simon Belmont from the Castlevania franchise that this Simon is supposed to be based off is a Vampire Hunter and doesn't dress anything like this.
  • Advertised Extra: Little Mac appears in the first comic "Welcome To Videoland", presented in a way that makes it seem like he'll be a major character along with Kid Icarus and Samus Aran. Unlike other comic-exclusive characters introduced in the same comic (such as Samus or Uranos), this remains his one and only appearance in the series.
  • Agony of the Feet: Simon rips off Donkey Kong's toenail in one episode.
  • All There in the Script: In the episode "Gameboy", Simon and Kevin are attacked by an orange bipedal rhinoceros (who also previously appeared in several season 1 episodes), an orange potbellied dragon with tiny purple wings, and a swarm of weird tentacled one-eyed monsters. None of them are identified by name in the TV show, and you probably would not recognize them based on their appearance. According to concept artwork, these characters are Kraid, Ridley, and Metroids, respectively. For more evidence, storyboards reveal that Ridley and Metroids initially had designs that much more closely matched their original artwork.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Italian version has a different opening theme song.
  • Animation Bump: The first episode is much better animated than the rest of the series.
  • Aroused by Their Voice: In the episode "Mega Trouble for Megaland", Medusa seduces Simon with her sexy voice alone to the point where he is ready to kiss her sight unseen. Once he does see how ugly she is, Simon turns to stone. Medusa effectively pulls off a subversion of Audio Erotica, a "Siren Switch."
  • Art Evolution: For the worse. Character models became vastly simplified and and the animation became poorer in season three. Compare: Season 1 & 2 Mother Brain to Season 3 Mother Brain.
  • Ascended Extra: In Kid Icarus, Eggplant Wizards were merely regular Underworld enemies who could change the player into an eggplant; in Captain N he's one of Mother Brain's henchmen.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Princess Lana, and also the redesigned Princess Zelda in the second season.
  • Benevolent Genie: Pretty much a critique of the newly-developed patch devices.note  Kevin wishes for enhanced skills, and quickly realizes Victory Is Boring. Mega Man wishes for enhanced strength, and nearly knocks down the palace. Princess Lana immediately wishes that "no one had made any wishes", returning things to normal for the moment so they can get on with the plot.
  • Bizarro Universe: had the heroes travel through a mirror to a place where all the heroes were villains. We never see the mirror universe counterparts of the villains, though other things are backwards. For example: a woman doing laundry takes her clean clothes and throws them into a mud puddle to make them dirty.
  • Brainwashed:
    • Kevin in the very final episode. Also has elements of Brainwashed and Crazy about it as although he never directly attacks the heroes, he very well could have at the end and he did act a bit violently when "training" some of the villain's warriors.
    • Simon also has this happen to him twice, one time via Eggplant Wizard and King Hippo.
    • Another episode revolved around a hypnotic ink Mother Brain devised, that did this to anyone who read the words printed with it.
  • Black Sheep: Lana's introverted brother, Prince Lyle, is a boxy kind of guy who lives in the Tetris portion of Videoland. He shows up in one episode, then briefly again in the third season to provide a Deus ex Machina.
  • Body Horror: In one episode Simon has a nightmare where his mighty muscular physique turns to flab, all his pearly white teeth fall out when he tries to smile and then to add insult to injury all his hair falls out, leaving him completely bald. He is quite terrified over this. In the same episode, Lana's great fear is that her beautiful face is replaced with Mother Brain's.
  • Broken Pedestal: In one episode, Kid Icarus gets to meet Wombatman, the star of his favorite show. His disillusionment when he realizes Wombatman is just an actor is painful.
    • Rebuilt Pedestal: Seeing how much Kid Icarus believed in him gets Wombatman to start act like a real hero, and they team up to save their friends. Kid Icarus can say he's the only person who went on a for-real adventure with Wombatman.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Simon is subject to numerous pratfalls and humiliation on a regular basis.
