Video Game Tidbits and Trivia!

This is a page dedicated to answering nerdy questions about video-games and stuff…

Adventure of Link is Zelda II. Are there any other Zelda-games identified by number?

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s when there were still less than five or six Zelda games, fans tended to identify A Link to the Past as Zelda III and Link’s Awakening as Zelda IV. However, this practice began to fade already around the time of Ocarina of Time‘s release and I don’t think anyone uses numeric identification of Zelda games anymore. Back before Ocarina of Time’s name was publicly announced it was known in some publications as Zelda 64, but that was obviously never going to be its official title.

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What does the 64 in Nintendo 64 stand for?

Rather obviously it refers to the bit-rate (the power of the graphics processor) of the system. The 32-64 bit era (or the fifth generation of consoles) was the last age in which system bit-rates were used as a massive marketing tool, obviously the other one being the 16-bit era before.

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Was the Atari Jaguar really 64-bit like the company insisted?

Rather obviously not – but it should be explained where they got the idea that it was. In actuality the Jaguar had processor that was capable of both 16- and 32-bit processing, as well it came with components that allowed the games to run faster (probably to prevent slow-ups which were often the most common problem for early 3D games). This is perhaps where they got the idea of marketing it as being twice as fast as a regular 32-bit console (the only one out at the time was really the Phillips CD-I) and thus 64-bit. Obviously Atari was talking out of its rear with this claim.

This also technically means that the Nintendo 64 was the only true 64-bit console of its generation, with its closest competitors (Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn) both being decisively 32-bit constructions.

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Why was Mega Man‘s name changed from the original Rockman?

The problem was copyright related. Capcom couldn’t trade-mark the name “Rockman” in North America because there was already a series of guitar-amplifiers with the same product name. Since Capcom wanted to have an easier time monitoring the usage of its copyrighted product, the name Mega Man had to be created as a replacement. Incidentally, there is a line of lightbulbs produced in Germany that happen to carry the Megaman name.

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How is Mega Man/MegaMan/Megaman spelled? Which is the correct spelling?

There isn’t a single accepted correct spelling of Mega Man’s name or at least not one accepted and used consistently by Capcom. However the CamelCaps variant is almost exclusive the Mega Man NT and Star Force series. I’ve personally noticed that people tend to pick their preference and stick with it. Mine is to always write all Mega Man names with the word “man” in them with a space. Whether people spell Metalman or Metal Man, Quick Man or Quickman, Snakeman or Snake Man is rather immaterial. My reason for following the spaced spelling is mainly due to a few character names that look really weird spelled together: mainly Napalmman.

Conversely, Rockman is almost without variation always spelled without a space, but this has less to do with a choise of name-form and more with the fact that in Japanese the name is also spelled without a space. I tend to make the exception to the spelling rule with Mega Man’s original name, but only because I think Rock Man looks weird spelled out like that.

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Is it true that there are massive story incongruities between Japanese and Western versions of Mega Man games?

Absolutely not. This is an ugly rumour spread around by fanboys (the same people who insist on calling Mega Man characters by their Japanese names) over the internet and through numerous fan sites. Now yes, there are changes in some Mega Man games regarding the background and history of certain characters, which is not the same thing as an inconsistency, an error or a continuity shattering plot-hole.

The most massive inconsistency between translations of the first Mega Man game’s manual have to do with Dr. Wily’s background and the names of the two Docs in the storyline. In the manual Wily and Light’s names were westernised into “Wright” and “Wiley”, which were reverted to their original forms for all the Mega Man sequels (though Dr. Light’s name is incorrectly romanized at the end of Mega Man 3 as Dr. Right). The other change is that in the Western Mega Man manual, Wily was Light’s disgruntled assistant – whereas in the original Japanese version he was just a generic mad scientist hell-bent on world domination.

The continuity jip that fans cling onto in the Mega Man X series has to do with the actual distance of time between it and the original series. Originally fans assumed the time difference was 30 years but later games changed it to a hundred. This lead some fans to believe there was a mistranslation in the first Mega Man X game – but in actuality this was a misconception made by fans based on a message left by a character in the game. Even if the X-games’ translations haven’t always been top-notch, especially with Mega Man X6‘s typo filled mess of a translation, any plot incongruities within the series are Capcom’s own doing – as it’s well-known that they continued the series beyond what Keiji Inafune had originally envisioned.

I can’t vouch for the other series personally but as I understand Capcom, since the old days, has translated the plots of its game’s accurately without unnecessary editing and detail changing.

