Dylan sent in a question about a line in a cool-looking NES/Famicom game:
There’s a rather obscure NES game that I think is a bit of an underrated gem called Wurm: Journey to the Center of the Earth. Despite being a Shmup/Platformer/FPS (putting a genre on this is pretty hard, to say the least) on the NES, it has a pretty heavy amount of cutscenes and dialogue. I get the impression that most of the game was a pretty direct translation (and not very well translated either but that’s besides the point) except for one line of dialogue.
Basically, what happens is that when you ask a character about certain boss’s weakness, they’ll tell you that the weakness is water. Ask a character named Mike in the English version, and he’ll crack a joke about how he’s “Sounding like Hellen Keller”. My question is, what was this line in the Japanese version?
I looked into it and here’s what I found! First, here’s the line in both versions of the game – this is said after your crewmates have discovered that the boss’s weakness is water:
|Chitei Senkuu Vazorudaa (Famicom)||Wurm: Journey to the Center of the Earth (NES)|
And here’s what Mike says in both versions of the game:
|Japanese Version (basic translation)||English Version|
I’m feelin’ like Helen Keller here!
|Water…I’m sounding like Hellen Keller.|
So, yep, the line was the same in the original Japanese script! The localizers are blame-free 😛
Although I can’t help but notice that it’s spelled “Hellen Keller” in the English text, when it’s apparently only spelled with one “l”. I wonder if this was done on purpose to avoid legal issues or of it was just a typo the translator made. Also, just for trivia purposes, Mike says the actual English word “water” in the Japanese script rather than the Japanese word.
Anyway, for those not in the know, there’s an actual meaning behind this reference, it wasn’t just thrown in out of nowhere – “water” was Helen Keller’s first word. Although why the Japanese writers chose to mention her in a sci-fi game about journeying to the center of the planet and fighting bizarre creatures is a mystery to me!
Incidentally, this game’s actually really cool! I wish I’d played it back in the day, I probably would’ve loved it!