    • Additionally, King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard suffer indignity after indignity, thanks to their own ineptitude, and Mother Brain's treatment of them.
  • Calling Your Attack: Whenever Captain N uses the pause button he'll almost always call out "Pause" or "I'll hit pause!" or some variation.
  • The Cameo: Although Mario oddly never properly appears in the series, he makes a cameo on a poster in Kevin's room in the comic "Welcome to Videoland". In the same panel, Kevin is playing Super Mario Bros. on his NES, with Goomba sprites barely visible on the TV screen.
  • Camp Straight: Simon is very flamboyant, but his heart belongs to Princess Lana.
  • Captain Superhero: As the Game Master, Kevin's title is "Captain N".
  • Casting Gag: Levi Stubbs plays Mother Brain, who sounds and acts exactly like Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors.
  • Carpet-Rolled Corpse: King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard kidnap Princess Lana by rolling her into a rug.
  • Celebrity Paradox: The third and last season is filthy with this kind of thing, with the N Team meeting living facsimiles of Larry Bird, Bo Jackson, and Robin Hood in the worlds of their respective games.
  • Clip Show: "When Mother Brain Rules". A clip show in the purest sense of the term, this episode has no new footage whatsoever, and no framing story to justify the clips. Even stranger, all the voices were missing in the clips, so it was half an hour of voiceless recycled animation with background music (and very occasional out-of-nowhere narration from Simon.) Needless to say, little kids watching it in 1991 were pretty damn confused, and it wasn't included at all when the show was released to DVD.
  • Clockworks Area: Occurs partway through "Once Upon a Time Machine" when one of the time warp portals deposits Kevin and his companions inside Big Ben and they have to run through its mechanisms and jump through holes in the bigger gears to get out of the building.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: By Valiant Comics, as part of the Nintendo Comics System.
  • Context-Sensitive Button: The pause button on Kevin's Power Pad would freeze different people and things depending on the needs of the moment. Similarly, the arrow keys could move just him, move everybody around him, or turn him into a morph ball with no discerning changes to his command.
  • Continuity Nod: In "Having a Ball", Mega Man can be seen dancing with Mega Girl in the background of one scene.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In "The Most Dangerous Game Master", Dr. Wily's android looked identical to Mike Vincent from the neck down before they even knew about him.
  • Crossover: Link and Zelda made four appearances in Season 2, bringing back their respective voice actors.
  • Crossover Villain-in-Chief: Captain N has Mother Brain as the series' primary head villain. This is mostly Played for Laughs, as calling her henchmen — King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard — incompetent would be a gross understatement. It's saying something that the character who's little more than a brain in a jar is a bigger threat than either of her able-bodied underlings.
  • Dances and Balls: Lana's unexplained desire to have one is the background of the episode fittingly titled "Having a Ball." Which ends up being kind of weird since that only ends up giving King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard the chance to sneak in and steal the Triforce while nobody's around, and the bulk of the episode is actually about getting it back from them.
  • Demoted to Dragon: Averted in "The Quest for the Potion of Power." Mother Brain resurrects Ganon so that he will serve her, but he doesn't submit.
  • Demoted to Extra: All the Robot Masters from Mega Man - Cut Man is the only one to have dialogue or extended screen time (for some reason). Ice Man is also mentioned briefly in "Nightmare on Mother Brain's Street."
  • Depending on the Artist: In the TV show, Metroid and Kid Icarus characters bear only a superficial resemblance to their videogame counterparts. With the exception of Mother Brain and Eggplant Wizard (likely due to being the series's main antagonists and therefore major recognizable characters), any Metroid and Kid Icarus characters who appear in the comics are much more faithful to their original designs. For example, compare Kraid, Ridley, and Medusa in the TV show with Kraid, Ridley, and Medusa in the comics.
  • Disappeared Dad: Lana's father, King Charles, is apparently trapped in some kind of alternate dimension. He shows up in one episode.
