10 CENSORED Moments In Nintendo Games
VOICE OVER: Ty Richardson
WRITTEN BY: Ty Richardson
Nintendo has been quick to censor anything it deems inappropriate in its games. For this list, we'll be looking at instances where Nintendo has removed or altered certain non-family friendly aspects in its games. Do note that we're looking at first-party Nintendo games only. Our countdown includes Wrinkled & Reckless from the “Pokemon” series (1996-), Bizzare Anatomy from “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” (1998), Escapism At Its Finest from “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” (2020), Photoshopped Fabric from “Fire Emblem Awakening” (2013), and more!
Script written by Ty Richardson
Welcome to MojoPlays, and today, we're taking a look at 10 Censored Moments in Nintendo Games! Do note that we're looking at first-party Nintendo games only. So, don't expect to hear about the SNES version of "Mortal Kombat" for the billionth time. Did any of these censors catch you off guard? Let us know down in the comments.
“The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” (1998)
The "Legend of Zelda" games haven't been struck by too much censorship in modern times, but of them all, "Ocarina of Time" was the most controversial. In addition to the inclusion of religious chants used for the Fire Temple's music, "Ocarina of Time" saw Ganon's death altered in future iterations. The original game shows him coughing up blood during his death. Version 1.2 prints altered the color of his blood to green, making the scene less graphic. No reason has been given as to why this change was made, yet we can safely assume some parents weren't too happy about such a visual death being shown in their children's game.
Potatoes Are Bad For You
"Punch-Out" shares a history with a few other NES games like "Ice Climber" as being the earliest examples of Nintendo trying to maintain a family-friendly image. Longtime fans will remember a Russian boxer named Soda Popinski, who had an affinity for guzzling soda before, during, and after matches. Originally, this character was to be named Vodka Drunkenski, and had already appeared under the alias in the arcade version of "Super Punch-Out!!" Alas, Nintendo does not condone the depiction of alcohol in their games. Even so, some of Soda's lines subtly reference alcohol regardless of how many fizzy bottles he pops open.
Escapism At Its Finest
“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” (2020)
Interestingly enough, "New Horizons" was not subjected to much, if any censorship at launch. It truly was an island of paradise. That didn't stop reality from barging onto shores. As the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic ramped up, so too did the political climate as political candidates in countries like Japan and the United States attempted to invade "Animal Crossing" with their own campaigns. Nintendo did not take a liking to this and promptly reminded the public about its Terms of Service, which stated the prohibition of political advocacy in their games. On top of that, "New Horizons" would get an update that banned terms related to COVID-19.
Murder, Toad Wrote
“Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door” (2005)
The "Paper Mario" games have wedged plenty of adult jokes and references into their games. This one in particular was hilariously disturbing. One of the buildings in Rogueport contains a rather messy scene with a white outline of a Toad. Whereas the rest of the world got this version of the game, United States players got the cleaner version…sort of. The Toad’s outline is missing, but the red mess coated on the floor and walls? That’s still there…somehow.
“Fire Emblem Awakening” (2013)
No other character makes “Fire Emblem” and censorship go hand-in-hand quite like Tharja. It feels like every time we turn around, the number one waifu among fans is getting covered and clothed because heaven forbid we show a little too much skin in our games. The worst case of it was arguably in the Summer Scramble DLC for “Fire Emblem Awakening”. One scene has the player walk in on Tharja as she’s changing.While Japan got to take in the sights, North America and Europe got a view that was lazily covered.
Nintendo Censors Fire Emblem: Awakening Summer Scramble DLC (dualshockers.com)
Two Scoops of Aquatic Wildlife
“Super Mario World” (1991)
Yes, the all-time SNES classic “Super Mario World” did face a small amount of censorship when it made its international launch. In the Japanese release, it was possible to make Yoshi eat the dolphins found in Chocolate Island 1 and Vanilla Secret 3. Why was this removed from every other regional launch? Well, it all stems from dolphin-hunting, a practice that many territories do not look favorably upon and was highly contentious at the time and still is to this day. Basically, it was the same reason why “Ice Climber” had its seals removed.
Flagging Down the Celebration
“Super Mario Kart” (1992)
Admittedly, this widely-known moment of censorship is completely understandable. The Japanese release of “Super Mario Kart” gives Peach and Bowser unique victory animations where they celebrate winning by guzzling some tasty champagne. Just like the case with Soda Popinski, Nintendo didn’t want alcohol shown in their international releases. And so, the animations were replaced with generic ones. Sure, the sprites don’t look like champagne, but the blush is enough to sell the idea.
Wrinkled & Reckless
“Pokemon” series (1996-)
If you’re a “Pokemon” fan, you’ve probably heard about the old man in the first game and how his need for coffee was actually a rewrite, replacing his hangover for something more E-rated. Well, he’s not the only disturbing old man we’ve encountered. In “Gold & Silver”, there is an old man standing outside of Erika’s Gym, peeking through the windows. Talk to him, and he’ll mention how he loves watching the women train. This was changed in the remakes, “HeartGold & SoulSilver”, where he simply likes watching “strong trainers”.
Such Words Should Not Be Uttered!
“Mario Party” series (1998-)
Yeah, of all games to get any kind of censorship, “Mario Party”? Really? Odd to hear, yes, but in a world hyperfocused on semantics, it was necessary. In the Japanese version, Luigi and Wario utter “Oh my god” when losing a minigame, losing coins, or generally dealing with a setback. Due to the word “god” being used and how some religious circles perceive the statement as taking their god’s name in vain, the lines were changed for Western release. And that is why Wario speaks German and Luigi utters a ridiculous wail.
Protecting the Good Boys and Girls
“Super Smash Bros.” series (1999-2018)
The Japanese rating board CERO have been notorious for their seemingly strict guidelines on obtaining ratings, and Masahiro Sakurai is one of several Japanese devs who will attest to that. The director of the “Super Smash Bros.” games and his teams have repeatedly had to change small portions of the games, most of them involving female characters. Voids had to be placed under dresses and skirts so players couldn’t look under them. Mai Shiranui of the “King of Fighters” games was removed from the franchise’s inclusion entirely has she would need a whole redesign to tone down her sex appeal. Palutena and Corrin had their legs covered up more. Pyrrha and Mythra had their bouncy physics nerfed. And Tharja, who shows up in a special PNG cameo, is once again covered up.