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Nintendo's Maniac Mansion Censorship Explored 66

Thanks to Video-Fenky for a new feature illustrating the Nintendo censorship affecting the NES version of Maniac Mansion. These comments were originally written up in a 1993 issue of Wired, and an unedited prototype NES cart of the classic point n' click adventure has been found to show the changes - though "Nintendo didn't catch the old 'blow up the hamster in the microwave' trick (it was removed in the European version)", changes include editing Nurse Edna's suggestive speeches ("I should have tied you to my bed, cutie!"), and switching graffiti in the bathroom from "For a good time EDNA 3444" to "Call EDNA 3444".
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Nintendo's Maniac Mansion Censorship Explored

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  • Nintendo (until recently?) has always taken a stand to produce kid friendly games (aka no adult games)..

    This kind of censorship is expected from them.
    I still think that's why most gamers still go with the PS2 or Xbox..

    • In all fairNES (ah hahaha, couldn't resist, sorry)
      it was Nintendo of America who demanded the changes,
      not the main office in Japan. (Then again, NOA could be under orders from HQ, who knows.)
    • by Incoherent07 ( 695470 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @11:56AM (#6666182)
      And this is a problem... why? Nintendo has "adult" games for Gamecube... Resident Evil and Eternal Darkness come to mind. It's just that not everything in gaming has to be "shoot people and/or watch jiggling polygonal boobs". If you can't enjoy a game that's based on such BRAND NEW concepts as gameplay and adventure and... God forbid... FUN for all ages, then how did you ever get into gaming in the first place?

      The reason Nintendo is in such a hole right now is not as much because of their "kiddy" games as it is several bad business decisions. *coughSQUAREcough*
    • by Inoshiro ( 71693 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @02:23PM (#6667687) Homepage
      Nintendo stopped censoring after the Mortal Kombat 1 debacle. Sega created the Video Game Rating Comission and marked Mortal Kombat as adult, while Nintendo censored it. MK on the SNES sold very poorly compared to the Genesis version.

      When MK 2 was ported, Nintendo didn't censor it in the slightest. They let the ESRB ratings (the renamed VRC that would rate all games on all platforms) Ever since then, Nintendo's policy has been to let things through unaltered, and let the ESRB ratings tell the tale.

      I'm surprised you're so ignorant of it. Or maybe I'm not, if you think Nintendo only makes "kids" games.
      • Oh, it continued after MK1. Perhaps they stopped censoring blood and guts, but in the US version of Final Fantasy 6(Called Final Fantasy 3 here in the US) they turned every single pub into a "cafe." They changed the name of the magic spell "Holy" to "Pearl" (not much of an improvement over the name it had in FF4/2, "White.") Some monster designs that contained partial nudity were covered up. They also got rid of Cyan's porno magazine. Chrono Trigger did the same pub-cafe conversion, plus they changed Toma's
        • I wasn't aware of a lot of these points. It'd be nice if there was an archive of these changes, somewhere. I did know about the porno mag in FF4, but I figured it was Square's idea to remove the developer's room.

          The OOT thing is very interesting. I think I have the revision 1 in cart form (as well an OOT bonus discs), so I'll try comparing those to see.
          • Another censorship: It's Metal Gear tradition that Snake always has his cigarettes with him at the beginning of each mission. They didn't censor this for the NES games, but in this post-tobacco lawsuit world, the Game Boy Color version of Metal Gear Solid (actually Metal Gear: Ghost Babel, but that's another story,) which I just played a few hours ago, has apparently renamed Snake's cigarettes to the "Fogger," mostly keeping it because it's useful for detecting infrared censors. I'm sure any idiot could fig
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "Nintendo (until recently?) has always taken a stand to produce kid friendly games (aka no adult games).."

      Yes, Nintendo themselves develop and publish games that people of all ages can enjoy.

      But regarding third parties in the U.S., NoA saw the writing on the wall in the SNES days, after the market caused such a stir about the unpopular decision to alter the first Mortal Kombat game (changing the color of blood, changing some fatalities). That's why Mortal Kombat II contained red blood and was arcade-accu
    • "Nintendo (until recently?) has always taken a stand to produce kid friendly games (aka no adult games).."

      Your statement is almost correct, but not quite. There was a time where Nintendo was very strict about the content of its games. Mortal Kombat, for example, had the blood changed to white to indicate "sweat flying off of somebody when they're hit". A lot of people complained about this, so Nintendo lightened up. In MKII the blood was allowed. Nintendo never seems to get credit for this.