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Why was the Sega Dreamcast discontinued after two years?

Sega‘s Dreamcast, although a commercial and review success upon release, came out at the most inopportune time for the Sega company. They had suffered massive losses due to the failure of their prior Saturn console in North America and Europe. They had actually pulled the plug on Saturn a year before the Dreamcast had come out and the stagnated sales meant that Sega hadn’t managed to earn its money back from the produced Saturn games and consoles already out on the market.

Dreamcast got off to a promising start, but all console manufacturer’s inadvertently lose money during the first few years of a new consoles existence, and Sega was no exception. A major problem for Dreamcast was that the PlayStation 2 arrived a year later and became incredibly popular, incredibly quickly (especially as an affordable DVD player). The arrival of the PS2 immediately caused the Dreamcast’s sales to drop which was bad news since Sega couldn’t start making new consoles untill the old ones were sold so they could cover for the expenses. In the end it was just too much for the company and they had to discontinue the Dreamcast altogether just to make money and stop themselves from going into to deeper debt.

What do the numbers 2600/5200/7800 stand for in the 1980s Atari consoles?

The 2600 title comes from the console’s component’s serial number and it was attached to the console’s name as an easy to remember title (twentysix-hundred). The followers of the 2600 are all based on the name of the first console. For instance, 5200 is just 2600 times 2 and 7800 naturally is 2600 times 3. Atari hasn’t been entirely consistent with these numberings and the different variants of the 2600 (2300, 2600 Jr. and 2800) are all made by adding or subtracting from the title.

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Were the consoles that came before the NES 8-bit?

Yes they were. All consoles, no matter how old and primitive would have at least come with standard 8-bit graphic chips in order to produce any graphics at all. The difference between the graphics of these older systems and the NES was simply that the systems themselves were so unrefined in their day. The first console generation (1972-1976; The Pong era) systems didn’t even have internal processors and were, quite literally, just chip-sets that ran on their own with electrical current.

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Are there any non-Nintendo consoles that have had Nintendo characters appear on them?

Yes. Before the NES/FamiCom system arrived Nintendo’s games were widely available to most consoles in the early 1980s. This was natural since Nintendo’s earl games like Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr. and Mario Bros. were so popular. Donkey Kong alone was available for the Atari 2600 and 5200, IntelliVision and ColecoVision as well as home computers. The last non-Nintendo console to have a licensed Mario game released on it was Phillips CD-I which released Hotel Mario in 1993. Phillips got the right to produce a Mario game for the CD-I due to the fact that the CD-I was the end-product of a failed attempt to produce a CD-Rom add-on for the Super Nintendo.

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So the NES and SNES are called FamiCom and Super Famicom in Japan. Are there any other consoles that had different names in Japan?

Nintendo has not changed the names of its consoles since the launch of the NES and SNES. The title Nintendo Entertainment System was dreamed up in order to get the FamiCom (properly Family Computer) released in the North American market. Since the Super Famicom happened to share the title with its predecessor it was changed into the Super Nintendo.

The Sega Master System was in fact an upgraded version of the SG-1000 Mk. III console – but it was eventually repackaged as the Master System in Japan as well. Sega later renamed its MegaDrive console into the Genesis for the North American market. Its CD add-on is therefore known merely as the Sega-CD whereas it wa sold everywhere else in the world as the Sega Mega-CD.

NEC‘s TurboGrafx-16 was originally called the PC Engine in Japan. The system’s pocket-sized counterpart was changed from PC Engine GT to the TurboExpress.

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How did LJN have the rights to develop so many horrible licensed games on the NES and Super Nintendo?

Actually LJN was a toy-company principly. LJN was founded in 1970 by Jack Friedman who in an odd touch of sentiment to his former employer, used his reversed initials to name his own toy-company (Norman J. Lewis to LJN). Since George Lucas made the movie-toy tie-in concept popular with his Star Wars films the 1980s were the golden age of this type of product. Simply put, LJN was a toy-company first and a video-game company second who only made games to promote the sales of their toys (hence their typically abysmal quality). LJN finally bit the dust in 1994 and I think we can all agree on it was certainly for the best.

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Author’s Notes & Disclaimer:

System and product names are typed in italics. Company names are in bold. This page will be expanded on in the future.

This is a personal blog with information gathered from numerous sources. The author takes no responsibility for the reliability of the information herein. All the products and names contained herein are the property of their respective copyright holders.

The author of this blog holds all the rights to its contents. Copying or releasing part of the text without the author’s consent is not allowed.

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