Here's an example of the almighty power of imagination in NES world...

The description of Starman powerup in Super Mario Bros. says, in English, that it makes Mario invincible.

I can't remember what company was importing Nintendo stuff to Finland back in the day (Funente, or was it before them? Bergsala? No, can't be Bergsala...) but what was sure about the game translations was that they sucked. Really, really sucked.


Take the original game in Japanese. Let the Japanese (or the Americans) make their (sometimes amusingly bad) translation to English. You all know where we are at this point - many NES games had pretty bad English translations.

Then expect someone in Europe to get the translation from English right. (Thank God they usually translate only the manuals...)

Not bloody likely!

I don't remember every hideous way the translators abused my beloved language, but I remember some from Mario Kart (which wasn't as bad, because this happened in SNES era): a "pipe" was translated "piippu" (which means an implement used to smoke tobacco, not a green meter-wide tubular thing sticking out from ground), "shell" was "simpukka" (A word meaning the shell of a bivalve, not the shell of a tortoise!)...

...okay, I digress. How did they translate the invincibility?


A word which means "invisible".

Now, while Mario gets the start thing, he becomes invincible, and to mark that he flashes. This is one of the things that can be interpreted two ways: Either the translator did a horrible mistake - if the guy flashes, he as sure as hell isn't "invisible"! - or that Mario's flashing is symbolic (he doesn't really flash brightly, the flashing just means something has happened to him!) just means he is not only invincible, but also invisible. (Remember that in e.g. Mario Kart, using "ghost" powerup makes you invisible - and to mark that, the invisible character flickers!)

So did, or did not, the translator really make a mistake here?

I still haven't found out!