  • Disintegrator Ray: Kevin's Zapper, in the comics. In the cartoon, anything from a tactical nuke to a mosquito bite.
  • The Dog Bites Back: King Hippo and Eggplant Wizard are prone to do this if Mother Brain slaps them around too much, by turning on her with whatever MacGuffin they were sent to retrieve. Of course, this never sticks, yet for some reason, she continues to keep them around...
  • The Drag-Along: Simon F'ing Belmont. Quite a turnaround from the guy that risked his life against the legions of darkness by himself, eh?
  • Elvish Presley: Melfis, the leader of the Elves in the videogame of Faxanadu appeared in two episodes. He shared some facial features (not to mention the wardrobe) of the singer, but with blue skin. Well, his face was blue. Everything from the neck down was white.
  • Everybody Do the Endless Loop: Kevin and Lana.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Princess Lana is running Videoland in the absence of her father, King Charles, mostly to provide a convenient love interest for Kevin.
  • Evil Former Friend: Mike Vincent in "The Most Dangerous Game Master". The villains didn't know they used to be friends when they created an evil android based on Kevin's memories of him, so Kevin is able to make him do a Heel–Face Turn by reminding him of when they were friends.
  • Excuse Plot: Like maost of the games of the era it was based on, the plot side of things is pretty flimsy. No explanation whatsoever is attempted for how there's a parallel universe inhabited by people and locations identical to the characters and settings of popular video games. Let alone in the last season, where two episodes have the N Team meeting versions of real world pro athletes.
  • Fake Crossover: A few of the episodes were clearly intended to capitalize on the release of licensed NES games, but feature Captain Ersatz versions of the characters featured in those games in order to avoid paying any excessive licensing fees.
    • Wombatman and his girlfriend Nikki first appeared in a throwaway gag in the Season 1 episode "The Most Dangerous Game Master" as obvious parodies of Batman and Vicki Vale, but when Sunsoft's tie-in Batman game based on the Tim Burton movie came out when Season 2 was in production, they suddenly became the focus of a whole episode ("I Wish I Was A Wombatman") no doubt intended to capitalize on the release of the NES Batman game without having to pay the expensive licensing fee that would've required to feature the actual Batman on the show.
    • "Once Upon a Time Machine" is based on the Puss 'n Boots NES video game, but features a version of Pero who differs significantly from Toei's actual mascot.
    • "Misadventures in Robin Hood Woods" is apparently based on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which had a tie-in NES game. The characters are clearly based on general legends about Robin Hood, though, and not the version depicted in the film or its tie-in game.
  • Fantastic Racism: Elves vs. Dwarves in "The Feud of Faxanadu." The N Team even splits down the middle on who deserves their help more.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: "Germ Wars".
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement: One of the weirdest examples ever in "The Big Game". Mega Man wears a helmet when doing extreme sports like his teammates, even though he obviously has on a helmet that he never takes off.
  • Fisher King: Zelda is shown to be a reverse one of these in the episode "Having A Ball," when the theft of the Triforce causes both herself and Hyrule to begin dying.
  • Foot Popping: Samus Aran, of all characters, does this in the comic A King Of Shreds And Patches, when a thirty-year-old Kevin (of a Bad Future) kisses her. While she's in full armor, no less.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Most of the characters from video games, regardless of what happened to their personalities, still had most of the abilities from their sources. Eggplant Wizard (whose reason for existing in Kid Icarus was to turn you into an eggplant) only ever turns someone into an eggplant once, and he has to call on a genie to do it. (He uses magic based around all other forms of fruits and vegetables throughout the series, but for some reason, none of those are ever eggplants.)
  • Furry Confusion: Seen in "Once Upon a Time Machine." Its guest cast is pretty much entirely anthropomorphic or sapient animals, but there are a few non-sapient ones too nobody bats an eye over. Also Pero reveals part of the reason the guest villain (an anthropomorphic pig) hates his guts so much is Pero loves bacon burgers...
