Friday, October 19, 2007
Classic Nintendo Game Secrets
Many are familiar with the official story behind this classic arcade game’s title—supposedly, designer Shigeru Miyamoto was looking for the English equivalent of “stubborn ape.” But hardcore Nintendo devotees know that the phrase in question was originally “white man’s penis.” Miyamoto originally designed the game as a masturbation aid, and only put a woman in the panties at the top of the screen under pressure from senior executives. The giant ape and tiny, tiny plumber were there from the start.
The Legend of Zelda
The seminal action-R.P.G. series débuted in Japan and soon became an enduring global success. The U.S. version introduced an actual character named “Princess Zelda,” who hero Link set out to rescue from the evil Ganon’s dungeon. The Japanese original was more psychological in tone, with Link discovering his own transsexuality after murdering his father in their tiny Tokyo apartment.
The original version takes place entirely inside a salaryman’s digestive tract, with a treacherous journey through the impacted colon leading up to the final battle against the mutant Hemroids. In the West, a hastily tacked-on science-fiction theme altered the entire flavor of the game. The map was turned completely upside down to justify a climactic encounter with the awkwardly-renamed “Mother Brain,” and the male hero was given a sex change and named “Samus,” rather than the original “Sam Ass.”
Super Mario Bros.
This classic platformer survived the journey overseas more-or-less intact, with two major alterations. First, Mario’s mushrooms originally conferred mellowness and psychedelic hallucinations, rather than doubling his height and allowing him to blow fireballs out of his nose. Second, Sha Na Na star Bowzer (then enjoying a huge second career in Japan) was replaced by a green fire-breathing lizard/turtle creature, although the character’s name was not changed.
This 8-bit, 2-D progenitor of the popular military action series was known as Leather Queer overseas. Despite obvious graphical alterations, gameplay remained intact in the U.S., and vestiges of the original concept are still evident in such titles as Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.
This NES-era franchise has yet to resurface on later consoles, perhaps because Internet-savvy fans now insist Nintendo release the title under its original Japanese moniker: Kid Dickless.
Originally titled Demon Castle Dracula, the Eastern version cast the player as the demonic Count himself, impaling infants, virgins, and Christians by the bucketload with his long, whip-like barbed-tentacle penis. But when this seminal horror platformer reached our shores, it featured a traditional hero and an ultimate battle against Count Dracula, rather than Pope John Paul II.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
In the Japanese version of this Game Boy title, Link’s awakening takes place in Yaoi Village, at the hands of an older boy who teaches him an entirely new form of swordplay. The American release replaced the village with an expanse of empty field, and made the critical “Clenching Technique” available on a note tacked to Ganon’s refrigerator.
A classic of elegant simplicity, this Russian title became a worldwide phenomenon. Few have seen the localized Japanese version, which replaced the falling blocks with fluffy kittens, mutant eggplant zombies, and irritatingly horny schoolgirls.
Super Smash Bros.
In Japan, this comical 3-D brawler was sponsored by a Sochu distillery and known as Super Smashed Brothers. The game was far more serious in tone, with bouts motivated by alcohol and dark, painful family secrets. The character lineup was also different in the West, with Kirby stepping in for Mario and Luigi’s abusive stepfather.
Dale Dobson writes, animates, and acts in the metropolitan Detroit area, and occasionally gets around to updating DaleDobson.com