In honor of the 4th of July, this update goes out to America. USA. Stars n glory. A country that is wholly unique because it contains freedom. We are free to escape from the existential nightmare of our meaningless, unfulfilling, underpaying but necessary jobs by playing any video game that we choose (as long as publishers allow us to log in to our single player games). Our international friends are less fortunate. Many of the games that Americans take for granted are censored by foreign state-run regimes until they barely resemble games at all.
Here are a few examples of that censorship in action. May they serve to remind us why we (our troops and drones) fight, and why our freedoms are so important.
- The Walking Dead's zombies were remodeled as robots for the German release. All the humans? Turned into dogs, and their dialog was re-recorded as barking. Also, in a stunning final cutscene that's exclusive to this version of the game, Earth is revealed to be a giant giggling baby.
- Mario is the most iconic game character of all time. His image would be recognized anywhere in the world. Or so you'd think. While those of us in America associate Mario with a mustache and plumber hat, his facial hair was deemed too perverse in all other regions. Travel to any other country and you'll find that Mario is a clean-faced gentleman in a "Female Breast Inspector" cap.
- In some countries, BioShock's plasmids were interpreted as endorsements of illegal drug use. Irrational Games addressed the situation by releasing an international day one patch. In this new version of the game, powers were gained by reading pamphlets about not doing drugs.
- Hotline Miami revels in its seedy atmosphere. The entire product feels dirty, and the violence is brutal. Perverts and torturers inhabit a moonlit nightscape of shitty teal carpeting covered in gore. In every country but the United States, the landline telephone that kicks off every mission is removed, and in its stead is a cell phone.
- In the original North American release of Mortal Kombat on the Super Nintendo, the blood graphics were replaced with sweat. For the international version, sweat was replaced with milk.
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution's terminal hacking was a lot of fun, but it was also a major invasion of privacy. Some countries felt uncomfortable promoting the activity, so they demanded a number of changes to the the mini-game. As players solve the new puzzle format, Adam slowly overcomes his reading disability to decipher handwritten notes that other characters have left for him. These notes specifically grant him permission to use their computers and thank him for being courteous enough to contact them ahead of time to request the access.
- For more than a decade Doom was synonymous with first person shooters. While America and gun violence go hand-in-hand, firearms aren't treated quite so casually elsewhere. Given the number of projectile weapons in the game, international boxed copies of Doom only included the install disks for Bad Cat. Please listen to at least the first few minutes of the Bad Cat intro theme. Thank you.
- The Last Of Us is, in a word, bleak. In two words it's very bleak. The hand to hand combat is particularly brutal. Its savage intensity makes sense in the context of the setting, but it can still be difficult to stomach. In many countries, the game has been edited so that all enemies wear protective helmets, and bricks have been replaced with sponges.
Company Of Heroes 2
If you have the patience to dig through busy, overly slick menus and far too many layers of tone deaf presentation, you might actually enjoy the core of this game until the mission ends and the hassle starts all over again. 5/10
Remove everything that makes Trials fun, then remove a functioning camera and your will to live. 1/10
New Super Luigi U
Sure, there are a ton of challenging levels, but let's all admit that we're really here for Luigi's weird floaty jump. 7/10
Game & Wario
Although this is a rather expensive upgrade to the Miiverse, it does come with a few decent Wario-style games. 5/10
Project X Zone
A tactical game packed with so many characters that there wasn't any room left on the cartridge for tactics or gameplay. 4/10