10 Things On The NES That I Really Didn't Need To See
There are two things that the NES is widely known for. One, it's known as one of the most successful home video game consoles of all-time, a system which completely dominated the North American market in its heyday. Two, it's known as the system whose games were often censored or edited in United States at the behest of Nintendo of America. For my purposes here today, the latter of these points is far more relevant. Despite Nintendo of America's best efforts to shield us from blood, swears, and Jesus, they didn't always succeed. Sometimes, they protected us from things that we didn't need to be protected from. And sometimes, they failed to keep out things that some of us didn't want to see. Certainly, there are things on the NES that I wish I hadn't been exposed to as a child. And so, I present to you the following list: 10 Things On The NES That I Really Didn't Need To See.
10. Super Mario Has A Hungry Heart
Over the years, Mario has done almost everything imaginable, to the point where it would be easier to make a list of the things Mario hasn't done rather than the things he has. On that list, you'd find things such as jet flying, limousine riding, and paying his child support in a timely fashion. That's right; Super Mario is a deadbeat dad. In Mike Tyson's Punch-Out, when Little Mac is crowned the new heavyweight champion of the W.V.B.A. World Circuit, the player is treated to a front page newspaper story proclaiming the boxer's greatness. Directly below that, there's a picture of Mario with a troubling headline: "Daddy, come back home!"
It is unclear what Nintendo intended this headline to mean, but the most popular interpretation seems to be that Mario has at least one child, and that he has shirked many or all of his fatherly responsibilities in order to traipse around the world and referee Minor Circuit boxing matches. If this is indeed the case, it raises several questions. Since Punch-Out takes place in the real world, with Little Mac training in and hailing from New York City, one would assume that Mario's child lives in the real world as well. So then who exactly is the child's mother? Is it Pauline? Is it some random gutter slut? And more importantly, if Mario has a family to support, why does he spend most of his time in the Mushroom Kingdom flirting with professional cocktease Princess Peach? The information that Mario has a family casts the character in a whole new light. Instead of being the mild-mannered plumber who found purpose as another world's hero, he is now the neglectful patriarch who bailed on his family to indulge his own insatiable desire for personal glory. I'm sorry, but that's not a Mario that I want to know. Screw you, Punch-Out, for making me think of Mario as anything other than a harbinger of good clean fun.
9. The Women's Restroom
The women's restroom is supposed to be a mysterious place where wonderful things happen. Hidden behind the privacy of that carefully labeled door lies a magical land that is rumored to contain at least one couch and maybe even a television set. It is a place where nubile young women engage in tickle fights and practice kissing each other to make sure that their lipstick doesn't smudge later on, when they're kissing me. This is the vision I used to have of the ladies' room. It was a pleasant vision, and I enjoyed it. And then, in fourth grade, I played Deja Vu. At this point, I was confronted with a sobering reality: the vast majority of women's restrooms are often just as gross as their male-oriented equivalents. They are unspeakably filthy places rife with dirty sinks, unemptied trash barrels, cracked walls, and broken toilets. In fact, the ladies' room is arguably *worse* than the men's room. Sure, men may occasionally have aiming issues that defile the floor, but we don't have to worry about walking into a stall and finding blood on the toilet seat and a used tampon on the ground. That particular scene wasn't actually in Deja Vu, but it was totally implied.
8. Hitler Head Explosion
When I was in third grade, there were many things I wondered about. I wondered if I'd ever be old enough to see a Nightmare on Elm Street movie. I wondered what a vagina looked like. I wondered why I didn't have Optimus Prime or any of the Constructicons in my Transformers collection. One thing I didn't wonder, however, was what a man's head would look like as it exploded. And then, in June 1989, my friend let me borrow Bionic Commando. And... I still didn't know what an exploding head looked like. I was fucking eight, okay, and that game was really fucking hard. And then, a couple years later, I got a Game Genie. And so, at the tender age of ten, I squared off against a newly resurrected Adolf Hitler and shot a rocket launcher at his head. Teeth, brains, and eyeballs flew everywhere. I cried for about an hour, then I punched my brother a few times for no good reason. For about eleven days after this, I wandered around in a daze, disconnected from the world around me. Then, suddenly, I got over it. I guess the ordeal didn't have much effect on me, because I grew up to be a normal, wholesome, valuable member of society. No harm, no foul, I guess.
7. Blowjobs For Everyone!
If you've never heard of Data East's Ring King, consider yourself lucky. As best as I can tell, Ring King is the story of a retired 1970s porn star with greasy hair and a dago moustache who has decided to try his luck at boxing. Unfortunately, both his boxing career and his life are cut short by a massive heart attack. Our nameless protagonist later awakens to find himself in Hell, where he is forced to fight multicultural clones of himself (i.e. palette swaps) for eternity. In short, it's a dull endeavor with mindlessly repetitive gameplay and uninspired graphics. It is a game so awful that if you were to buy it at a flea market, you'd play it once, then smash the cartridge out of disgust. Well, unless you're completely fucking braindead. Case is point: IGN named Ring King one of the best NES games ever on their top 100 list.