      Adult o
  • by Matrix272 ( 581458 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @10:54AM (#6665522)
    Although I was only an early teen, or pre-teen when Maniac Mansion and Day of the Tentacle came out, I thought the dialogue was hilarious. I'd love to see a third in the series, or a remake of the first two, with updated graphics and voice acting... as long as it kept the point and click interface. Would anybody else like to see a remake of some of the more memorable games like Maniac Mansion?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I was hoping for a true adventure revival. Runaway was a decent adventure, and with Lucas arts working on a new Sam and Max & a new Hell on wheels I tought it was all good.
      Until recently ofcourse they had to cancel Hell on wheels. We can only hope Sam and Max is as funny as the first one, and who knows, a Maniac Mansion sequal will follow. Or a good Monkey Island (Not Monkey Island 4, that one was just sad)
    • I have to agree. Reading this article makes me want to dig my NES out of the closet and load up a game of Maniac Mansion. MM is the only Adventure game that I really got into as the problems presented had solutions that were't that far fetched, unlike some of the stuff in the Police quest games. Plus, the sense of humor (the Edsel spaceship in the garage) was clevor and the ability to use multiple characters to complete the story in multiple ways made the game have huge replay value. I usually hate sequ
    • What ever happened to Lucasarts' SCUMM games and Sierra's "Quests"? Nowadays it's all formulaic point-'n'-shoot games that are more geared toward people with twitch reflexes than toward people who actually like to use their brains occasionally.

      A good SCUMM/Quest/Myst type game is what need need now more than anything. Today's games suck.

      As long as I can run all those old Lucas games in ScummVM I'll be happy!
      • Actually, I have some interest in remaking the Quest for Glory games using the Neverwinter Nights engine. I started it a while back but got frustrated at how difficult it is to, among other things, create dialogue using the Aurora Toolset. These old Sierra games are heavily dialogue-based, so it was kind of a killer to have to do so much by hand. I may yet get enough interest to do it. It would obviously not be "pure" QFG, since it would use AD&D rules and spells. Some of the puzzles would have to
  • Well.. (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by kmak ( 692406 )
    Not surprising.. really shouldn't come as a shock to anybody, since 1993 was when Nintendo was still in a position of power..

    That seal of approval actually meant something, but alas, the gamers have grown up..
  • that they dump this prototype to a rom file so that everyone can enjoy MM how it was truly meant to be enjoyed on nes. Or you could just play it on scummvm []like a normal human.
  • by Tragedy4u ( 690579 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @11:30AM (#6665957)
    Nintendo thinks its perfectly acceptable for kids to play a game with short, fat Italians run and jump around a hallucinogenic fantasy world eating MAGIC mushrooms to aquire bizzare super powers. But kids calling a toothless old hag for a "good time" is wrong compared to gross rampant drug use in the Mario franchise?

    Time to come clean Nintendo or all these kids will send their Betty Ford clinic bills to you!
    • Play Paper Mario sometime. Hell, look at some SCREENSHOTS of Paper Mario sometime. Mario ain't the only one at Nintendo who's doing drugs. Three words: Penguin Murder Mystery.

      (To potential flamers: Paper Mario is still a GREAT GAME. It's just an incredibly bizarre one, that's all.)

  • On ./ Games Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by skermit ( 451840 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @11:32AM (#6665972) Homepage
    (This comment isn't intended as a flame, or troll, but a suggestive criticism question aimed at editors)

    Why is this news now, when the game came out 13 years ago, and the wired article came out 11 years ago? Is there nothing else in the queue worth publishing? (I'm not a ./ subscriber)

    Albeit interesting, it's not "news" but if this is what's getting posted, maybe I should start submitting more articles to generate traffic. The ./ games section receives about 30 comments an article (roughly 1/5th to 1/20th of normal articles) so if nobody responds, I understand, but I'd like some feedback from the editors please.
  • I always found it odd that the NES port (no pun) for Bards Tale had you ordering Grape Juice at the pub instead of ale or spirits. I really wouldn't mind the kid friendly stuff on the games provided they give the option to play the original version.

    Does anyone have any example of CURRENT games that have had the same type of censorship? Now that the demographic of console players has shifted to early 20s, I don't think that it will happen as much. Hell Nintendo never released real scare games, but as o
    • You won't see this any longer now that there is a clear cut ratings system in place. The ability of games to be judged based on a level playing field now makes it so that NOA doesn't need to play the role of the ratings board anymore. At the time (the 1980's) the NOA seal of approval could be seen more as a guide for parents.
      • From what I have heard, BMX XXX was censored on the Xbox and PS2. Not on the Gamecube, though.