  • Genre Savvy:
    • One of Kevin's greatest advantages was that he had played all of these games and knew all of the shortcuts, enemy weaknesses and strategies. Even if it's something he couldn't possibly know from playing NES games, like where warp zones between disparate games are.
    • Kevin even seems to know everything about games released after he entered Video Land. This article discusses the changes in-depth (mostly for the featured Mega Man characters) and suggests that the creators had poor reference material. Still...
    • One of Mother Brain's early plans was to research the real world Kevin and find a game he wasn't good at, thus removing Captain N's Genre Savvy. She finds that Kevin can't beat The Adventures of Bayou Billy, and sends him to its Videoland counterpart, Bayou Land. It almost worked, until Bayou Billy showed up.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: From 3x03 "Return to Castlevania":
    Simon Belmont: We never should've trusted that son of a count!
  • Godlike Gamer: As the name suggests, this is about the NES gamer Kevin Keene, who's warped into a NES-fantasy world where he becomes The Chosen One as told by prophecies. Knowing about these games, Kevin soon known as Captain N, uses his knowledge and gaming skills to become The Ace and The Hero who'll free Videoland from Mother Brain. He's armed with a NES controller that can hack the world and a Zapper as his main weapon against pixel creatures.
  • Gun Twirling: A maddening example for viewers, due to the real Zapper's lack of trigger guard.
  • Have a Gay Old Time:
    • Ganon: "Ahhh, you brought your friends for my coming out party!"
    • One Episode had King Hippo threatening to "toss" Eggplant Wizard's "salad".
  • Hijacked by Ganon: In Quest for the Potion of Power, Mother Brain resurrects the Trope Namer thinking she could control him. It doesn't take and he ends up being the main villain for the rest of the episode.
    Mother Brain: You're supposed to work for me!
    Ganon: Ganon works for NO ONE!
  • I Choose to Stay: In the first episode, Kevin is a allowed to go home, but stays after realizing he would go back to a boring life with a nagging mother.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Kevin says things to this effect a lot. With varying degrees of accuracy.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Eggplant Wizard and King Hippo suck at their jobs, constantly screwing up. At one point Mother Brain even fires them.
  • Informed Ability: The King sends GameBoy to join the team because he believes he will one day be Videoland's greatest hero, but GameBoy never does anything to make you think the King could be right.
  • In Name Only: Almost none of the characters bear any resemblance to their video game counterparts. There are also a lot of glaring inaccuracies about the games in question. Although to be fair, the people making this show were faced with challenges like coming up with a way to turn Tetris into a setting for the characters to interact with in any meaningful way.
  • Jerkass: Link tended to be portrayed this way. As this was the same general team who had worked on the other Zelda cartoon that portrayed him this way, despite being different versions of the character and not an actual crossover, this is no surprise. In his defense, a lot of his Jerkass tendencies were prompted by jealousy. Once he knew Kevin wasn't a serious rival for Zelda's affections, he calmed down a lot.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • In the comics Samus Aran almost goes ahead with some pretty questionable stuff to win Captain N's affections. In one issue where she and Princess Lana are in jail, she almost leaves Lana there when escaping. In another she ends up in the Bad Future and rejoices that Lana is gone and she can have Kevin all to herself, despite the fact that, you know, the bad guys have taken over every world except the garbage planet where Kevin now lives, and by not going back in time and changing one thing she's screwing over everyone in Videoland. She does go back in the end.
    • Simon also has his moments where, despite a tendency to wish he had Captain N's spotlight, he clearly thinks of Kevin as a hero and a friend.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Kid Icarus.
  • Large Ham:
    • Mother Brain, who was even given a face to facilitate this.
    • Dracula from Castlevania.
    • Simon Belmont fulfills this for the heroes.
  • Larynx Dissonance: Mother Brain's voice actor is Levi Stubbs, a man.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Lana explains at the end of "The Big Game" that when Kevin's friends were sent back to Earth they'd have no memory of Videoland, unfortunately the same applies to Kevin if he ever leaves Videoland.
