“How are you gentlemen!!”
Back in the good ole days I was a video game addict. I know. I know. It’s shocking right?
Growing up, I always thought I needed to improve my reading level because the dialog in the games I played just never made any sense to me. My child brain thought, “Hey dummy you need to learn some more words!” Turns out, I over-thought the problem.
Most of the games that were sent over to US markets for Nintendo, and later, some of the Super Nintendo and Genesis video game consoles from Japan were translated by chimpanzees with Japanese to English dictionaries.
OK… I’m exaggerating a tiny bit. Chimps would have done a better job.
The epic failure of these translations was embodied and immortalized by the flash video, “All Your Base Are Belong to Use” sometime around 2001. This pre YouTube viral video spread through the geek community like the Black Death spread through 14th century Europe.
Basically the video took the opening scene dialog from an abysmally translated game called Zero Wing, and overdubbed a voices and an extremely catchy techno beat (and that’s coming from a guy who can’t stand techno). Then they added a bunch of photoshopped images that had lines from the video added into the pictures. Many of the references are dated at this point, but the video still makes me chuckle.
Just for reference, CATS is the villain and ZIG is the hero.
Here is the original opening sequence from Zero Wing:
All Your Base even made it to the big time! It was featured with poor research on a local Fox News station:
Must have been a slow news day.
Sadly, video games companies started to translate their games properly in the mid nineties. I actually miss those crappy translations.