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Values Dissonance / Video Games

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The English version lacks the official Nintendo seal of culturally appropriate animal cruelty.

Just like in Anime & Manga, there's plenty of stuff intended for Japanese audiences that might baffle western sensibilities. The reverse is also true.

The following work has its own page:

  • General examples:
    • The Japanese console game rating system (anime, manga, and PC games are free to be as bloody or as gory as possible) frowns very heavily on violence that involves dismemberment against human beings or real animals. This has led to cases where Japanese games get more censored in Japan than other regions, with such games as No More Heroes or Resident Evil 4. With the former example, in the western release of the game, characters get dismembered in a variety of ways with massive blood spurts. In the Japanese release, non-lethal dismemberments are removed (Travis merely breaks Shinobu's arm instead of cutting it off for instance, causing some continuity issues later) and lethal dismemberments cause the opponent to explode into ash, with no blood to be seen. This can also be seen with western games that are brought to Japan. In The Last of Us, which even censored received the Japanese AO equivalent, much of the brutal violence was toned down, and in one particular scene where we see a cannibal cutting up a human body, the camera angles are changed to hide the body as much as possible, and the texture was changed to a red/white texture of raw meat rather than a human skin tone, to hide the fact that it was supposed to be a human.
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    • Whenever a new system is released, it's strongly marketed in PAL and NA territories as the successor to the previous system. Retailers start reducing shelf and floor space for the previous gen systems once the new system comes out. This sometimes causes developers and publishers to be a little wary about releasing "major" games on previous systems, with some games being rumoured to have started life on the previous generation and then been quickly moved to the next gen out of fear people would overlook them. This is completely different in Japan - in which several "major" games sometimes release on the platform near when the successor came out, or even after the successor came out, and people may still even buy them. Japan's almost always the last one to discontinue a console, if it's created by Nintendo or Sony. (The Xbox historically hasn't done well in Japan, despite a small boost in the late 2000s.)
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  • Pictured above: the European and Japanese covers of Ice Climber. The seal enemy was replaced with a yeti-like Waddling Head in the international version so Nintendo could avoid implications of seal-clubbing, a practice that doesn't exist in Japan, but does in certain parts of America and Europe, where it's viewed as highly controversial, if not outright prohibited. Notably, Super Smash Bros. Melee kept this consistency by having the seals show up in the Japanese version's Adventure Mode, while the yetis remained abroad.
  • In Octopath Traveler, Ophilia addresses her adoptive father Josef by his title of "Your/His Excellency". The few times that Ophilia refers to Josef as "Father" is when something really bad is happening. This comes across as oddly formal to a Westerner, especially when the story emphasizes how proud Josef is to have Ophilia as a daughter, how Lianna instantly grows attached to Ophilia when they first meet, and how Ophilia is aware that she's adopted, but still unconditionally loves Josef and Lianna. In Japan, orphans have a long history of being in a socially-awkward position, and are encouraged to be constantly deferential to their parental figures, even more than is usually considered appropriate. Traditionally, taking in an orphan was considered a huge act of charity on the part of the adopting family in Japan; the adopted child was expected to treat their adopting parents with almost reverent gratitude. Ophilia's deferential behavior and language are thus in line with how an orphan is expected to act toward their adoptive family from a Japanese perspective. Likewise, Josef and Lianna insisting that their kindness toward Ophilia is just what family members do for each other is meant to show them as remarkably compassionate people in Japan, whereas this attitude would be expected towards an adopted child in the West. So while a Westerner would still see the three of them as a loving family, Ophilia's overtly formal behavior towards her adoptive father and sister would be seen as a bit odd.
  • An interesting example happened in Final Fight, in which changes to the game were brought about by temporal Values Dissonance. Poison was originally a transgender woman, but because of the cultural stigma surrounding beating up girls and the general taboo regarding transgender characters of the time, she was palette swapped and made into a male character, despite Capcom of Japan's insistence that she was a trans woman. These days it would be perfectly okay to have her as cis female or trans woman from either-to-respective-other.
  • The manual for Interplay's PC adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring had a section explaining that the portrayal of some elements of the setting reflected the source material and might conflict with modern sensibilities.
  • Natsume and xSeed have run into this a few times while translating the Story of Seasons games:
    • The Japanese Harvest Moon DS Cute (2005) had a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship/Gay Option, where your girl could engage in a "Best Friends Ceremony" with some of the other female characters, at which point they'd become essentially the same as a wife. Although relatively mundane for Japan, this would've been considered shocking to certain parties in the US, particularly at the time of release, so the feature was quietly dropped from the US version of the game. Both dropping it and the way Natsume handled dropping it have upset fans, though, and it wasn't helped in retrospect by the fact that, not even a decade later, the feature probably would've survived thanks to America's rapidly changing attitudes toward gay marriage.
