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A video game mystery that has been bothering me for years...

The Damned

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Years and years ago, about two years after I got my first GameBoy (the old grey brick, you all know it), I was snooping in my parents room for christmas presents. I found a GameBoy game, and was immediately disappointed to see it was... Link's Awakening. Yes, Link's Awakening. Wait. Stop right there, let me explain a few things first.

One, that GameBoy was the first video game system I owned. We had bought some really old systems used, all from garage sales, we even rented a NES for the weekend a few times. But really, we didn't have a lot of video games.

Two, we didn't have cable, so I never got to watch the old Zelda cartoon.

Three, I had mostly stuck with Mega Man: Wily's Revenge and Tetris, because that was my entire collection at the time.

Four, I was a stupid kid, and I didn't know any better.

Thus, I never heard of Zelda before, and thought it was going to be a terrible game. I was wrong, and it's a favorite even to this day.

Back to the point of this thread...

There is an enemy in Link's Awakening (henceforth "LA" for brevity), namely the "Buzz Blob". It's a little wiggly tall thing, looks like this BuzzBlob.png ?

Yeah. If you had some Magic Powder, and sprinkled it on one of them, it would turn into a "Cukeman", namely this Cukeman.png .

Upon changing, it didn't attack you, but you could go up to it and talk with it. Each time you spoke to it, it would go through a set number of sentences, namely:

Hey Mon!

You know me, I

like short names

the best...

It can display

millions of


I definitely

need it, as soon

as possible!

On and off over the years, I've tried to think of what it meant. I thought maybe it was an easter egg, a hidden foreshadowing of Nintendo systems yet to come... except that nothing fits.

If it was referring to upcoming hardware, than I can't think of which one it could be talking about. LA came out in 1993, three years after the SNES.

It might be the N64,it came out in late 1996 in Japan. Even though Nintendo was interested in 3D graphics then ("Project Reality"), that only began in August of 1993, over a month after LA was released in Japan. The development time on LA had begun months earlier, so the timing doesn't fit.

It couldn't possibly have been the Virtual boy, because it had two colors: eye-blistering red and black. Also, it wasn't released until two years later, and development didn't begin until 1994, months after LA was released.

It also couldn't have been the GameBoy Color as that didn't do anything even remotely what the character said, not to mention that five year gap. It wasn't the Satellaview, because that was just an add-on for the SNES that delivered game data; it didn't upgrade or enhance the graphics in any way. The Super GameBoy is also out, for the same reasons.

There's no way it could have been the GameCube or GameBoy Advance, as those were a decade or more away.

So if it wasn't foreshadowing of a new Nintendo system, what was it? I then thought that it could have been hinting at someone else's hardware... Maybe Sega? But again, it doesn't fit.

The Master System was already out years ago. The Genesis had been released a few years prior. It sure wasn't the Mega-CD, as again, it came out before. I also wasn't the GameGear, as that came out already. The only Sega consoles that might have be known about at the time could have been either the Nomad, the Saturn or the 32x.

I thought that maybe it was supposed to be about the Playstation. As any good gamer knows (if not, GTFO noob :< ), the Playstation started out as a CD add-on for the SNES. Nintendo ended up axing the project after seeing that they would lose control over some of their game properties. This would almost fit perfectly... if not for the fact that Nintendo axed the deal in 1991, two years before the game came out.

Then I looked up other systems. The 3DO came out after LA. I even thought it might have been the Apple Bandia Pippin! But no luck. Only some of the really obscure systems like the PC-FX and the Amiga CD32 are in the right timeframe, but they also don't fit the basic description.

After all these years, I can only assume it was either just the development and/or localization team(s) putting random nonsense in, or that it was referring to work on new hardware that ended up being abandoned shortly after.

TL;DR version: video game character says something, it drive me crazy for almost twenty years.

Anyone have any ideas or theories that might explain it? I may have missed a list of canceled hardware somewhere, or maybe I didn't get some dates right. Have I overlooked something obvious? Maybe just a comment about how long it took to write this up? At the very least, give me a "cool story, bro".

