Changing the Name of the Game
When a game comes out, there’s bound to be a few changes here and there in different countries. Some governments are a bit more sensitive to violence and harsh materials, and some countries usually end up having their games stripped of specific references, due to differences in cultures or issues in licenses across borders. With the exception of some notable examples, usually only small changes are made throughout, and most games remain fairly similar across different regions. Every once in awhile though, games need to make a drastic change. Sometimes the most identifiable part of a game must change. Sometimes, a game’s title must change.
Today, we’re going to look at a few games with different names/titles across various regions. Most have interesting stories to tell. So, without further ado then, let’s jump into it then.
We’ll begin with arguably the most important JRPG in video games with the series now known as Dragon Quest. Some may recall that until the Western release of Dragon Quest VIII Journey of the Cursed King, the Dragon Quest games were referred to as Dragon Warrior in America. Where does this name stem from then?
Enter DragonQuest, a role-playing tabletop game originally published by Simulation Publications. The game is similar to other tabletop games of the the genre, featuring character creation, spells, battles, experience and the like. Simulation Publications (and later TSR Inc, purchasing SP after their bankruptcy) would hold the trademark for the DragonQuest name until 1987. Despite the trademark technically being expired, Square Enix elected to change the title of the game (and thus the series in the US) as to not be confused with the relatively popular tabletop game. Square wouldn’t file their own trademark for the Dragon Quest name in the United States until 2002.
RPGs are a little slow though right? Let’s move into something a little more fast paced.
Both the original Star Fox, and its sequel Star Fox 64 both saw different names in Europe as opposed to their American and Japanese counterparts. Both games saw the name change due to the existence of the German company StarVox. In German, “V” an “F” are pronounced fairly similarly, to in order to avoid any confusion or legal trouble, Star Fox had it’s name changed to StarWing, while Star Fox 64 had its named changed to Lylat Wars. That much is confirmed in the case of Star Fox 64 at least. The original Star Fox could have seen the change for the same reason, or perhaps due to the variety of other “Star Foxes” out there
Lets close it up in the world of sport, shall we?
A bit of an odd one to close things out, sure, but still fairly intriguing. As many may know, soccer (or Football, as it’s known to the rest of the world) isn’t quite as popular as it is around the rest of the world. So, upon the release of a Mario-based Soccer game in Super Mario Strikers, Nintendo made a slight change in title for the PAL territories in Europe. While the game is known as Super Mario Strikers in America and Japan, it’s known as Mario Smash Football in Europe. This is likely a wise fix, as I’m sure there were plenty of folks in the PAL territory who passed by a “Mario Football” game on the shelf, knew what it was exactly, and knew they wanted it.
The game’s sequel Super Mario Strikers Charged would receive a similar treatment, simply slapping on the word “Football” to the name in Europe.
Changing the Name of the Game doesn’t always end up being the worst thing in the world. Sure, sometimes it’s done on accident and can hurt the game a bit, but sometimes it’s done for the better. This is a relatively common trend in video games, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a bit of an addendum to this entry of Corporate Gamer sometime in the future.