    • There was also Harvest Moon GBC 3, which gave a choice of playing as either a male or female. The male character could get married and have a child and continue playing. The female character's game ended as soon as she married. Also, the love interest for the male character was completely useless until livestock was purchased, which could only be bought after growing a certain amount of grass. The love interest for the female character merely began as incompetent.
    • In Harvest Moon: Back to Nature For Girl, your game also ended after you became married. Though this was changed in the enhanced remake, More Friends of Mineral Town.
    • A few games feature a mini-game which is essentially a Lighter and Softer version of chicken fighting.
    • Many games feature Older Than They Look love interests, such as Luna from Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility and Fritz from Story of Seasons (2014). These characters appeal to Japanese fans who find them "cute", however older western fans are often weirded out by marrying and having kids with someone who looks like a child themself. As a result they tend to be The Scrappy or are at least a Base-Breaking Character.
    • Several games have your significant other or child wanting to bathe with you. While innocent and familial in Japan, it raises eyebrows in several other countries.
    • The localization blog for Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns noted how the game's fruit/vegetable classification system is based on Japan's views, which are based on whether or not the food grows on trees. Because of this, some items westerners would consider fruit, like pineapples, are considered vegetables by the game. They had to deal with this via Woolseyism.
    • Quite a few American fans feel uncomfortable about Kai from Harvest Moon 64 being an Ambiguously Brown man working at a vineyard. He calls his (white) bosses formal terms like "the master". This is just supposed to be politeness on Kai's part (and it likely has to do a bit witht the awkward translation of 64). Kai is a worker, not a servant or slave, and he can even marry his boss' daughter if you let him.
    • In Harvest Moon 64, tomboyish Ann and Troubled, but Cute Cliff's Belligerent Sexual Tension-laden behavior often leads into outright Domestic Abuse... on Ann's part! Cliff often ends up bruised after arguments while Ann cheerfully says that Cliff has "become quite the fighter". It's treated lightheartedly and no one outside of the couple mentions it. Future games remove this aspect of their romance.
    • The lack of a Gay Option is often chalked up to this. While many predominantly western-made Spiritual Successors either go for the Everyone Is Bi route or have at least one Gay Option, the Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons series wouldn't get this option until Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town. The differences between the LGBTQ rights movements in Japan and several other countries is cited as a reason why the series has been so slow to the pickup.
    • In Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility and Harvest Moon: Animal Parade, several of the bachelorettes more-or-less stop working after marriage. Even previously career-oriented characters like Kathy, Luna, Candace, and Maya only work once a week. This rubs many fans as sexist but it wasn't uncommon in contemporary 2000s Japan for women to stop working after marriage.
    • Kathy and Owen's relationship in Harvest Moon: Animal Parade rubs many fans wrong, especially the marriage proposal scene where Owen offhandedly proposes while drunk. It's supposed to be quirky and cute but hasn't aged well since the game came out.
    • The Loving Bully portrayal between Julius and Candace has fallen into this. Some fans have complained about how, as a child, Julius bullied Candace so hard that she developed a Speech Impediment. It's supposed to be cute and Candace doesn't mind much as an adult, but Julius is seen as a Karma Houdini by some.
    • Won's original design is a negative Chinese stereotype, complete with a stereotypical design and money-hungry personality. The remake Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town fixes this by changing his design.
    • 2019's Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town reintroduces the "Best Friend" system as a Gay Option in all-but-name. The player can "befriend" any bachelor or bachelorette of the same gender. This has been met with criticism by non-Japanese fans because it seems too close to Hide Your Lesbians, especially compared to similar games like Stardew Valley which have gay marriage. Xseed's localization into English removes the separation of terms and uses the same phrasing for all marriage candidates (also removing the extra step the original requires for displaying hearts for same-gender relationships), which has been supported by the original developers.
    • In Harvest Moon DS, Muffy bemoans that her skin isn't as white as a duck's. This reflects the Japanese favour towards pale skin but seems unhealthy to westerners. DS Cute changed her dialogue.
    • One of Julius' Heart Events with Candace in Harvest Moon: Animal Parade comes off as homophobic and/or transphobic in language. Julius worries that Candace thinks he's a crossdresser. The English translators censored it by making Julius worry that Candace thinks he's short.
  • Hideo Kojima's self-confessed fetish for demure, quietly emotional women was never so bad as in Snatcher, where the thirty-two year-old protagonist has a number of sexualized interactions with a demure, quietly emotional fourteen-year-old model. (To give you an idea of the sexualization, she has a birthmark on her inner thigh shaped like a heart, and you actually need to know that (to prove to her that you have access to the Snatch organization files) in order to continue the game. You can also make the protagonist sniff her panties and, at one point, he accidentally bursts in on her naked in the shower. While side characters complain, it's because the man is technically married, although no side characters comment when another female character asks him out and he accepts. The localization aged her up to eighteen and removed the panty-sniffing and nudity.