Ring King is nothing special, and it would probably be lost forever in the annals of time except for one minor detail: in between rounds, the cornermen appear to be sucking off the boxers. There's really no other explanation for what's going on. I don't know a whole lot about boxing, but I have seen every single Rocky movie, and I don't remember Mickey, Apollo, or Duke ever trying to insert Rocky's surgically enhanced penis into their mouths; Paulie came pretty close a few times though. I've heard people claim that the cornermen in Ring King are supposed to be tightening the boxers' foul cups, but the technical limitations of the NES made it impossible for Data East to properly convey this. Oh really? Well let's look at the same animation on superior arcade hardware:
Let's see, it's still two frames of animation, and it still looks incredibly gay. Only now, it looks like the cornerman is pulling on the boxer's genitalia and kissing him. In fact, one might argue that the NES animation is actually less gay, though gayness is an admittedly difficult trait to objectively quantify. I am officially sick of talking about this game. Fuck you, Ring King. You are terrible.
6. The Giant Pulsating Tongue
Let's be honest, tongues are fucking gross. Sure, they're really fun to stick down other people's throats, but they are not fun to look at. Then again, maybe I'm biased; three of my least favorite scenes from film and television that I remember from my childhood involve tongues. First, there's that awful moment in A Christmas Story where, while forcing his neighbor's stupid worthless dogs out of his house, Mr. Parker slams the door on one of their ears. That was fairly horrifying, and the scene was made all the more horrifying to me, because for some reason I always thought it was the dog's tongue. Think about that for a moment. The tongue is a very sensitive area, can you imagine what it would feel like if Darren McGavin forcibly closed a door on your tongue? It would hurt. A lot. Then, there's the much more famous scene in the same movie where Flick's tongue gets frozen to the metal pole. And again, it makes you fucking cringe when you envision yourself in that situation. Finally, there was the pilot episode of the so-weird-and-confusing-that-I-once-assumed-it-must-be-brilliant-and-filled-with-complex-mature-themes-I-didn't-understand-but-I-have-since-discovered-that-it's-actually-just-pretentious-moronic-bullshit Aeon Flux cartoon which ends with a naked, respawned Aeon Flux having her feet eagerly and obscenely licked by a creepy blue man with an unnatural tongue, resulting in sexual gratification. For all these reasons, the giant pulsating tongue found in the first level of the cult classic Abadox always struck a particular chord with me. There are far more gruesome and bizarre enemies in the game, including what appear to be demonic sperm, but the tongue always bothered me the most. Still, one has to marvel at its level of detail and authenticity. Natsume really did an impressive job with this game.
5. Samus Aran In A Bikini
The original Metroid game hit us with three mindblowing mindfucks. First off, Samus Aran, the fearless hero of the game who is referred to as a man in the North American instruction booklet, was actually a woman. Second, Samus can breathe on the surface of an atmosphereless planet unassisted by a spacesuit. Third, Samus is a dirty fucking whore. See, if you beat the game in under three hours as Suitless Samus, you are treated to a sequence where the dauntless heroine strips down to a tiny bikini that leaves little to the imagination. And so, in this brief scene of 8-bit almost nudity, Samus goes from strong female role model to garden variety slut, safely falling back into one of the easy gender stereotypes that moments ago she had been boldly challenging. This scenario would be later repeat itself in future Metroid games, though Ms. Aran's outfits would become somewhat more modest. And the question I ask of the NES game is this - why? Why did we need to see this? Half-naked Samus is the cheapest of cheap thrills. Even when I was eight, I wasn't excited or intrigued by this. There were far better avenues for exploring the female form, my personal favorites being the bra section of Caldor ad and the Frederick's of Hollywood catalog. I realize that the Japanese like to sneak porn and quasi-porn into everything they make, but this is once instance where I wish they would have just left well enough alone.
4. Ryan's Ass
Stop me if you've heard this one. A boy named Ryan, whose girlfriend has recently been kidnapped by roving gangs, walks into a health club run by a sketchy old man who calls himself "Pop". The boy asks for a sauna treatment, but instead he's taken to a mirror-filled shower room where he strips down and exposes his bare ass to anyone who might be around. Like say, you, the person playing the game. Now this may not seem that bad at first, until you remember that Ryan and his best friend Alex are high school students, and are almost certainly underage. So not only is the game forcing you to stare at some dude's naked ass, it's forcing you to stare at naked malebait ass. Under United States federal law, that's child pornography. And to put things mildly, that's super uncool. And if that wasn't bad enough, Technos decided to give Ryan (and Alex) back dimples for some reason. I guess when you're drawing a naked 8-bit teenage boy, you might as well include some needless minutiae; it makes the overall scene that much more unsettling.
3. Super Macho Man Boobs
Yes, Punch-Out makes the list twice. If portraying Mario as a deadbeat dad didn't already make you want to weep tears of infinite sadness, how about this? Nintendo decided to give the Little Mac's penultimate opponent tits. I know what you're thinking: those are just large pectoral muscles. Well, they jiggle like tits. And there's definite cleavage. To prove my point, let's see what happens when I crop out Super Macho Man's head and abs:
Yeah, those are definitely breasts. Nice breasts, in fact. Breasts that put nearly all the girls in actual porn games from this era to shame. Which is great, except THAT THEY'RE ON A GRAY-HAIRED 27-YEAR-OLD MAN. With all of Nintendo of America's censorship of other people's games, why couldn't they have censored this? If they had removed the jiggling animation, Super Macho Man would have been 92% less disgusting.
