NintendoLegend.com’s Five Fine NES Series Reminder: The following choices are in no particular order, and do not reflect a “best of” list, but merely a summarized list of examples per category on the Nintendo Entertainment System. In this case, Five Fine NES Games With Bizarre Titles.
Throughout the storied run of video games released on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which arguably continues with emulator hacks and homebrew efforts, many classic titles were released, with even their mere names living on in the minds of gamers worldwide: Super Mario Brothers. Mega Man. Bionic Commando. Tetris.
Other NES video games, though, had some truly weird titles; despite running the gamut of the spectrum between being of high quality or low repute, the one undeniable common trait between these cartridges is the unusual names on their labels.
This sports game is a port of the arcade cabinet basketball simulation of the same name. While dribbling is a commonly known part of the sport, and the word “double” would usually bring a bonus sense of added value to a term, within the rules of roundball the phrase “double dribble” refers to a penalty, an illegal method of advancing the ball. Although most of the basketball video games on the NES do not bother tracking this particular penalty, the point is this: Naming a basketball game “Double Dribble” is like calling a football game “Interception” or a hockey game “High Sticking.”
The Legend of Zelda
Perhaps obviously, Legend of Zelda is among the most beloved and noteworthy NES cartridges of all time, spawning a storied franchise that has bestowed some of the best adventures ever played by gamers worldwide. Despite the accolades, the title choice is still intriguing, and confusing enough that many people who tried the original NES game believed that they were controlling Zelda. We know the hero, the controlled protagonist, is Link. So why call it The Legend of Zelda, naming it after the damsel-in-distress princess? Even if she, since, has developed into a stronger, deeper character, this was still akin to renaming Super Mario Bros. “Super Toadstool Bros.” instead.
Like Double Dribble, Donkey Kong on the NES was an arcade port, in this case of one of the most popular units of all time. Notably, the popularity and distinctive quality of the Donkey Kong game was a primary motivation for the creation of the 8-bit NES home video game console, as Shigeru Miayamoto wanted to see a machine created that could create the experience of Donkey Kong in the home. Regardless of the story, the name is still odd, implying a relation to the King Kong character in cinema, this similarity even resulting in litigation. The “Donkey” part, seemingly random or at least arbitrary, is supposed to just imply ignorance on the part of the ape, like a the insult “jackass.”
Lee Trevino’s Fighting Golf
Speaking of random, this was a golfing simulation on the NES with a PGA Tour veteran lending his name. The weird part is the “Fighting Golf” moniker. The video game is a basic 8-bit golf rendition, somewhere in quality between the original Golf and the later NES Open Tournament Golf. There is no in-game fighting like the Blades of Steel hockey game features, no futuristic touches of violence like the Base Wars baseball games, and no real competitive flair whatsoever beyond the standard golf formula. Maybe the “Fighting” in this case is only meant to imply a high level of competition, but it still sounds misplaced.
The 1980’s posed an intriguing political atmosphere for the United States of America, with the communism-tinged Cold War heating off before it finally began to cool off. In response to foreseeing possible sensitivity, and for other reasons altogether, Nintendo of America imposed censorship on many cartridges that were Americanized from their earlier Japanese original counterpart versions. Among the most humorous examples is Rush’N Attack, with its title obviously supposed to imply “Russian Attack” instead, but having had all blatant references to the country removed altogether.
As games become translated, release to touchy audiences, and are spearheaded by absurdly creative teams, video games will surely continued to be introduced to the public with odd names. These five fine NES games with bizarre titles are a handful of great examples among many.
When Eric “Nintendo Legend” Bailey isn’t sitting around considering the oddity of retro Nintendo cartridge titles, he runs the show over at his website where his crazy quest to play and review every NES video game ever released in North America continues and can also be followed on his Twitter account.