Wonderland - Behind the Scenes
Interview with the Chomper
MS: Chomper, why don’t you tell us how you got started in the industry?
Chomper: Well, I got my first starring role in 1981. The game was “Jawbreaker”, one of the many cheap Pac Man clones of the time. It wasn’t a great game, but a good opportunity to get some experience. A lot of video game actors got their first break on this kind of direct-to-bargain-bin title.
MS: It definitely did get you noticed. You were cast in two seminal games of 1982, starting with “Donkey Kong Jr”. How did that come about?
Chomper: Actually, my “Jawbreaker” performance had little to do with it. I had taken a vacation in Japan, and just happened to stop in at the Nintendo studios when Shigeru Miyamoto was casting for a Donkey Kong sequel. He was looking for someone to fill the role of “Snapjaw”. He took one look at me and signed me on the spot. I guess I really looked the part!
MS: Tell our readers about your other 1982 game appearance - I’m sure few of them know this little piece of video game history.
Chomper: Well, David Crane was working on “Pitfall!” for Activision that year, and needed crocodiles for the jungle pond scene. But one set of crocodiles reneged on their contracts and went to work on Taito’s “Jungle Hunt” instead. Another group couldn’t get insurance to work on the set. David was in a bit of a pickle, when my agent pointed out that only the heads of the crocodiles would be visible in the final game. She suggested that I could sit on a platform in the centre of the lake, and from a distance no-one would be able to tell the difference between me and a crocodile’s head.
MS: This wasn’t the last time that you appeared in disguise for a video game role, right?
Chomper: No, no - Myamoto wanted me back in later Mario games, as “Chain Chomp”. Those games are a lot of fun to do, but my oh my, I won’t miss spending three hours every morning in the make-up room getting a giant black latex suit fitted on me. I still enjoy the work though - I just finished my part in "Super Mario Galaxy" earlier this year.
MS: And now you’re also a regular in the Wonderland game series. How did that come about?
Chomper: Well, I had a small role in Chuck Sommerville’s “Chip’s Challenge”, so I had some experience in a similar role. When the call went out for new characters in “Return To Wonderland”, I showed up at the Midnight Synergy studio... and here I am! So far, I’m also the only secondary character who returned to the game series for “Wonderland Adventures”, although I’m sure some of my other friends will join me in future adventures.
MS: Chomper, thank you very much for your time. We all look forward to being chased by you many more times.