  • Love Triangle: Kevin and Simon are both interested in Lana. In the comic both Lana and Samus are after Kevin.
  • Magic Countdown: Mega Man and Kid Icarus have 30 seconds to shoot Simon with the antidote to the love arrow; it takes them 77 seconds to do so.
  • Magic Mirror: Mother Brain has one that she sometimes asks for a lead on a new scheme, although it tends to disrespect her as much as anyone else.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: What other show exists where you can expect characters from Castlevania, Mega Man, Punch-Out!!, Kid Icarus, Metroid, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Dragon Quest, The Adventures of Bayou Billy, Faxanadu, Final Fantasy I, and Wizards and Warriors to show up at one point or another? It's just too bad most of them are In Name Only.
  • Medium Awareness: A rare, serious version of the trope which avoids crossing the fourth wall. In "Metroid Sweet Metroid", Kevin believes he's found a warp that will take him home. However, the show's opening depicts him in live-action before entering videoland to begin with. Kevin realizes he's been fooled because he's still an animated cartoon.
  • Mega-Microbes: When Viroid threatens to kill Kevin from the inside the N Team shrinks down to confront him.
  • Merchandise-Driven:
    • Somehow, Captain N and the N-Team always seemed to end up in the world of the hot new game that Nintendo or one of its licensees was trying to promote. Which is probably the only reason stuff like Bayou Billy ever made it on the show.
    • This was likely the main reason, if not the only reason, for Game Boy being shoehorned into the team.
  • Money Spider: Enemies sometimes turn into money, treasure and other power-ups when they die, which is as expected with this being the world of video games.
  • More Than Mind Control: Astos, the antagonist of The Fractured Fantasy of Captain N, was clearly not only using mind control to take control of Kevin, but also his envy of the Prince of Final Fantasyland's luxurious lifestyle. Kevin even says "I learned my lesson" once he returns to normal.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: When Link and Zelda arrive at the palace in "Having a Ball", they're announced as "Her Royal Highness the Princess Zelda of Hyrule and... uh... Link." Somewhat justified since Link doesn't have an official title.
  • Mythology Gag: This isn't the first DIC series to feature a 60s soul singer in its cast.note 
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: In one episode, the Eggplant Wizard (disguised as a TV repairman) even used a mushroom to transform into a giant escape pod so he and King Hippo (also disguised) can escape from the Palace of Power after figuring out Kevin's greatest fear.
  • Nintendo Hard: Referenced on the show, as even though Kevin is the ultimate gamer and he knows every secret and strategy to nearly every NES game ever made, even he can't get very far in The Adventures of Bayou Billy (which really lived up to the "hard" part of the trope).
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Duke the dog and later Game Boy.
  • Off-Model: Not that the series' animation quality was good per se, but there are plenty of notable examples. Including the entirety of "How's Bayou" and the aforementioned change in art style in season three. One could even make a Drinking Game out of how many times Lana's pauldrons were miscolored.
  • Original Generation:
    • Lana isn't from any game, although she is loosely based on Palutena from Kid Icarus.
    • Mega Man was given a female counterpart — not Roll as you might expect, but the pink-sporting Mega Girl.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: Mega Man in the episode "Happy Birthday, Megaman", since his third birthday (or "turned-on" day) reminds him that he's different from humans. By the end of the episode, he actually becomes alive, and it's revealed that Mega Girl also passed the test to access the Warp of Life. This is never mentioned again.
  • Plot-Driven Breakdown: At pretty much any point Kevin could shoot and kill Mother Brain and thus end her reign of terror, expect his blaster or his controller to run out of power and render him helpless. It didn't happen that often, but the plot reasons are transparent, especially since how much he used it before it "ran out" varied from episode to episode.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Lana's outfit.
  • Princesses Rule: Princess Lana is the only ruler in Videoland. Her father is still alive, he's just trapped in another dimension.
