As seen in: Jumpman (Atari 400/800)
Distinguishing feature: Jumping ability, Y chromosome.
Strengths: All that his name implies.
Weaknesses: His spastic running animation indicates someone in dire need of a bathroom break.

Profile by Bob Mackey? | January 22, 2011

This is an article about Jumpman.

“Oh, you mean Mario.”

No, I mean Jumpman.

“But as a purveyor of useless knowledge, I must inform you that Mario was originally named ‘Jumpman’ in his 1980 Donkey Kong debut!”

Yes, but there’s also a Jumpman who exists independently of Mario.

“But I—”

Jumpman can mean two things! Why shouldn’t it!?

Such are the problems when talking about Jumpman. In fact, there’s so little to the character that his coincidental connection to Donkey Kong nearly defines him. After all, what else can you say? He’s a man. He jumps. Sometimes over things, sometimes into things. Though Jumpman does call forth memories of a simpler time when a game could be marketed around a character with such an achievable skill set. Take a look at your modern action game cover art and you’ll see a hero weighed down with an arsenal heftier than the protagonists of most early '90s Image comic books. Hop in your nearest time machine, cruise back to 1983, and check out the image that graces Jumpman’s box: Some goofy Bruce Jenner-looking dude with rocket boots that are only implied in the game itself. And yet it’s easy to picture some computer nerd of the era getting excited based on this premise alone.

Ah, Jumpman. You remind us of how easily we were once amused. But mostly, you’ll be remembered for how you’re not really Mario.

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