Lost in Translation: The Funniest Gaming Gaffes

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chris-littlechild - March 6, 2012

The issue of localisation is always a big one for players, particularly U.K-based gamers like myself. European releases often trail behind their U.S counterparts. This is surely influenced by a need for additional translation into French, German, Italian and more besides. With text-heavy titles like RPGs, it's the kind of undertaking that can make those faced with the task run from the room, sobbing pitifully. I'm not suggesting that mental breakdowns amongst the developing team cause such delayed releases, but they may well be a contributing factor.

But let's not get caught up in these issues, as the world of translation in video games isn't the tedious nightmare it may sound. Let's consider Japan. The spiritual home of the industry in many ways, the East has also provided us with some of the best known and most loved one-liners and memes in the process of exporting video games overseas. When Engrish rears its welcome head in a script, even a terrible title becomes memorable. Perhaps legendary. Without further ado, I'll begin this series by introducing my favourite example of all.

A winner is you featured in Pro Wrestling, a NES title from the late 80s. It is uttered, unsurprisingly, after victory in a match. The phrase is now famous throughout internet-land and frequently used as an irony-tinged response to success or arrogant boasting. Most importantly, it's also pure brilliance, and damn funny. I've always seen this as the ultimate motivational poster slogan. It would serve as a constant reminder that no matter how difficult life gets, however downtrodden you feel, you is winner. A winner is you.

So thank you, badly drawn tiny wrestler who has managed against all odds to find boots and underwear that perfectly match the colour of your hair. You've inspired, uplifted and amused us all.

Article by Chris Littlechild

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