    • Something similar happened in Metal Gear Solid. It's worth remembering that the plot involves an eighteen-year-old who has never had a previous relationship hooking up with a thirty-two-year-old, and that no-one at all thinks this is odd — in fact, the other characters actively encourage it and point to her youth as a reason why she's perfect for him. It gets worse when you remember that Meryl was originally going to be thirteen (modeled after Natalie Portman's character in The Professional/Leon), and was only aged up to an adult because the character designer had trouble imagining a thirteen-year-old handling a Desert Eagle like in the script.
    • Related to the Snatcher example, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Check out these sexy screenshots of Paz, the sixteen-year-old girl rendered as jail-baity as possible. This is itself an example of Values Dissonance — 16 is the Age of Consent in most of the developed world, including most states in the US. People in the US tend to think of treating 16-year-olds as sexually available adults creepy because 18 is the age of consent in California (and because 16 and 17 year olds are below the Age of Majority nationwide), which produces much of the US's entertainment and exports its ideas about the appropriate age of consent and when someone can be considered a mature adult to the rest of the country. This is also slightly mitigated by the fact that Paz is not actually 16 years old.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl implied that humans and Pokémon were once able to be married, among other things. The English version censored it.
    • The European version of Platinum removed the slot machines because PEGI has gotten harsher on gambling references. Moral Guardians elsewhere complained too, and in HeartGold and SoulSilver, the slot machines were replaced outside of Japan (even in North America, which did have slot machines in Platinum). Every game (including remakes) released afterwards lack Game Corners entirely, even in Japan (this is lampshaded in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire). When Pokémon Red and Blue were rereleased on the 3DS Virtual Console with slot machines intact, the game's PEGI rating went from 3 to 12. The same happened with the Gen II games. For Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, the Celadon Game Corner's slot machines are arcade machines instead.
    • The Pokémon games also give a meta example: The idea of splitting the content between two games and requiring players to trade for version-exclusive content is often viewed very differently by different audiences. The Japanese players see it as a Socialization Bonus. A lot of Western players see it as a money-grab that forces them to buy the same game twice for 100% completion. This has lessened with the advent of Wifi connectivity, allowing players from all over the world to interact with each other.
    • Some believe that this is why the starters and other special Pokémon like Eevee, Lucario and fossil Pokémon are generally predominantly male. In Japan, gifts are Serious Business, and female Pokémon are considered more valuable than male Pokémon due to their role in the breeding mechanics (females determine what species of Pokémon is born, males determine the child's move set, the latter prior to Gen. VI). Thus, since each Gen's starter is a gift to you from the region's Pokémon Professor, the male to female ratio for Starters is heavily on the male side to discourage trading it.
    • The Pokémon series usually treats children leaving the house at a preteen age to become Trainers as perfectly natural. In some other countries, as has been addressed throughout the page, an eleven-year-old leaving the neighbourhood unsupervised can cause mass panic, much less walking around the country. Starting from Pokémon Black and White, where the regions start to be based on Western countries and locales note , this aversion to Free-Range Children is acknowledged, with protagonists now being ambiguously between fourteen and seventeen. Even then, Black and White has Bianca's father as very apprehensive about letting her go off by herself, and appears to try and bring her home when she reaches Nimbasa City.
    • The entire concept of Pokémon to certain animal-rights advocates seems like the idea of capturing monsters and forcing them to fight, seeming suspiciously similar to bloodsports like cockfighting, and trapping the Pokemon in Poké Balls has been compared to caging circus elephants. PETA even released various... parody games (for lack of a better word) in which the Pokémon fight their abusive trainer, or similar. (For whatever reason, they waited until long after the series became an established Nintendo franchise to do so; at least the Mario one referred specifically to a then-recent release.) Nintendo did fire back on these, however, with threats of legal action.
      Originally it was actually intended to represent a game that captured the childhood passion that the original Game Freak creator Satoshi Tajiri had for collecting bugs and letting them fight against each other. However, as the company switched from CEO to CEO it has become established that the Pokémon in-universe are sapient, and willing to fight and compete with each other. This isn't unlike several real-life animals (if anything, Pokémon battles are less dangerous than that).
    • Game Freak has a reputation of doing absolutely nothing to deal with hackers and griefers populating the Pokémon games' online presence, which was at least as early as Japanese players spamming Magnemite en masse in Pokémon Black and White. This is because in Japan, a company is not supposed to step in due to bad player behavior; the idea is to let the players handle it themselves by shutting out the players who behave in bad faith. (This is the same case in the Anime and Manga section in regards to Gundam Build Divers.) In the west, bad behavior like this regularly happens on too large a scale to be stopped outside of direct intervention from the developer. Since westerners are used to the developer stepping in, it's jarring to see Game Freak take no action to stop them, even by the time of Pokémon Sword and Shield when it grew into a thriving black market for hacked Pokémon and "Bad Eggs."note 
    • Overlaps with Americans Hate Tingle, but Western critics gave the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon spinoffs lukewarm and tepid ratings for its bland gameplay focus, but the Japanese critics gave them better (if not perfect) ratings for unique gameplay and story finesse. Also qualifies as Critical Dissonance, as fans on both sides of the Pacific have had very nice things to say about the spinoff series.
