Game Censorship: Nintendo


Game Censorship: Nintendo

Video games are still blamed for a lot of things now-a-days including people being violent, lazy or stupid. However, back in the 90’s the video game violence debate reached a boiling point and many games were changed or edited to remove things that would be offensive or too violent. Nintendo, wanting to be more of a family gaming company took the lead while Sega was looked at as the more adult system.

Let’s take a look of some examples of censorship or changes to popular games.

Mortal Kombat

Probably one of the most famous instances of Nintendo’s censorship is in Mortal Kombat. Mortal Kombat was known for its violence and brutal fatalities so when it was set to be released to home systems many gamers were excited to experience this in their own home. However, Nintendo did not want to show graphic violence like blood or guts being pulled out so some significant changes were made to the game.

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As seen in the video above the blood was replaced with sweat and the more graphic fatalities were replaced with more tame ones like Subzero freezing and then breaking your body instead of ripping your head off. This did not go over well with the public and MK was a failure for Nintendo, by the time MK2 was released full blood and fatalities were back.

Final Fight


Final Fight was a beat em up game released by Capcom. One of the enemies that you would have to fight in the game was named Poison. Poison was female and did flips and kicks and for the most part was easy to beat.

When the game was ported to the Super Nintendo, it was decided to change the women characters because hitting females was frowned upon. Strangely enough Akira Yasuda, a character and game designer stated that Poison and Roxy were transvestites not women. In the end, it did not matter and so for the SNES release the characters were changed to Billy and Sid, who were punk rockers that did pretty much the same thing as Poison and Roxy.

In addition to the sex change blood from stabbing or slashing an enemy was replaced by an explosion like effect.

Castlevania IV


Even the slightest hint of sexually or nudity was censored from games. In Castlevania IV nude statuses were modified in the U.S. release to cover them up. The same was done in Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse. In addition, in CV3 the Medusa monster was changed to have a more manly chest than female one.

Blood was also removed from the game. In the original Japanese release, the title screen bled onto the floor, but it was removed for the U.S. release. Within the game itself there were pits filled with red blood, but they were replaced with green ooze.

Bionic Commando


In Japan, Bionic Commando was called, Top Secret: The Resurrection of Hitler. The name pretty much told you the plot of the game, which stayed the same when it was released in the U.S. However, Nintendo did not want to feature any hate groups whatsoever and so the Swastikas on the Nazi flags were changed to Germanic eagles and the name Nazi was replaced with “The BADDs” and Hitler was renamed to Master D.

Nintendo’s Change of Heart

There were many other changes made to a number of Nintendo games ported to the U.S. in the 90’s. However, as more and more people looked elsewhere for gaming Nintendo decided money beats censorship and soon new games had all the blood, gore and sex that were legally allowed and the world rejoiced.

Want to see more of Nintendo’s censorship in games? Check out this video created by Rinry Game Game.

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J.A. Laraque

J.A. Laraque is a freelance writer and novelist. His passion for writing mixed with a comedic style and intelligent commentary has brought him success in his various endeavors. Whatever the subject, J.A. has an opinion on it and will present it in writing with an insight and flair that is both refreshing and informative.

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