  • Product Placement: The entire freaking show is this. The Power Glove and the Game Boy being the most blatant and shameless. And any of the games. Although actually, the NES itself is the most shameless.
  • Raw Eggs Make You Stronger: "Videolympics" has a scene during a Training Montage where Kevin drinks a glass of several raw eggs, much to the disgust of his teammates. A regular contributor to The Annotated Series mocks this in a sing-along bonus video.
    Don't drink eggs! / They're high in cholesterol / They'll kill you dead!
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: In the episode based on Paperboy.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Considering the spotty research the show's known for it might well be coincidence, but one episode reveals that the one game even Captain N couldn't beat was The Adventures of Bayou Billy, which as any NES fan will tell you is one of the hardest and cheapest games on a system notorious for such difficulty.
  • Redemption Equals Death: The Mike Vincent android at the end of "The Most Dangerous Game Master".
  • Refusal of the Call: Well, Kevin tries, anyway, but The Call cuts him off pretty fast. Especially when returning home means taking out the garbage, horror of horrors!
  • The Rival:
    • Link, as he was perhaps the only video game character who could be considered an equal to Kevin, although he and Kevin always worked together towards a common goal.
    • Mike Vincent is this to Kevin in the real world, though Mother Brain mistakes him for an enemy when she makes an android based on Kevin's memories of him. Kevin eventually convinces the Mike-bot that they're really just rivals, and used to even be friends, which leads to the Mike-bot making a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Simon of course considers himself this for Kevin, although his actual ability to measure up to the Game Master is minimal.
  • RPG Episode:
    • One of the last episodes involves the team visiting the world of Final Fantasy, where they fight Astos.
    • In an earlier episode they travel to the world of Dragon Warrior.
  • Rule of Funny: The reasoning behind making bad-ass vampire killer Simon Belmont into a cowardly ego-maniacal doofus, among other changes.
  • Running Gag: Mother Brain's reflection blowing her a raspberry. In later episodes, doubles as a Continuity Nod.
  • Samus Is a Girl: When the N Team first meets Samus in the comic, they're surprised when she takes off her helmet (including Lana, who you might expect would know better). And Kevin, who if he's so great at games, would know "he" is a she, but she is definitely not a changeling. Although it's possible he was reacting instead to how hot she is in person.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • The series is never consistent on whether the Art Shift between 2D and 3D is visible to the characters. In "The Most Dangerous Game Master" a flashback to the real world is 2D, yet in "Metroid Sweet Metroid" Kevin realizes he's not in the real world because it's 2D. note 
  • Shout-Out:
    • The show is basically a goofy remake of TRON with Nintendo characters. Mother Brain is essentially a comically goofy version of the Master Control Program, which is what you would expect from a villain that's a giant face inside of a computer world.
    • Among others in the series, there's a subtle one to Raiders of the Lost Ark in "Quest for the Potion of Power" during the "Can You Feel the Heat?" montage. The heroes face a Goriya who twirls his boomerang in his hands, and Kevin shoots both it and him with his Zapper.
  • Show Within a Show: Wombatman, a send-up of the Batman (1966) TV Show. As we find out in a later episode, Wombatman is played by a furry version of Adam West.
  • Story-Breaker Power: Kevin can stop time and gains super speed with his Power Pad. Of course he tends to forget about his powers most of the time.
    • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: Although how much power he has varies on the episode, Kevin is quick to point out that his Pause button drains his power rapidly, so even a few seconds of pause, runs him pretty dry.
  • Subverted Suspicion Aesop: A very abrupt one (due to the short run time) in "Return to Castlevania." Alucard is the Count's son, wait he's saving Kevin and Simon from the Count, oh wait never mind he's not. Keep in mind this happens over the span of two scenes.
  • Summon Everyman Hero: In the first episode the Ultimate Warp Zone summons perfectly average Kevin Keene to save Videoland using his skill at video games.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Mother Brain's "Metroid Mirror" apparently allows her to see anything the writers needed her to.