  • The Disgaea series is consistently rated A in Japan, the equivalent of E or a low-end E10+, and is marketed accordingly. In America and Europe, the games are rated T and 12+ respectively, and aimed at teenagers and adults, as the games have a lot of fanservice designs and shots, particularly after a battle is completed. The English translations also tend to have a moderate amount of profanity.
  • Fatal Frame may come across as a well-balanced game that can be enjoyed by Western and Japanese players, but are actually very Japanese. Aside from most ghosts being based off of Japanese mythology or belief in ghosts, most of the games involve Human Sacrifices. Fatal Frame I, III, and V are the most noticeable in making it clear in their endings that a human sacrifice is the correct choice in the end; a Western game would usually focus on finding a third option to appease whatever calamity has occured, rather than choose to sacrifice someone.
  • Fate/stay night: Shirou Emiya earned a large amount of fan hatred for his seeming Stay in the Kitchen attitude towards Saber's fighting in the Grail War. Some argue he's actually a subversion, just mortally afraid of Saber dying - although heroic spirits don't actually 'die' (and painfully aware that he's not qualified to fight alone) and initially doesn't understand why, settling on this as a random excuse (although he says Kiritsugu taught him 'girls should be protected'). Notably, he doesn't act this way towards any other woman, even Saber herself in the non-Fate routes, and the very idea is even mocked on occasion. This doesn't dismiss his bizarre approval of Ayako's attempted molestation for 'teaching her femininity' (though even the other characters in-story were angry with Shirou over that remark). However, this along with Stay in the Kitchen fades from the later arcs, and in another arc where Ayako is attacked by Rider but Shinji spreads rumors implying she was raped, he is horrified.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne is rated "all ages" in Japan, though it (or rather "Lucifer's Call") is rated 11+ and 12+ by PEGI based on the region; the ESRB, on the other hand, has it as M (17+).
    • The same is true for the vanilla Persona 3, except that it has a CERO "b" (12+).
    • In both Persona 3 and Persona 4, doing well on your exams makes you more popular. Viewers of Western media are typically used to the opposite trope. That said, Shu, despite being the top student of his class, doesn't have any friends until he gets caught cheating, and his greatest academic rival (who also isn't very popular himself) stands up for him. In addition to that, while Persona 5 does increase your charm if you do well on your exams, the two smartest Phantom Thieves (aka Futaba and Makoto) don't have a lot of friends even before the former became a shut-in, and the protagonist doesn't have a lot of friends in Shujin Academy as a majority of his confidents don't even attend that school.
    • It says something about the United States' thoughts on the concept of a teenager romancing a ten-year-old when an already M-rated game tones down the implications on dating Ken. And in case you thought Americans would be more tolerant of a young man dating an older woman as seen in Persona 5, they're not. Many found that while the reasons behind the protagonist being able to date older women may be much more better in words, it's still showing a teenager with an adult who should know better and not stopping herself regardless. That rubbed a lot of Western players the wrong way.
    • Yukari Takeba's sizeable Western hatedom stems predominantly from her having the unfortunate combination of this trope and a Scrappy Mechanic. In a game that depends on you mastering Social Links, and with the ability to Reverse and Break Social Links, Yukari's Social Link depends heavily on understanding a Japanese perception about personal strength, responsibility and maturity. These are so contrary to typical Western perceptions that she is the absolute easiest character in the game to accidentally mess up with. Of particular note is one case in which you can Reverse her Social Link by choosing to hug her when she's at a low point. As mentioned elsewhere, hugging is a highly intimate act in Japan, but one that many Westerners wouldn't think much of since hugging a friend who is feeling down is considered socially acceptable, at least as long as the person being hugged feels close enough relationship-wise.
    • There's even a bit of Values Dissonance between English speaking countries on the series, since America is the only country that rates the Persona series as high as M (17+). There, "sexualized imagery" (Mara and some female Personas having exposed breasts) is enough to warrant an M rating, whereas other countries don't consider that nearly as harsh, since there's no actual sexual acts depicted in the series. Looking at the ESRB page for Persona 4 also shows that a major factor in its M rating was the "King's Game" scene, where the teenage protagonists go to a bar and start acting drunk and playing "drinking games"... despite the game making very clear that their drinks are non-alcoholic (the bar they do this in hasn't served alcohol in years). This is probably due to America's legal drinking age being much higher than most other countries.
