The Revolutionaries

The Revolutionaries
The King and the Donkey

Spanner | 4 Apr 2006 12:00
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In good Nintendo fashion, the company once again issued an immortalizing thanks to someone who had served the company well. This time, John Kirby had a popular videogame character named after him: The amorphous Kirby character from their hugely popular (and ongoing) series, so people would always remember the service he had done them in winning that monumental court battle. They also bought him a $30,000 boat christened the Donkey Kong, but that's nowhere near as prestigious as having a videogame character named after you, I'm sure you'll agree.

It wasn't until 1985 that Nintendo filed a counterclaim against Universal Studios, who Judge Sweet subsequently ordered to pay $1.8 million in expenses to the videogame developer. Both appealed the counterclaim a year later, but the previous decision was upheld, most likely to put a lid on the massive, ongoing case once and for all.

Naturally, many of the other companies who had been muscled out of their lucrative Donkey Kong licenses and had their valuable relationship with Nintendo severely shaken (including - and especially - Coleco) followed the David and Goliath example and filed suit against Universal. In Coleco's case, Universal went right back to the original notion it had used to bring Arnold Greenberg to the table with Sid Sheinberg and purchased a large amount of stock in recompense.

Nintendo was finally recognized as a major player in the industry, and one not to be trifled with. They had shown a passionate dedication to deliver innovative new products to the hungry consumer, but had made it quite clear that any business would be done on their terms. Unfortunately for the new power on the block, and despite the felling of a mighty adversary, timing was ultimately against them, and before the legendary court battle of Universal City Studios, Inc. vs. Nintendo Co., Ltd. had even finished, the entire industry had collapsed into a black hole of avarice.

But Nintendo had already proven its mettle in overcoming seemingly hopeless odds, and was not about to let the industry it had strived to conquer disappear on account of the public's refusal to buy games. Digging its heels in and marching headlong into an arctic blizzard of consumer apathy, Nintendo of America set its iron resolve to rebuilding the industry it loved after the fatal market crash of 1984. There are few people capable of facing such overwhelming odds for a third time, but this was a company built on a fearless and unswerving belief in its products, and though rough times were ahead, there was no better collective of dedicated individuals to accept the challenge than those at Nintendo of America.

Spanner has written articles for several publications, including Retro Gamer. He is a self-proclaimed horror junkie, with a deep appreciation for all things Romero.

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