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Top 10 Funniest Translation FAILS in Gaming

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Garrett Alden Engrish can be hard. Sorry, that was too easy. Low hanging fruit. WHATEVER ANYWAY Welcome to http://WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Funniest Mistranslations in Gaming! To get your ideas made into a MojoPlays OR WatchMojo video, head on down to http://WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Funniest Video Game Mistranslations

Getting it wrong has never felt so right. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the funniest mistranslations in video games.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the botched attempts to translate something from one language to another that inadvertently led to hilarity. To be clear, these need to be the result of a mistranslation, as we’ve already done a list of just plain bad video game lines, though there will be some minor overlap.

#10: “Conglaturation!!!”

“Ghostbusters” (1988)

Movie tie-in games are almost always terrible, and this is especially true when the game is mistranslated. The NES “Ghostbusters” game is actually a Japanese port of a Commodore 64 and Atari 800 game developed by American company Activision, albeit with worse graphics, controls, and this infamous mistranslated ending title card. Besides the Engrish evoking headline, the ending also makes the debatable assertion that the player has “completed a great game,” “prooved the justice of our culture,” and that they should “go and rest our heroes.” Maybe they shoulda’ “called” someone who could speak or spell the language instead.

#9: “Don’t underestimate the power of dolphin.”

“Aero Fighters 2” (1994)

This entry from “Aero Fighters 2,” an arcade and Neo Geo shoot ‘em up, is funny a lot of reasons, and not just its poor grammar. As far as the mistranslation goes, there’s probably a participle missing in there somewhere or the word dolphin should be plural. However, the sheer fact that it’s a quote said by an anthropomorphic dolphin fighter pilot named Spanky (or Whitey, depending on the translation), juxtaposed against an image of a map exploding is absolutely ridiculous! This is the kind of imagery that allows this entry to transcend its silliness to become amazing.

#8: “Bimmy and Jimmy”

“Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones” (1991)

Whoever mistranslated this must have had alliteration on the brain. When starting a two player game in “Double Dragon III,” the story text labels the protagonists not as Billy and Jimmy, but as “Bimmy and Jimmy” instead. Although the error only appears in two player mode in that game, it became well known enough that it was incorporated into a later game in the franchise. “Double Dragon Neon” features bosses called “Bimmy ‘n’ Jammy,” who are demented, burly versions of Billy and Jimmy, appropriately nicknamed the “Mistranslated Mutants.” Not every franchise can laugh at their mistakes along with their fans, so we have to tip our hats to “Double Dragon” for being willing to turn an amusing error into further comedy.

#7: “You’re Winner!”

“Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing” (2003)

There is plenty wrong with “Big Rigs,” from its poor physics, controls, and bugs galore, but we’ll stick to talking about its poor translations, among which our entry is the most infamous. Upon completing a race, or sometimes even before then due to a bug, the text “You’re Winner!” will be displayed along with a trophy that has not two, but three handles; which is 50% better, naturally. The game’s abysmal grasp of English grammar, along with its other problems, was likely the result of its development being outsourced to Ukraine to cut costs, a move that may have saved the developers money, but not their reputation after this pileup of a game.

#6: “Welcome to die!”

“X-Men” (1992)

This quarter-devouring arcade game is fondly remembered for its simple and fun beat ‘em up gameplay, but also for its poorly translated dialogue, which, unlike the majority of our entries, was actually voiced. While there are several other notable funny quotes, such as “I am Magneto, master of magnet,” our pick has to go to this mistranslated declaration made by several bosses in the game, but most notably by Magneto before the fight with Wendigo. The quote has become a tongue-in-cheek favorite of video gamers and X-Men fans alike, and is even referenced by Deadpool in “Marvel Vs. Capcom 3” when fighting Magneto.

#5: “I feel asleep!!”

“Metal Gear” (1988)

The “Metal Gear” series is known for having some pretty goofy stuff in it, despite its nominally realistic setting, and its first game was no exception. “Metal Gear” for the original Nintendo Entertainment System featured some pretty terrible translations, such as “Contact missing our Grey Fox” and several others. But our pick was this one, which occurs early on in the game and on only the second screen. A guard states first that he’s getting sleepy and then that he “feels asleep.” Besides being a funny misspelling or grammar mistake, the fact that the man says anything at all while purportedly asleep, and standing up, is pretty dang absurd.

#4: “Your fists of evil are about to meet my steel wall of niceness.”

“Fatal Fury Special” (1993)

Fighting games aren’t exactly known for having a bounty of text to translate, so when what little of it there is gets butchered, we’ve got to scratch our heads. But this quote did get lost in translation, and it’s fortunate, because it is one silly taunt. Displayed when using Geese Howard against Tung Fu Rue, this quote is apparently a mistranslation of the kind of ancient wisdom usually associated with old martial arts masters like Tung. From Tung’s presupposition that the challenger is a bad person, to the imagery he weaves of villainous hands and comparing himself to metal wall composed of friendliness, this entry is a perfect storm of absurdity.

#3: “You spoony bard!”

“Final Fantasy IV” (1991)

This comical, nonsensical insult is used during a serious moment in the game and is believed to be either a poor translation or possibly done as censorship, since the original line was roughly the Japanese equivalent of calling someone a bastard or a son of bitch. Calling someone a “spoony bard” remains a popular insult among the gaming community, both for video games and more traditional role-playing games, such as “Dungeons and Dragons.” “Final Fantasy IV” has been rereleased many times and, due to the goofy term's popularity, it has been retained in the newer iterations of the game. Mistake or not, it’s a part of the “Final Fantasy” series’ history that fans treasure to this day.

#2: “I am Error.”

“Zelda II: The Adventure of Link” (1988)

A little on-the-nose, wouldn’t you say? In this “Zelda” sequel, Link encounters a townsperson whose only dialogue is to state his most “erroneous” moniker. Fans of the series and video games in general are well-acquainted with the famous Error and much debate has been had over what the intended translation was. Is it simply the result of the Japanese alphabet lacking the “L” sound, making his real name “Errol?” There’s even evidence to suggest this may have been intentional, since there is another NPC named “Bagu,” the phonetic Japanese pronunciation for “bug.” Whatever the answer, this is one of the only errors on our list to introduce themselves quite so literally.

#1: “All your base are belong to us”

“Zero Wing” (1992)

Could it be anything else? This phrase, along with the rest of the hilariously broken dialogue that makes up the intro to this game’s European release, has become a viral internet meme for the ages, thanks to that incredibly catchy techno remix and the “Something Awful” forums. Every line, from “Somebody set up us the bomb” to “For great justice,” is memorable, utterly wrong, and extremely entertaining. Whatever future mistranslations may happen down the line, they’ll have to be pretty terrible to make us forget about this masterpiece of accidental video game humor.

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