Let’s point fingers! Ever wonder why games are still treated like a child’s medium? Well, part of that responsibility rests on the shoulders of Nintendo of America and the censorship it exhibited during the dominant period of the NES, Game Boy and SNES.
From the medium’s inception, Japan seemed to have no qualms in dealing with themes no heavier than those found in movies and TV, such violence and sexuality. However, NoA maintained strict rules and took great efforts stateside to keep games sterile and sanitized, as if intended for airings on Saturday mornings. Plenty of developers have come forward to bitch since the Big N vacated the throne, but we’ve taken that one step further and gathered visual evidence of all the naughtiness Nintendo of America never wanted you to see.
Final Fantasy III (Final Fantasy VI)
A Siren from Final Fantasy VI was forced to put on some pants for the third US iteration.
Duke Nukem 3D
Duke Nukem wasn’t just great, kids! It was once very controversial… Although you wouldn’t know it if you only played the N64 version of Duke Nukem 3D. The interactive strip club was replaced with a Duke Burger and adult book stores were transformed into family-friendly gun boutiques.
Out of This World
Above: Sealed Cracks
Another World/Out of this World developer, Eric Chahi ran into difficulty porting his game over to SNES, claiming Nintendo of America found the final level’s introductory bath house scene, “too erotic, apparently. The crack of the naked aliens' bottoms was reduced by 3 pixels...” I knew there was a reason we weren’t aroused!
Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse
To avoid trouble with the Medusa, Konami quite disturbingly gave the mythical baddie a manlier chest build, thus simultaneously defeating the purpose of her inclusion in the first place, as well as making the topless legend ten times more disturbing!
And although the 15th century statues fit the Transylvanian motif perfectly, they didn’t fall in line with NoA’s puritanical vision of Western gaming. So, like Lady Justice in an Alabama courthouse, some poor asshole had to digitally dress the artwork to hide those disgusting mammaries.
Super Castlevania IV
Did Konami think they’d actually be able to sneak a tit by Nintendo on a more powerful console?! 16-bit equals twice the nipple, you silly geese! The audacity… put a top on that tramp!
Earthbound (Mother 2)
In Magicant zone you’ll wander around the cheery recesses of Ness’s mind. So, to make it all the more dreamlike, Japanese gamers did so in the buff. So as not to offend the seven people who played Earthbound in the states with pixelated dingus, Ness is more tastefully clad in a pair of adorable jammy-jams.
So Final Fight’s Poison and Roxy have the distinction of being gaming’s first transvestites… but that’s probably a bit of a failed cop out on Capcom’s part. Here’s how we think it went down:
NINTENDO: Uh, hey… you can’t have Guy beating up women in the street.
CAPCOM: So we can’t punch women?
NINTENDO: Kind of in poor taste, don’t you think?
CAPCOM: Well… what if I told you they weren’t actually “women” in the strictest sense?
NINTENDO: Come again?
CAPCOM: You see, Poison and Roxy are actually transvestites!
CAPCOM: Uh, yep! As such, it’s technically no different than hitting a man. Plus, we’re really close to deadline here and-
NINTENDO: DUDE, JUST F***ING TAKE IT OUT!
CAPCOM: Fine! They’re now Billy and Sid… dicks.
Oh, the legendary puff-puff. Appearing in various forms throughout the Dragon Quest series, a “pafu pafu” or “powder-puff massage” roughly translates to a “happy ending,” or even a good ol’ fashion motorboating! Click here to read more on the matter. Either way, you’re essentially visiting a prostitute for a health boost and Enix played coy with the act even in the uncensored Japanese versions.
Above: Use your imagination, kids
The reference was either watered down or removed completely in the American, as we can see by the Lady of the Evening’s disappearance in the NES version of Dragon Warrior above. However, the Game Boy remake was a little less subtle on the matter.