    • Persona 4: A problem arose with Kanji Tatsumi. To a lot of Western players, his Shadow and problem is often seen as his being Armoured Closet Gay. According to Word of God, Kanji's sexuality is supposed to remain ambiguous to each player, though his actual problem is stated to having to do with his hobbies: drawing, crafting things with his own hands, which includes knitting things. It's the same issue as with Naoto - Kanji is aware that his hobbies are not those of 'a man' and he hence would not fit into the idea of what a man is. Even with Kanji admitting that he wants someone to accept him with his un-manly hobbies and that it's not so much an attraction to men as it is a strong aversion to women whom might make fun of those hobbies (as his mother points out in his Social Link, the boys weren't any more accepting of him), a lot of Western players remain on the whole gay idea. Unfortunately, that led to an even bigger problem for Yosuke Hanamura, as a lot of things he said throughout the game to tease Kanji about his issues ended up making him sound homophobic to Western audiences. The LGBTQ+ rights movement in Japan has not yet made the same strides its Western counterparts have, which consequently means it's way more common for Japanese media to have comic relief characters whose sole joke is that they're gay, or outdated views on homosexuality in general.
    • In the Golden re-release of Persona 4, Adachi complains about having to serve as a peacemaker in a domestic dispute as an example of how boring Inaba is, reflecting Japanese attitudes about outside intervention in family affairs. That said, Adachi's boredom over being stuck as a detective in Inaba results in him killing two people and sitting back to watch as the end of the world happens, so it's unclear how sympathetic he's supposed to be when complaining about his work. In another bit of Adachi-related Values Dissonance, he also claims that he wanted to become a police officer so that he could legally carry a gun, something that would naturally happen as a result of Japan's strict gun control laws (and makes one wonder how Naoto, a teenager, got permission to carry one).
  • Metroid
    • In the Japanese-made 2D games, Samus is a somewhat understated character, implied to not be terribly well-known outside of people who need to know who she is (typically, the Federation's upper brass and some of the Pirates that she has history with). In the American-made 3D games, Samus is well-known by nearly everyone, played up like some sort of celebrity or famous hero, universally feared by the Pirates and well-respected by even the newest recruits in the Federation; in other words, a more Hollywood-esque portrayal of a heroine of her stature. Incidentally, the Japanese 2D games are also the ones to show Samus scantily clad in her "reveal", even in Zero Mission, the first 2D game to show her in her Zero Suit (which appear in some of the endings, but she's wearing less in others). It was the Americans who first made an attempt to cover her up, with Prime never showing less than her without her helmet, and Prime 2 featuring her slinky but functional-looking Zero Suit. Prime 3 goes back to a simple helmet removal.
    • This has led to a large quantity of Americans Hate Tingle with Metroid: Other M; some of which being the various materials that were published to establish her emotions. For instance, the Japanese viewing "Bounty Hunter" as just a cool title rather than a badass anti-hero and/or amoral law enforcer, with a proposal in Prime 3 by Retro for side quest bounties being denied by Nintendo as something a good person like Samus would never do.
      • This trope is in full effect in Other M with Samus's relation with Adam.note . As mentioned above, Samus is less a bounty hunter in Japan and more like a Private Military Contractor who still technically works for the Federation military, just on a less formal basis.note  As the story was written with the Japanese fanbase in mind, they consider Adam's assertions of his rank over Samus to be normal procedure. In America, Adam is seen as a psychotically abusive controller who has mentally conditioned Samus to obey his commands even after Samus has stopped officially working for him.
      • One need only look at Other M's reception among fans and critics in the West and in Japan for a good example of Values Dissonance. While Critical Dissonance is in full effect on both sides of the pond, Western fans utterly despise the game with very few exceptions (due to the mentioned Samus-Adam "relationship", and if not that then Samus's encounter with Ridley) while Japanese fans are more mixed, leaning negative. Its major criticisms are roughly the same in both regions, interestingly enough. A good portion of the agreement can be aimed at just how poorly it's implemented, where Samus doesn't even try to activate her personal heat shields without Adam's okay and would rather quite literally burn alive than just bring up the question.
      • The way Samus talks in Other M is also pretty sharply divided between Japanese audiences and English-speaking ones. It comes across as cold but tough to the former but as bad acting to the latter. Considering this is a case of English-language voice actors directed by a Japanese person using Japanese acting conventions, it's one example of this trope on an industry-wide scale in which certain ways of voice acting sound great to Japanese listeners but terrible to western listeners and vice versa.
  • EarthBound:
    • In the Japanese release of EarthBound (Mother 2), in the land of Magicant, which exists only in Ness' mind, he is naked (but has Barbie Doll Anatomy), while in the English localization he appears in his pajamas as he did at the beginning of the game. While it is seen as a symbol of purity in Japan, nudity—especially child nudity—is considered extremely sexual in the US.
    • Any mention of inflicting corporal punishment to children was changed for the English localization:
      • The game features one scene where Porky and his brother are spanked by their father off-screen. This was censored in English translation by changing the sound effects that play when Porky's father follows his sons upstairs (the original sound, which made it seem like he was hitting the kids, was changed to one that resembles yelling). Porky's line after the scene when you talk to him is changed from his butt hurting to his dad telling him that he gets no dessert for the rest of the decade. While there are many parents that still believe in corporal punishment, it's rarely portrayed positively or for laughs anymore due to the implications of child abuse.
