Welcome to the Super Mario Bros. section of my new Legends of Localization project. Together, we’ll take a look at the Japanese and North American versions of the first Super Mario Bros. game and see how the localization process worked back in the mid 80s.
“But, wait!” you say. “Both games are exactly the same!” That’s what I thought too at first – from a gameplay perspective they’re the exact same, but not so from a localization perspective, as we’ll soon see!
Besides the game itself, we’ll also dig into other interesting differences between the two releases. We’ll take a look at the instruction booklets, delve into some of the history and culture that spawned from each regional release, and more. It’ll be a fun ride!
For what it’s worth, I’m a professional translator and translating games, anime, movies, etc. is what I do for a living (see my list of my translations here), which also gives me a unique and detailed view of how game translations are handled. Some of the stuff I point out might seem super-picky, but don’t pay it too much mind – being picky is what translation and localization is all about
Also, if you’re interested, I’ve also compared some other game localizations in this manner, you can check out the full list here.
Anyway, let’s get started!