you've seen before in past articles like
Shinobi vs. Spider-Man, games
from Japan sometimes have to undergo some fairly significant changes
before they can be released stateside. Sometimes, you look at what was
changed compared to how it was originally and wonder why anyone would
go to the trouble of changing it for the US release. In some cases,
though, the reason for the change is all too apparent. You see, when I
was a kid, I once rented a Genesis game called DJ Boy...
It was a port of the arcade game by the same name, and despite the
title, you don't mess around with turntables or play music on the radio.
Radios were involved, however, thanks to one of the questionable
changes in the game. Originally, the plot of the game was that your
girlfriend had been kidnapped by a roller-skating gang of thugs. For
some reason, the plot was changed for the US release, and now you're
just trying to get your boombox back from the neighborhood toughs.
Surely they didn't think that American audiences were too soft to deal
with a kidnapping scenario, as Final Fight had been released the
Of course, this was just a minor, though somewhat confusing, change.
What really caught my eye was the first boss in the US version:
A fat woman with oddly pink-ish skin. There was something odd about
her, and it wasn't the fact that she came on the scene with a midget
riding on her shoulder like Master Blaster. No, there was something
altogether unusual about her appearance, and I had a sneaking
suspicion that I knew what it was. I loaded up the Japanese version of
Right away, I noticed that the first stage had been changed from a
marina to a ratty, downtown kind of setting for the US release. Why
the change, I asked? Furthermore, why did they decide to replace the
Japanese billboards with something a little more... risqué?
Oh, but kidnapping is out of the question. Sure, that makes sense.
That threw me for a bit of a loop, but of course, I was there for one
reason and for one reason only: to find out if my suspicions about the
strange-looking boss of the first level were right. So I went a little
further in, and what did I see?
Yep, there it is. In the Japanese version, the first boss is not a
sunburned Italian-looking woman, but rather she is "Big Mama," an
obese stereotypical black woman not unlike Mammy Two-Shoes from the
old Tom & Jerry cartoons (except that she wore shoes). Oh geez, I
thought to myself, this is bad. How could this possible get any
worse/better? This is how:
Originally, she attacked the DJ Boy by breaking some serious wind. In
the US version, she merely flings donuts at you. Or pies. It's hard to
make out what the projectiles are supposed to be. Sadly, fart attacks in general would be
marginalized right up until the release of Boogerman, and even then,
they had to be called "frrt" attacks. Those attacks, however, did
have a somewhat believable farting sound that went with them, as
opposed to the
explosion they use for Big Mama's attack.
This actually was included in the US version. Go figure.
Oh you crazy Japanese game developers and your offensive racial
caricatures. Black people don't have the ability to create clouds of
deadly flatus when threatened. Plus, they've even been known to wear
shoes every now and then. You guys really need to update your
stereotypes. Just come to the US and watch some network television.
You're sure to find some newer stereotypes, assuming you can find any
black people on TV at all.
Questions or Comments about this piece?
email Dr. Boogie
*** You too can play DJ Boy! ***
[CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD BOTH VERSIONS OF DJ BOY!]
Note: to play this game you'll need a Sega Genesis emulator.
Want to see some more
video game related content?
Then check out Dr. Boogie's feature on:
SHINOBI vs. SPIDER-MAN!