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True, but the whole "millions of colors" bit doesn't fit. Not to mention the timeframe. The difference between the Japanese and North American release dates for Link's Awakening is only a month or so. The release of Star Fox was Feb 21st, 1993, six months before. Why hint at something that had already come out months earlier?

And thanks to just64helpin for the token reply.

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Beat me to it Thalzon. :P

They could be talking about the Super FX Chip, but then again, if I recall correctly my tenure in elementary school, StarFox came out in early 1993 before Link's Awakening.

But saying the Super FX chip is capable of displaying millions of polygons? No way. It could only allow for a couple hundred, max.

N64 churned out like what? 100,000? I can't remember. I think the Gamecube bumped it up into the millions, but .... that was in 2001, sure the GCN would have been in development for 2 or 3 years ahead of its release. Which would have been 1998. *shrugs* Still that's 5 years ahead and TWO generations from when Link's Awakening came out.

And I honestly don't think people at Nintendo, especially, would have the foresight to predict how many polygons systems would be capable of churning out 10 or 15 years later.

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I'm starting to think its just a bunch of gibberish from writers that had a secret NPC.

I searched the internet and the German translation of Link's Awakening included some of these vastly different lines, all of which were removed from the DX version that came out years later.

The German translator of Link's Awakening made a joke by hiding some funny sentences in the game. When Link presses A next to a Cukeman, it says one of four different sentences:

* NIE OHNE KONDOM! (Never without condom!)

* Irgendwelche Sorgen, Nöte oder Probleme? (Do you have any sorrows, hardships or problems?)


* Gib mir Deinen Saft, ich geb' Dir meinen... (Give me your juice, i'll give you mine...)

Seems like the rest of the translations loosely carry over, more or less.

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The date error on the N64 is fixed, thank you for mentioning it. I had like, twenty tabs open from all kinds of sites, and I got my dates a bit mixed up.

The German language version is something I've never seen before. I didn't find that page when I did my initial search.

Anyone know of what the Japanese version said? Or any of the other languages for that matter? Surely we have someone that played it in some other part of the world, and can provide a rough translation?

Or maybe they're just making fun of Sony. It sounds like something Ken Kutaragi would have said in those days.

Actually, I find it most plausible they're really promoting the Playstation. Remember that Nintendo and Sony collaborated on it as a SNES addon initially.

Already mentioned, and busted. That deal fell through two years prior, so it wouldn't fit. The marketing and hyping for the Playstation didn't begin under later in 1993, so they would have had to just added the lines in before Sony started talking about it. There's not much of a window for them to do it.

It doesn't mean anything.


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I think it's sort of like those flying car predictions, just a little more plausible. I'm sure the idea of displaying millions of polygons per second was not absolutely unheard of at the time, but rather that it was unrealistic to implement in small consoles or handheld systems, or in the coming few years.

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If it was something before they started working on the Silicon Graphics system, namely a predecessor to the N64, then that might work. It may be one of the many hardware prototypes or designs they abandoned after tinkering around with them.

Too bad there isn't a comprehensive list of all the systems game companies ditched and canceled. That would be pretty cool, and might shed some light on this whole thing.

I'd like to find out who on the localization team did this, and ask them personally.

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If it was something before they started working on the Silicon Graphics system, namely a predecessor to the N64, then that might work. It may be one of the many hardware prototypes or designs they abandoned after tinkering around with them.

Too bad there isn't a comprehensive list of all the systems game companies ditched and canceled. That would be pretty cool, and might shed some light on this whole thing.

I'd like to find out who on the localization team did this, and ask them personally.

Moby Games credits the English script to Daniel Owsen.

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Cukeman is quite obviously referring to secret codes you have to enter in a few random caves (found only through the select-map glitch) in order to see Marin strip in front of you during the seashore scene.

I've been able to pull it off, but only twice. Those caves are a bitch to find.

