Feature: Classic Gaming Typos, Errors and Translations
Posted by Thomas Whitehead
Conglaturations for reading this
Earlier this week there was a great deal of chortling at a minor grammatical error in New Super Mario Bros. 2, with the initial Coin Rush notification being the offending screen; many of us actually missed it in our eagerness to play the mode itself. There's also a bit of a grammatical slip-up in the North American information sheet/manual as well, so wrists will be slapped in the localisation departments of Nintendo.
In any case, it seems only fair to show off the fact that typos, appalling grammar and rather iffy translations were relatively common in the 'good old days'. Many are looked back on with fondness today, though whether gamers of the time would have been as forgiving is hard to say. Either way, the Nintendo Life team trawled its collective memory banks to pick out some well-known or high profile examples to show that, sometimes, text in games can go very, very wrong.
Double Dragon III — Bimmy and Jimmy
Ah yes, Bimmy and Jimmy. Retro gamers had probably spotted this long ago as a rather lazy typo in the opening sequence for Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones, but it became famous in an early video of a certain YouTube celebrity. It's the kind of error made if typing in a hurry and not double checking text properly, which happened relatively often in the 8-bit era.
Ghostbuster's message of "Conglaturation"
Like a number of NES titles, Ghostbusters was tricky to beat, though that was the case on various other platforms as well. It's only natural that if a player defies the odds and actually reaches the end screen they want something worth their while; a cool image, a basic animation or slideshow of screens from the adventure, or whatever could be crammed onto an 8-bit cartridge. What a gamer is unlikely to want is a black screen with the following text.
YOU HAVE COMPLETED
A GREAT GAME .
AND PROOVED THE JUSTICE
OF OUR CULTURE .
NOW GO AND REST OUR
No, that's not a good ending.
"I am Error" in Zelda II
This character in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link is famous for obvious reasons, possessing one of the strangest names in video game history. As you'd expect of any quirk or anomaly in a Zelda game, there's more than one theory about the nature of the, um, error. One theory is that the game's code displayed this text when it failed to generate the correct name due to a flaw in the system, while others argue that it's a deliberate reference to bugs and errors. The latter, presented as a theory on zelda.wikia.com, is that a similar character called Bagu, the translation of bug from Japanese, is the other half of deliberate bug/error references. Who knows, but it's a name that'll be famous for as long as we have video games.
"A Winner is You!" from Pro Wrestling
This is one of the most famous examples of poor grammar from a Japanese to English translation, and has transformed into a popular internet meme that's been referenced a lot in popular culture. Pro Wrestling on NES was a prominent title in its day, and the victory message of A WINNER IS YOU put the cherry on the sundae for gamers in love with this classic wrestling game.
"My scheme for world domination has faild" from Mega Man 6
We had plenty of examples from the Mega Man series, but we've chosen one that perhaps has the biggest helping of irony. The ending to Mega Man 6 has Wily (as Mr X) declare the following after being defeated by the Blue Bomber.
MY SCHEME FOR WORLD
So has your quest to greet your end with class and dignity, Wily.
Ghosts 'n Goblins ending screens
Ghosts 'n Goblins on NES is fondly remembered by some, but is also pretty darn challenging and difficult to beat. Much like Ghostbusters it has an ending with enough shoddy text to make anyone blush, with the notable exception that it does have a couple of nice sprites on screen to make it all a bit better. That doesn't spare it from being ruthlessly exposed by us, though.
THIS STORY IS HAPPY END.
BEING THE WISE AND COURAGEOUR
KNIGHT THAT YOU ARE YOU
FEEL STRONGTH WELLING
IN YOUR BODY.
RETURN TO STARTING POINT.
Thankfully we had the strongth to type that out... er, strength.
Yoshi - "It that really you" in Super Mario 64
On Super NES, Yoshi became a star. His appearance in Super Mario World endeared him to so many that he had his own game in the sequel, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. When Super Mario 64 came along, however, the focus was on Mario and the dinosaur was out of the spotlight. He did make an appearance, however, if you collected 120 stars and got Mario up to the castle roof. Yoshi's appearance wasn't perfect though, as he unfortunately says "Mario!!! It that really you???" This was apparently fixed in the DS re-release years later, but Yoshi had already blown his big moment.
"I feel asleep" from Metal Gear
Metal Gear on NES wasn't the same classic that was released in Japan, but a distinctly iffy remake/re-imagining with a fair share of glitches and rubbish text. Within 30 seconds you come across a guard that says "I feel asleep", which sets the tone for the rest of the game, really.
These are just a few examples, but there are so many more. Don't be surprised if we revisit this in the future, but until then we'd like to see some of your favourite typos, grammatical errors or dodgy translations in the comments below.