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The Michael Jackson Sprite is the 16-bit 2D character modeled after the late entertainer Michael Jackson from the three unrelated videogames that were based on his 1988 film Moonwalker. On YouTube, the sprite is often found in animated dance videos or remixes featuring fight scenes from other 8-bit games.
Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker refers to a Sega Genesis console game, arcade game and PC game with the same storyline but different methods of gameplay. Each game reflects the overarching themes found in the movie Moonwalker and features Jackson as the main protagonist who attempts to use music and dance moves to rescue kidnapped children from the evil “Mr. Big.”
Three images of Michael Jackson’s character sprite were shared online as early as April 2002 on the Game Sprite Archive, but the first video featuring the sprites didn’t appear until March 30th, 2003, when a flash animation titled “Michael Jackson Vs. Mario”  was uploaded to Newgrounds by user Blackerout. As of August 2012, this animation has less than 300,000 views and has not been uploaded to YouTube.
The sprites were sought out again in July 2005, when a user on the Zelda World forum asked for the files to use in a banner image for his or her signature. The next year, the sprites were shared on the Newgrounds message board. They have also been archived on the NES/SNES Sprites website. In May 2008, YouTuber FierceDeityXeroX uploaded a Fake Pokemon Battle video utilizing the Moonwalker sprite. As of August 2012, this video has gained more than 14.2 million views.
As of August 2012, there are approximately 1390 results on YouTube for “Michael Jackson sprite.”
The sprite art of Michael Jackson has been also adapted into a playable character in the 2D fighting game engine M.U.G.E.N. as early as in October 2007. The character only has five moves, including dances to Jackson’s hit songs “Thriller” and “Beat It.” On YouTube, there are approximately 900 video results for “Michael Jackson MUGEN.”