      • When Jeff attempts to escape his Boarding School in order to save Ness and Paula, his roomate Tony warns him that he'll get spanked if he is caught. This was changed for the English release, in which Tony simply tells Jeff that "[he]'ll get punished big time".
    • In Fourside, The (underage) protagonists can walk into a building labeled "Bar" in the Japanese version. Kids aren't allowed in bars in the states, so this was changed to "Cafe" in the English localization. Interestingly enough, the sprites for an NPC with a slightly pink face and who is holding what is clearly a glass of beer was unchanged, making him Drunk on Milk.
    • Mother 2 shows that Porky's behaviour throught the game is a result of him being a product of an abusive household who only ever wanted to feel loved and have friends, which in turn made him susceptible to Giygas' evil influence. Due to EarthBound censoring or downplaying any mention of child abuse throught the game (like the beating he receives from his father at the beginning of the game and his mother being implied to be way worse, his father leeching off his success in Fourside, and both of his parents insulting him at the end of the game) this would be lost on many players in the states, who may only see Porky tormenting Ness because he wants to.
  • Mother 3:
    • Nintendo allegedly cancelled the overseas localization of the game fearing controversy surrounding some of the game's more "colorful" aspects. No specific examples were given, but it most likely had something to do with the Magypsies, who resemble and act like stereotypical drag queens. Acording to Itoi, the Magypsies were added in as a positive portrayal of his gender non-conforming friends. While it was indeed very progressive for 2006 (they're the Big Good of the setting, and with one notable exception are nothing but friendly and helpful), it's not a portrayal that's aged particularly well, and their campy appearance and mannerisms would likely cause offense in The New '20s without extensive rewrites. It doesn't help much that In-Game they are refered to as being weird, but good people nonetheless, which can bring up some rather Unfortunate Implications.
    • The game has an in-universe example when Tazmilly has been changed by Fassad and the Pigmask army after a 3-year Time Skip. Mike, who's forced to live in the jail-like "Old Man's Paradise", remarks that he's fine with it since he's surrounded by Nan and Linda, whom he refers to as "cute nurses" (in the translation, "nice-bodied girls") and gets to stare at. Linda comes in and reminds him he's not allowed to say such things anymore since that's now considered sexual harassment, and that makes Mike think his living conditions are terrible.
  • Rule of Rose was subject to this trope in many parts of Europe where the publishers were pressured to pulling it off of the shelves. All because it depicted children as something other than innocent little angels, capable of extreme cruelty and spite, and possessing early signs of developing sexuality — even though nothing unwholesome happens with preteen children in that area, and the sexual abuse of a sixteen-year old girl is treated with all the horror it deserves.
  • The Nancy Drew game Shadow at Water's Edge plays with this trope, as it is set in Japan. Part of Miwako's resentment towards Yumi, apart from sibling rivalry, is that she left the Ryokan to start her own career making bento instead of staying to run the hotel as expected of her. According to Miwako, this makes Yumi "selfish". This logic only makes sense if you understand that in Japan, independence is frowned on and you're supposed to do what's expected of you. However, it is also revealed later on that the girls' mother actually wanted them to lead their own lives and not take care of the Ryokan unless they wanted to do it, proving that the general attitude towards an issue does not necessarily hold up for everyone.
  • Ace Attorney
    • The entire court system is this. It is supposed to satirize the Japanese court system, which is heavily biased towards the prosecution. This is an aspect that once baffled Western audiences, who are used to a court system that favors the defense. This came up on Legal Eagle; the American attorney who hosts the channel was completely gobsmacked by the strange rules Phoenix Wright and his colleagues follow, unaware at the time that the Japanese court system is actually pretty close to that.note 
    • Godot, a character in the third game, is viewed by Western audiences as sexist and patronizing towards women: he refuses to take Franziska seriously and tends to refer to her by condescending pet names, not to mention his insistence that Mia needed to be protected, if not by him then by Phoenix. While it is still presented as a character flaw in the Japanese version (given that his guilt over his failure and resentment toward Phoenix led him to make a plan to protect Mia's sister Maya that results in him killing their mother), it's not presented as a serious flaw; as a result, he's pretty much universally beloved in Japan (although he is still much-loved in Western audiences as well).
    • This trope may also account for why Dahlia Hawthorne repeatedly makes mean-spirited jabs at Mia's age, calling her "Madame Fey" and a "spinster". At the time of her death, Mia was twenty-seven and very attractive, leading these insults to seem pretty out-there to Western players. In Japanese culture, though, a woman tends to be considered past her prime when she's over twenty-five (though this is becoming a less-common view). Similarly, during the flashback episide of Mia's first trial in Trials and Tribulations, Edgeworth calls Armando an "old man", despite the guy being only twenty-seven years old and Edgeworth himself only being seven years younger than him. Like with Mia, Armando looks damn good for his age.
