In the Metroid games, Samus can get a suit known as the “Varia Suit”. It usually provides extra defense and lets her explore high-temperature areas. It’s been a staple of the games since the very first game, even. What you might not know is that the name “Varia” is actually a mistranslation of the word “Barrier”!
In the very first Metroid game, the English instructions call it “Varia”. Looking at the Japanese instructions, we see that it’s spelled バリア, or “baria”.
Basically, バリア is the English word “Barrier” written in Japanese:
The word is used in actual, real-life Japanese too, so it’s not some entirely crazy word for Japanese players. But because going between Japanese and English and back can cause problems, when the name was translated back into English the translators must’ve thought it was just some made-up word and went with “Varia”, which is a completely understandable choice to make. It just wasn’t what the creators originally intended.
Still, the “Varia” translation has remained intact ever since, which is actually really cool! Here’s a look at it in Super Metroid, for example:
(Say, does anyone have any other screenshots of the “Varia” name on-screen? I’ve had a hard time locating any…)
Anyway, I’m glad Nintendo never felt the need to go back and fix that like they did with things like Princess Toadstool/Princess Peach – in my mind “Varia Suit” does sound cooler and more sci-fi than generic old “Barrier Suit”!
Actually, Metroid is high on my list of games to take a full look at someday, similar to my Legend of Zelda comparison. I was never really any good at Metroid 1, so this will be my chance to really dig deep into the game and appreciate it at a deeper level! So if you have any suggestions or things you want me to cover when I get to Metroid someday, let me know!