There's one near Tamaranch off into the sky, there's one in the desert off into the sea (I think... it was in that general area), another by the Waterfalls, and the last one is around Catfish's Maw.

The strip scene is totally worth it, though. Hot.

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Moby Games credits the English script to Daniel Owsen.

Ooh. Thank you.

If it is him, I wonder if he even remembers that job. Even if he did, would he recall why he put it in there?

EDIT: I think it is. According to Wikipedia (yes, there is a page about Dan Owsen) he currently works at the Microsoft Zune division, and the twitter account you listed mentions loving some Zune thing... which is probably a good sign he works at Microsoft. I don't think anyone wants to publicly like the competition.

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Yeah, someone ask that guy what the hell is going on with those lines of text. Now I want to know !!! He lives in Redmond... same name as the writer credited... he's the best lead we've got right now.

Well, I seem to have concocted some kind of preliminary theory on this mystery...

They might be talking about fledgling figures at the advent of the Ultra 64's development before it was known as the Ultra-64, or even the earlier "Project Reality."

Project Reality occurred as soon as Nintendo had shopped around for a graphics chip. Pre-planning MUST have occurred before this where people decided what exactly they wanted in a new machine. And with the SNES out in Japan in late 1990, plenty of guess work could have been going on as to what Nintendo wanted to try and release for the future.

I read that actual development of the machine started in August of 1993 like you stated above... but that excludes any pre-planning which would have had to occurred months in advance (if not a year or so). It's possible that early predictions felt that they could hit that millions of polygons number. The Ultra-64 was billed as a machine that would offer photo realistic worlds, I remember the buzz in old gaming magazines while I was in elementary school at the time. I think recently I saw a promo video on YouTube where a marketing guy even say it while demonstrating an underwater demo of a fish swimming.

When "Project Reality" finally began after nailing down a 3D chip, Nintendo "boldly" believed that the machine would be more powerful than the time's most advanced supercomputers according to this site, (http://www.answers.com/topic/nintendo-64). If that's true, then wishful thinking even earlier was possible on such a ridiculous scale. Plus it's no secret that console makers start looking at ideas to create the next generation of consoles immediately after a new system has released. The SNES came out in late 1990 in Japan, and late 1991 for North America. That's a lot of time between then and 1993 that Nintendo could have been throwing around ideas for the future.

I'm leaning towards the idea that the Cukeman is referring to pre-production predictions of what Nintendo's next-gen product would be. "Project Reality" officially came underway in August of 93, which leads me to believe that the company had some early projections up probably for bigwigs preparing for the next console release. Hell, crazy inflated numbers have always happened... Sony is most famous for it in the last two generations, iirc. All console makers are guilty of it, but I seem to remember Sony getting the most flak for it.

Still millions of polygons is a silly expectation at that time, but with developers believing that they could get graphics that were better than what supercomputers were capable of ... then that number might be possible hopeful thinking for the company at the time.

It's the only thing that really lines up with Link's Awakening's development cycle... still. One giant gap in this theory is how a writer could get privy to this information unless someone working on the new product wanted to put an Easter Egg in LA, or Nintendo was briefing the company on their new product, but... dunno.

That's my theory anyway. There are a lot of assumptions and a few gaps, but its the best guess I can make outside of saying its just futurist gibberish from a silly NPC that someone coded in secretly.

I would love to find out the real answer.

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I think I managed to get a hold of his email account, and I sent a polite, but perhaps overly long, email asking if it was him that did the script, and if so, could he offer an explanation.

I have doubts that he will reply. It may be an old email account, or maybe it will just get caught up in one or more email filters.

But the whole pre-N64 theory is looking to be the best one so far.

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Those lines strike me as the typical hyperbolic language console makers continue to use. Bragging about how many polygons their machine can push (which is always a lie), how much of this or that it'll have (yet doesn't have half what they said it would when it's released)... things like that. As someone suggested, it could be a joke on what another company said (Sega or Sony). Or, it could be an inside joke about what someone in Nintendo said in a "private" conversation before anything public was released about the Ultra/N64.

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