        Can't verify, as haven't have never played the game.
      • Untrue, this is the main reason that this censorship DOES happen now.

        In Brave Fencer Musashi, the Japanese release has a part in which there's someone pounding on the door to the Inn late one night because he wants pork chops. In the Japanese version, he's getting drunk at night, and the implication was that he was an alcoholic ignoring his daughter.

        When you get through the dungeon, you find the store owner at the bottom, who apparently "had too much caffeine". He's all redfaced, but apparently, they th
    • The problem with coming up with a current example is that anyone with that information would still be working at a game company, and thus be in violation of any NDA's they are under by revealing that information.

      If one wants to discover the information they could simply by comparing a title to its N64 or GC port. Examples are out there.

      Now here's the real trick. Anyone with a Gamecube is probably a Nintendo apologist, which is fine, but this person would not be inclined to report any information that co
  • I had a hidden mail order nintendo game that was strip poker. I was only 10 back then and man I was the coolest kid on the block that got invited to all the "all day nintendo parties" which normally consisted of Dragon Warrior, Metroid, Supermario 3, and Strip poker.
  • I don't see why this is a big deal. Times are different now. Back them I'm pretty sure a game like Vice City or BMX XXX would have caused a lot more of a stir if it would have even been published at all. So Nintendo changed a game a little to make it more friendly for all. It is a family consol after all.

  • I still have my pre-sensored version of the Maniac Mansion cart. This was one of my all-time favorite games since it allowed you to explore a large area somewhat freely, as opposed to the level hopping like most games of that time. I still load this cart up just to blow up the hampster in the microwave!!!

    This game has always had me stumped on one thing though: There is a key in the living room on the first floor that sits on top of the chandeleer: how do you get this key?? I have a hunch that its for
    • Re:How do you..... (Score:5, Informative)

      by cordsie ( 565171 ) on Monday August 11, 2003 @12:42PM (#6666713)
      I don't remember the exact details, but it's something like this (I'm basing it on my memory of the C64 version):

      Have Bernard fix the radio in the cabinet in the same room. You use a radio tube or something on it (I don't remember from where exactly).

      In the green tentacle's room, there's a record, that plays a high-pitched tone. (It's a recording of the tentacle mating call!) If you play it in the green tentacle's room, you'll end up with a dead kid, (one of the few ways to truly die in the game, but it's funny). However, you can safely play it in the victorola in the TV room. As you're playing the record, record the sound onto a tape (from where I don't remember) using the recording deck. Then take the tape and play it in the chandelier room. The high-pitched noise will shatter the chandelier and drop the key onto the floor.

      And it is indeed for the dungeon, as far as I can recall.

      Maybe I should have gotten out more as a kid. Sigh.

    • Yeah, it's for the dungeon, but there's another way to get a kid out of the dungeon (but it takes both free kids). Have one of them pull the gargoyle at the base of the first flight of stairs. That opens the door at the bottom of the stairs. Have your other kid go in there. There's a lightswitch somewhere in there somewhere. The door to the dungeon is on the far left of the room.
  • I still have the first release of Maniac Mansion on the NES. Complete with exploding hampster.

  • For those of you who prefer not to have a maximized browser window and find you can't scroll left on this story's linked site, know that it is a problem with the interaction of the stylesheet setting the width of the content after the middle of the browser window was determined for centering with HTML, which isn't revised. In this particular case, if your window is less than 780 pixels wide, some content will be clipped off the left side of the window and inaccessible (can't scroll there).

    I've modified my
  • It works fine in my mozilla install.
  • tsr's back! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Schnapple ( 262314 ) <> on Monday August 11, 2003 @02:11PM (#6667582) Homepage
    Apparently this article is part of the return of tsr, which rocks. tsr did tsr's NES Archive [] until he put it on hiatus in January 2000. He hasn't touched it since and it looks like this site [] is like the second coming. Very cool.
  • Final Fight was changed so that the women getting beat up were punk style men. The ending in one of the mech games originally had the leader of a Japanese business commit suicide (good in Japan, bad in America). Final Fantasy games were SEVERELY censored as well. Nintendo has been censoring things since day one, and it nearly cost them during the SNES days.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin