In an alternate dimension called Videoland, populated by worlds and characters originating from the Nintendo games that were popular at the time the cartoon series was made, an ancient prophecy foretold of a savior who would deliver Videoland from the forces of evil that threatened to overtake it. Back on Earth, teenager Kevin Keene’s passion for video games (and by association his knowledge of the games) made him an ideal candidate to fulfill the prophecy’s role as savior. One day while playing a video game, Kevin and his dog Duke were pulled through a warp zone originating from the TV set in his bedroom and sucked into Videoland. What started out as a live-action Kevin literally turned into a cartoon character once he entered the new world.
In Videoland, Kevin found himself equipped with a Zapper (electronic gaming gun) and a Nintendo-styled control pad (attached where his belt buckle would be) that he could use to execute video game type abilities (such as pausing the action or executing an unnaturally high jump) as long as the power of the controller didn’t run down, which it sometimes did. He quickly teamed up with a new group of friends who called him Captain N (recognizing him as the one the prophecy foretold). Princess Lana ruled Videoland in place of her father who had been banished to the Mirror. In her service was the short but powerful robot Mega Man (from his own self-titled game), the handsome but vain Simon Belmont (from Castlevania), and the arrow shooting, cherub-like Kid Icarus (also from a self-titled game). At the beginning of the second season the group was joined by Game Boy, a human-sized supercomputer shaped like the Nintendo product of the same name.
Together, the “N Team” fought to save Videoland from an evil, giant brain in a jar called Mother Brain (chief baddie from Nintendo’s Metroid) and her lackeys, the thuggish King Hippo (from Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!), an inept vegetable called Eggplant Wizard (from Kid Icarus) and the mad scientist Doctor Wily (from Mega Man).
Portals called “warp zones” allowed the denizens of Videoland to travel instantly between different video game worlds within Videoland. Using warp zones meant that N Team could quickly and easily travel from Princess Lana’s residence, the Palace of Power, to wherever they were needed. The only problem with warp zones was that each led to only one location, and if the traveler was unfamiliar with a warp zone he couldn’t know where he would end up.
The series premiered in 1989 as part of NBC’s Saturday morning lineup. In its second season the show was packaged with episodes of Super Mario Brothers to form the 60-minute Captain N and the Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3. The following season the packaged show was reduced to 30 minutes and re-titled Captain N and the New Super Mario World. The shortened time slot meant that individual stories were reduced from 22 minutes to 11 minutes in length.