In the meanwhile, NOA needed to figure out a way to cut shipping time. NOA looked for ways to ship the chips over to America as soon as possible. New York was a terrible location, as it would add weeks, even months for shipment (Sheff, 1993: 105). Arakawa researched the shortest distances from Japan to America and figured that the distance from Osaka Harbor to Seattle was only a 9-day trip by boat. With experience Arakawa would realize that “as more ports and ships carried containers, the benefits of being a container shipper or port grew,” (Taggart, 1999) especially when ordering mass quantities like NOA would. Furthermore, Seattle was hardly exploited with a bubbling population of 2 million people and had affordable real estate (Sheff, 1993: 105). NOA 10
immediately relocated to Seattle and rented a large warehouse. The NOA headquarters would later be placed in Redmond, Washington. Once NOA organized their new warehouse in Seattle, they anxiously awaited their savior. Arakawa was anxious to see what the apprentice, Miyamoto had created. The employees plugged the game chip into an arcade frame to find the game Donkey Kong . They cursed and proclaimed their certain doom. How, they wondered, could their savior be an oversized ape? They were certain that the angry ape was not the savior they needed. NOA tested units of Miyamoto’s ape games in local bars anyway. The results were surprising. The Donkey Kong arcade games were filled with quarters, and they easily sold all two thousand units. Suddenly, there was a surge of demand for Donkey Kong games and Arakawa had to increase his staff to 125 employees to make up to 250 machines a day (Sheff, 1993: 111). NOA was no longer in threat of bankruptcy, as business was booming. Miyamoto’s angry ape had saved NOA after all. Donkey Kong would only trail behind NAMCO’s Pac Man in popularity. The storyline was fresh and characters were comical. Miyamoto Shigeru, who had no experience making video games, ignored his initial assignment of improving the failed game, Radarscope , and concentrated of his new game, Donkey Kong. Instead of creating a typical shoot-them-down game, Shigeru focused on creating something fun. Shigeru was inspired by the story of Beauty and the Beast and included a simple yet amusing storyline to drive the game. The giant ape, Donkey Kong, was angry at Jumpman (later renamed Super Mario in other games) for treating him poorly, so he kidnapped Jumpman’s girlfriend Pauline. Mario, of course, has to rescue his girlfriend from the 11
enraged ape. Donkey Kong sold well in both Japan and the United States with sales in the latter country reaching over 65,000 units, more than the popular Street Fighter II machine ever did (Nintendo Land, 2004). Yamauchi recognized Miyamoto’s brilliance of incorporating an ever-important storyline. Creative, fresh, and fun games were the future of the video game industry as Robert Reich would predict in 1991. Miyamoto was soon promoted to make games for the home video game system.
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