Video games have mistakes.
Lots of mistakes.
I’m not just talking bugs here. Bugs happen. No, I’m referring to mistakes in production. Remember being a kid and reading about the Pols Voice in The Legend of Zelda? This enemy, it was told, had a weak point: loud noise. We tried to use our sword and items to expose this weakness. I remember wondering why a nearby bomb wouldn’t kill it. They’re pretty loud, right? As it turns out, this was simply a mistaken remnant of the Japanese Famicom version which had microphones on the controllers allowing you to yell in it to kill them!
How about typos? Oh man, NES games are legendary for having typos, and if you think about it this is kind of amazing. I mean, I’m not sure who did the translations for all of them, but how hard was it to have a translator simply hand their final proofs to a competent English speaker as a sanity check? Ghostbusters, Metal Gear, Pro Wrestling and many other games are rife with terrible or mistaken translations that literally would’ve taken seconds to proofread.
I’ve witnessed crippling bugs, too. Well, OK, every game has bugs whether you’ve experienced them or not. Many are visual glitches, nothing to truly mess up your game, but some can be devastating. A memorable one to me is never talked about probably because nobody really played the game.
My brother and I played TV Sports Hockey for the TurboGrafx-16 a lot. At the time, it was the only system I owned and we both loved and played tons of sports games. It was part of a full series (including basketball and football) that were pretty enjoyable at the time even if they lacked a license to use real team and player names.
That hockey game though, oh man. It had one heck of a glitch. You see, if players hit each other hard enough, often enough, a fight would break out. In a confusing decision, programmers forced the two players to slide to a natural stop before they would skate towards each other and begin the fight.
So, the two players would slide to a (sometimes very) slow stop, and then the skaters come at each other. One problem: if the players were separated by a goal net, they would be stuck forever. You could sit in front of the TV for hours and they’d perpetually be stuck in a skating animation, but be unable to reach each other, and the game wouldn’t continue until they did. Except they couldn’t. There was no way to cancel this animation, and if it happened, well, you had to reset your game.
Sometimes I’d literally skate away from my brother if I had a late lead for fear of triggering the bug and losing my victory. There was never an update or a re-release to fix this game-breaking glitch. Oh, well.
Misprinting Your Own Name?
Despite all of that, no game would be so brazen to actually make a mistake with the title of their very own game, would they? Would you believe, on the NES, this happened not just once…but twice?! Yes, of the 800+ games on the system, two of them misspelled their own titles!
The first game to bork their own name is an uncommon little baseball game called Legends of the Diamond. A pretty decent game, it featured some quicker moving animation that some of the older classics lacked. It’s not rare by any means, but you probably didn’t know anybody who owned it as a kid since most of us had Bases Loaded, RBI Baseball, Baseball Stars or (my personal favorite at the time) MLB.
What this game is most famous for, unfortunately, is the brutal misspelling of its own title on its end label:
Every version is like this. It’s pretty surreal to think this isn’t the only error of its kind, but it happened…again.
Eliminator Boat Duel is another uncommon game and, let me tell you, this is an unbelievably fun game that would be more well-known if more of us knew about it back in the day. In it, you play a series of boat races against interesting bosses each with their own racing style and difficulty. By the end of the game, you have to be as efficient a racer as possible to win. It’s a thrilling game to play and one of my favorites on the system.
And on my shelf it looks like this:
I recall an episode of The Game Chasers where they saw this for the first time at a shop and were in glee thinking they’d found a rare misprint. No, it was every single one, and Pat the NES Punk was laughing his ass off at them. Poor guys.
I’ll never understand how a company can perform magic by making a complete, functioning, entertaining Nintendo game using rudimentary tools and limited talent…and then misspell the very title of that game on their very own cartridge.