The Game: As the clownlike elfin dweller of a magic garden, you must avoid or do away with a bunch of nasty critters who are after you, while gobbling up as much yummy fruit as you can. (Taito [under license from Universal], 1982)
It was also one of the earliest entries from Universal, a company – unrelated to the Hollywood studio of the same name – whose business model appealed to arcade owners, but became a bugbear for competing arcade game manufacturers. Though Mr. Do! was sold as a standalone cabinet licensed through Taito, Universal’s primary product line was “kit games” – a kit with a new circuit board, marquee and cabinet artwork that could transform any cabinet with similar controls into Universal’s latest offering.
Thus, the writing was on the wall for arcade manufacturers: sure, arcade operators might buy their games, but if they underperformed, they’d wind up becoming a new shell for something like Mr. Do!.
For its relative obscurity next to such entities as Donkey Kong or Pac-Man, Mr. Do! had to be one of the most franchised games of its time. But the subsequent games in the series weren’t just redresses of the original: the first sequel, Mr. Do’s Castle, was incredibly fun, and much better than Mr. Do! itself. Mr. Do Run Run! was a great deal of fun, introducing some 3-D elements to the game, and Mr. Do’s Wild Ride – a game in which you must guide Mr. Do around a roller coaster track while avoiding the oncoming roller coaster cars – had almost nothing to to with the previous games.