How Nintendo ordered to change absurd details of Wolfenstein 3D

We have all heard and read stories of picky eater what is Nintendo when it comes to censoring the video games that reach their consoles, that they seek by all means to keep them as safe environments for kidsso they put their hand in any aspect they deem convenient, even if the game is not theirs and belongs to another company that has a different creative idea than theirs.

SNES, objectionable territory

Surely there is no period in the history of video games in which Nintendo has been used as thoroughly as in the 90s, when to launch a cartridge for any of its consoles the approval of the Japanese was necessary. This was so because all the titles that came to Super Nintendo (or NES and Game Boy) did so with that seal of quality that told us that it was approved by the company.

Those censorship processes (it can be said openly) are the ones that they eliminated many liters of blood from countless video games and those who, as in the case of Wolfenstein 3D, gave a major twist to the original development of the id Software title on PC. And it is that it has been thanks to IGN that we have known how Nintendo turned the programmers of that cartridge into a kind of miserable outcasts who had to submit to one of the strictest episodes of censorship ever seen.

Swastikas and rats in the castle

And the first reason you have to go look for it in the setting. as you know, all the action takes place in a Nazi castle so it was necessary to offer a certain air of the time by adding paintings in which the presence of the Führer could be sensed, and even the occasional swastika. Obviously none of that got past censorship and id Software had to take out the draft to remove it so it wouldn’t be seen explicitly on the Super Nintendo cartridge.

But what caused the most headaches was man’s best friend. According to Becky Heineman, programmer of Wolfenstein 3D for Super Nintendo, the Japanese they flatly refused that the dogs could be shot in the cartridge, so they urged the studio to find another animal that we could actually give a few servings of lead to without hurting our conscience. And the answer to that request was rats.

Wolfenstein 3D, dogs vs rats.

From that moment on, a good number of enemies became perfectly shootable rats… although the problems did not end there. When approaching the player, these bugs opened their mouths and revealed the occasional red pixel that was interpreted by Nintendo to be blood. And of course, bleeding couldn’t bleed either, despite explanations by the studio that that part of the body was the tongue.

The Japanese flatly refused again and, in what seemed like the last change, only agreed to give the cartridge their blessing. when the language of those small mammals mutated in a kind of grayish everything that left no doubt that the poor thing, despite shooting at him, did not release a single drop of blood.

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