    • In Justice For All, Maximillion Galactica, Benjamin Woodman, and Bat all have a crush on Regina Berry. This would not be a bad thing, if not for the fact that Regina is sixteen and all three men are over twenty (and in Ben’s case, nearly over twice Regina’s age). This is due to Japan’s age of consent, and while it isn’t a big deal in Japan, it definitely rubs American players off in the wrong way. This, alongside other factors, is why Turnabout Big Top is seen as That One Level, and why Ben is seen as a pedophile Scrappy.
  • Japan insisted on partial removal of nukes from Fallout 3 before it would permit release in the country. Specifically, the nuclear bomb in Megaton could originally be either permanently defused (good option) or rigged to blow up the entire settlement (evil). The Japanese version removes the latter option and also renames the "Fat Man" nuclear grenade catapult to "Nuka-Launcher". Strangely enough, the weight-reducing modification kit for the weapon apparently retained the name "Little Boy". Then again, considering what they went through near the end of World War II, who could blame them?
  • Night Trap was very controversial when it came out and was partly responsible for the creation of the ESRB (though much of this was due to misinformation about the game). Nowadays, it looks downright tame, and very Narmy. The re-release made of it made 25 years later only got a T rating, and was released on the Nintendo Switch despite then-president of Nintendo of America Howard Lincoln testifying before Congress that the game would never appear on a Nintendo console.
  • 50 Cent once mentioned he played the games he starred in with his kid, saying that violence wasn't an issue as long as he was around to explain it but that he would turn the sound off because of the swearwords. Some people in Germany, where people no longer give a shit about swearing but violence remains the Moral Guardians' Berserk Button, burst into laughter at his priorities.
  • Blizzard repeatedly had trouble distributing World of Warcraft in China because Chinese culture considers desecration of the dead, and any depiction of bones or mutilated corpses, obscene. Among the changes that had to be made were removing exposed bones from undead models, replacing the skeletons left by player deaths with headstones, and changing the graphics for decapitated heads with bags implied to contain them. Lord Marrowgar, a large monster that's made up of bones, had to get an entirely new model in the process (and presumably, so did his Palette Swap, Earthrager Ptah). None of those would make a Westerner bat an eye.
    • Another problem was that China worried about game addiction a lot more than the western markets, forcing Blizzard and other companies to implement stronger Anti Poop-Socking measures.
    • A noticeable aversion was the Mists of Pandaria expansion. Despite showing China's beloved national animal, the panda, in scenes of brutal fighting, explicit torture, and less-than-upstanding social situations, China was too flattered by how incredibly badass they were and how well they captured the most endearing parts of their scenery and culture. This meant that Pandaria was the first expansion that didn't have to be Bowdlerized and got a truly global release. As an aside, the original reason Pandaren hadn't appeared in the game earlier? China was angry that the Pandaren brewmaster in Warcraft 3 had a Japanese style instead of a Chinese style, that Blizzard got it right in Pandaria may have been another contributing factor.
  • Doom is still a pretty bloody game, but it's very hard to imagine it attracting the controversy now that it did back in the day after the release of other games that top it in the gorn department several times over (God of War being a shining example).
    • Wolfenstein and Mortal Kombat were also shocking, Mortal Kombat because the entire point of the game is to kill people for sport (although the blood just looks like thick tomato juice) and Wolfenstein because at that time it was unprecedented for a video game to contain bloodshed at all (even though the graphics on that game were so primitive that the blood looked more like red confetti than anything else).
    • Cannon Fodder was accused of glorifying war (although it was more of a tongue-in-cheek condemnation of War Has Never Been So Much Fun). Nowadays, with games that glorify war unironically, people are saying that that game is a predecessor to Spec Ops: The Line and Valiant Hearts.
  • Kunio-tachi no Banka: Sabu, a ruthless Yakuza leader, shot Misako, Kyoko, and Ken during different parts of the game. While it's already considered to be a Moral Event Horizon as the aforementioned victims are school-aged teenagers (though they survived), the Japanese gun laws prohibits most kinds of firearms to the point that even some Yakuza refuse to hold one with the penalties being high (firing irresponsibly ranges from three years to life in prison). It also means that Sabu lost his honor after those acts.
  • Danganronpa
    • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, western fans may be confused about Aoi Asahina's insecurity regarding her femininity during her Free Time events. While not a problem at all in western countries, in Japan women that are not "feminine enough" are shamed by society and may also get told that they will never get married. Makoto, the protagonist, tells Hina that she is fine the way she is however.
    • Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls
      • Haiji Towa openly admitting to being a Lolicon. In Japan, this is just seen as creepy. In western countries, it's him essentially admitting to being a pedophile.