  • Team Prima Donna: Simon.
  • Terrible Trio: King Hippo and the Eggplant Wizard, with Mother Brain as the "boss" figure.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After a lot of bickering and problems from their own show, Link finally gets a kiss from Zelda. He and Zelda also seem to be on much warmer terms.
  • Title Drop:
    • Oddly enough, the episode title in question, "Nightmare on Mother Brain's Street", is used in a line spoken by Kevin in an earlier episode.
    • "Happy Birthday, Megaman" has this spoken by the N-Team at the beginning of the episode, and ends with the Warp of Life saying it as well.
  • Totally Radical: Kevin's dialogue is embarrassingly littered with words like this. Also, Kevin and Lana trying to dance in '80s dance moves is particularly bad since they just look like they're having muscle spasms. In spades and parodied (to an extent) in a later episode.
    Game Boy: "Mondonose does not compute, please re-enter data."
    Mega Man: "Looks like Kevin will have to teach you Californish, Game Boy."
  • Trapped in TV Land: Well, Videoland. Actually, Kevin is free to go home any time he wants, except he'd lose all his memories of Videoland in the process. As no time will have passed in the real world once he returns, he chooses to stay until the Big Bad is defeated. Narnia for gamers!
  • Training Montage: In (where else?) Videolympics. Even ends with them running up a big staircase.
  • Trash of the Titans: It's not really visible in the most obvious place (the live-action intro), but a few episodes say Kevin has more than a small problem keeping his room clean.
  • Trick Arrow: Kid Icarus had an arrow for everything.
    • "That's my cow arrow."
    • "Darn-icus, I've been trying to invent a pepperoni pizza arrow all day!"...
    • Though he didn't have an antidote to the love arrows right away (which you think he would have had).
  • Valley Girl: Stacey from the Season 2 episode "the Big Game" is, like, totally, this trope.
  • Verbal Tic: Mega Man and Kid Icarus. Mega adds mega- to the beginning of a lot of words, while Kid Icarus adds -icus to the ends of words.
  • Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: Mother Brain may not be as dangerous as her Metroid counterpart, but she is treated as a genuine threat by the characters. Her minions, Eggplant Wizard and King Hippo however, are total failures whose antics provide most of the show's slapstick humour. Mother Brain both verbally and physically abuses the pair constantly.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Mega Man has a very raspy voice that sounds more like it belongs to a lifetime chain smoker rather than a child. It's probably meant to be reminiscent of early speech synthesizers, but it's really not.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Naturally, this being the kind of show that it is, some episodes will reference the plot of a single game wholesale; for example "Mega Trouble in Mega-Land" largely references the plot of Mega Man, "Quest For The Potion of Power" references Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, etc. Other episodes, while taking place in the world of a particular game, don't necessarily have much to do with the plot of the game in question. Like "Invasion of the Paper Pedalers," which is based on Paperboy but is about Mother Brain hypnotizing the neighborhood with magic ink in their newspapers.
  • You Don't Look Like You:
    • A frequent complaint for Mega Man, Kid Icarus and especially Simon (who currently takes up the page image). One-shot characters (like Pero from "Once Upon a Time Machine") can also fall into this.
    • King Hippo having blue skin would have been forgivable if they didn't show Kevin fighting him in Punchout during the intro.
    • Speaking of Mega Man, the Robot Masters get hit with this hard when they appear, especially Cut Man and the Robot Masters from Mega Man 2.
    • One of the most drastic examples is the series' version of Kraid who looks like this. He hardly bears any resemblance to his original NES appearance. Note that this only applies to his appearance in the TV show; in the comics, he looks just like his original manual artwork.
    • The entire Robin Hood episode in the last season. It was seemingly inspired by the game based on Prince Of Thieves that came out around the time, but they clearly couldn't license that game and instead the episode is a mix of general legends about the character note  and a generic idea of what a Robin Hood game might be like.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: