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Following the failure of Radar Scope in North America, Nintendo's then-president, Hiroshi Yamauchi, requested Miyamoto's aid in converting unsold Radar Scope units into something that would sell well. Miyamoto concieved the concept of a love triangle and decided to make a game based on the Popeye character. He, however, was denied the rights for the Popeye franchise, so he decided to come up with a new idea using his own characters.

For use in his arcade game Donkey Kong, he created the character of Jumpman, who previously went under other names, such as Mr. Video, and originally, "Ossan" (the Japanese term for middle-aged man). This character was give red overalls and a blue shirt in order to make the arms more visible as well as a cap and moustache, as hair and a mouth were impossible to animate on the arcade system. It is said that during the development for Donkey Kong Jr., the Jumpman character was renamed to Mario when an employee at Nintendo of America's office pointed out the similar physical appearences between Jumpman and Nintendo's Italian landlord, Mario Segale.

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