Fun Fact: If you change Super Macho Man's hair color to blond, he bears an uncanny resemblance to professional wrestler Nicole Bass.
2. Cat Anus
At the time of its release, Dragon Warrior III was the most realistic RPG I had ever played. The main character had a house! And a mom! Just like me! But even more amazing was the fact that game actually had a night and day mechanic. A *good* night and day mechanic, not like that Castlevania II bullshit. There'd be different things to do in towns and castles depending on whether it was night or day. Sure, there was the basic "shops are closed at night" thing going on, but there was more to it than that. Some towns had night clubs, some houses could be robbed at night, and some townsfolk only appeared at night. It doesn't seem like much now, but it was completely amazing at the time. But Dragon Warrior III's innovations didn't end there. Throughout the game, most noticeably in the desert kingdom of Isis, the player would encounter cats. And when these cats moved upward, their anuses would be exposed to the player. This phenomenon was completely unnecessary, especially when you consider that it was localized entirely to the game's cats; horses and dogs did not display their bodies' fecal exits. Amazingly, this marks one of just three appearances of anus in 8-bit Nintendo games released in North America. Previous Dragon Warrior games did not feature cats, while Dragon Warrior IV, the final game in the series released on the platform, featured new sprites for the cats. Even the unlicensed Panesian porn games, which featured nude women in provocative poses, did not depict anuses. This is a rather dubious distinction for Dragon Warrior III, and not one that it really needs. So let's remember Dragon Warrior III as the best RPG on the NES, not as the game that proudly displayed feline buttholes.
Anal Fact: Both StarTropics games feature delicious pig anus, an important ingredient in hot dogs.
1. The Hamster In The Microwave
Maniac Mansion, for those of you who might be complete fucking morons, is a classic LucasArts point-and-click adventure that was originally designed for personal computers and was later ported to the NES. The game is generally held in high regard due to its offbeat humor and its bizarre cast of antagonists, as well as its uniquely skilled cast of allies who allow the player multiple ways to accomplish the primary mission of rescuing protagonist Dave's girlfriend Sandy. Unfortunately for NES gamers, a significant amount of the game's humor was removed or otherwise edited in order to conform to Nintendo of America's censorship policies, everything from naked statues to obscene phone calls to the word "kill". There was one little thing that somehow slipped past the censors though: you can brutally murder Weird Ed's hamster by having Sid or Razor stick it in the microwave, causing it to explode. Then, you can take the dead hamster bits out of the microwave, at which point the character will exclaim that what they just did is "totally awesome". How this made it past Nintendo of America is anyone's guess. But it did. Nintendo eventually caught on ordered to publisher Jaleco to remove the hamstercide from all future copies of the game, but the damage was already done: roughly 250,000 copies were produced and shipped with the heartless deed intact. For the life of me, I don't understand why the fuck anyone would think this would be a funny action to include in a game. It's not. Weird Ed is the most sympathetic character in the game, followed quickly by the Green Tentacle. Neglected by his brainwashed father and his crass, verbally abusive mother, Ed is a kindhearted individual who turns out to be a great help to Dave and his friends. And Ed's only friend in this world is that damn hamster. In fact, one of the first cut scenes in the game involves Ed going down to the kitchen to look for some cheese to share with his hamster. Either he finds it and runs excitedly back to his room, or he doesn't and he gets really sad, because you're a fucking asshole and you took it. It's a heartwarming moment that quickly establishes that Ed values his hamster greatly and may be hiding an important game item in its cage. The bottom line is this: he's a nice guy, he loves his pet hamster, and killing it is of absolutely no benefit to you. In fact, if you show the dead hamster's remains to Ed, he will kill the party member who's holding it where they stand. Great job, jerkface. I played the NES version of Maniac Mansion when it first came out in 1990, having been intrigued by a Nintendo Power article on it, and the PC version shortly thereafter. In neither game did I ever stick Ed's hamster in the microwave. In fact, I didn't even learn that it was possible to do so until 2002; the thought simply never entered my head. You know why? BECAUSE I'M NOT A GODDAM MONSTER. The screenshots I took for this article mark the first and last time I will ever stick Ed's hamster in the microwave. Senators whine about kids beating hookers and junkies to death in modern video games. Big fucking deal. They're hookers and junkies; they deserve it. Ed's hamster does not.
Well, that's it. If there's one thing you should take away from this, it's that swaying blue cat anuses are strangely hypnotic. If you'd like to take a second thing away this, it should be that the Super Macho Man is super fucking gross. And if you'd like to take a third and final thing away from this, it should be the following: DON'T EVER FUCKING PUT A HAMSTER IN A MICROWAVE OVEN. Seriously. Don't be a fucking tuna head.
Posted by: Syd Lexia
DADDY, COME BACK HOME!