      • Kanon Nakajima being in love with her cousin Leon Kuwata. The story only draws the line when she begins stalking him. In Japan relationships between cousins are legal, but in most other western countries they are seen as outright incest. Leon also points out that while cousin relationships are legal, that doesn't mean they're right.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony
      • Kaito Momota's beliefs about gender roles are seen as relatively normal in Japan, but raise many eyebrows in the west. He tells Shuichi that he must get physically stronger in order to overcome his problems when said problems are more on the emotional and psychological side of things and don't involve brute force at all, and also tells Maki to give up her talent as the Ultimate Assasin because, according to him, girls shouldn't use weapons. In fact, Kaito's beliefs about gender roles were greatly toned down for the English localization of the game (for example, in the original Japanese he asks Korekiyo if he is an "okama", which is japanese slang for a sterotypical gay man, and calls Kokichi a "sissy" for using the honorific "-chan" with all of his classmates.)
      • The killer of chapter 2 and their motive for committing murder: Kirumi Tojo's motive for murdering Ryoma Hoshi is that as the Prime Minister of Japan, the lives of millions of people are worth more to her than the ones of her thirteen remaining classmates, who sympathize with her but still find her actions inexcusable nonetheless. While this is understandable for a Japanese audience, who are taught to respect politicians and see them as figures of authority, this doesn't translate well in other countries, especially in American and European ones, where politicians are disrespected by the population in general and are usually the subject of criticism and mockery. It doesn't help much that Kirumi tells her classmates to spare her in order for her to serve the country, as politicians putting themselves above others is one of the reasons why they are looked down upon by the general public in western countries.
  • Dead Rising 2 has a lengthy plot about how Phenotrans is keeping life-saving medicine from the public due to the cost exceeding the benefits from giving it. This is just plain strange to countries where medicine is a government provided service.
  • In Japanese media, crossdressers are sometimes viewed as transgender by a portion of the Western audiences, with Naoto Shirogane from Persona 4 and Chihiro Fujisaki from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc being the most prominent examples of this issue, as a handful of Western fans insist that they are trans despite canon saying otherwise. This is due to misunderstanding their problems in regards to Japanese culture; in Japan, it is extremely important for a person to conform to social norms. If they don't conform enough or act in a way that is against it, they are shamed for it or not taken seriously. Naoto was insecure about her femininity because she wanted to pursue a career in a male-dominated field but knew they would dismiss her skills if they knew she was a girl, so she crossdressed in order to make sure that didn't happen. Chihiro was constantly bullied because he was too frail and shy to be considered a real boy by Japanese standards, and started cross dressing as a means of escape since his personality was seen more proper for a female, not because he identified as such. In fact, dressing up as a girl only worsened Chihiro's insecurity. Both are examples of individuals who couldn't live up to the gender standards of Japan and had to find a way to conform to it instead.
  • Clayfighter 63 1/3 has one fighter named Kung Pow, who looks like a caricature of the Asian stereotype, but is played straight. Aside from the typical squinty eyes, Kung Pow uses woks for one of his attacks, has typical kung fu acrobatics, and pulls out a Chinese carton of food when he wins and asks if it's to stay or to go. While no one would have batted an eye to the stereotype in 1997 when the game was released, looking back on it in today's time makes the whole character be seen as terribly racist or the developers simply not thinking things through when they designed the character.
  • The entire God of War franchise can be enjoyed by non-western players despite the constant use of symbolism and imagery regarding the Greek Gods (and Norse Gods in God of War (PS4), thanks to them already being characterized in game and lore tidbits. But the plot twist at the end of the PS4 entry revealing that Loki is Atreus's true name, the Child Hero and son of Kratos you've been following up until now, is insignificant to non-western players since they may not know about Loki's nature the same way they'd know about myth and legend in their own culture. However anyone familiar with the Marvel Universe or watching Marvel Cinematic Universe movies would know Marvel's version of Loki, and could make the connection.
  • The Tower of Druaga. The game boasts a 60-dungeon floor with many treasures to uncover, many of which are required or else the game becomes much harder at best and Unwinnable by Design at worst. The treasures often have absolutely obtuse requirements for revealing them, and just to make matters worse, some treasures actually hinder the player despite their obscure requirements. The game was a hit in its native country of Japan, but failed to find an audience in Western territories, especially the US. Part of the reason it succeeded in Japan is that Japanese gaming communities tend to be more communal; players at arcades will often exchange strategies to help benefit each other, and some arcades will have guestbooks for customers to write in, often to discuss these strategies. By watching others play, one could learn how to unlock each floor's respective treasure without having to commit a lot of Trial-and-Error Gameplay; in the 80's, well before the age of the Internet as an affordable service, discussing with and watching other players at the arcade was the only way to finish the game if you didn't subscribe to magazines or the like. The idea of arcades being places where players socialize is somewhat lost on Westerners, save for scattered pockets of Fighting Game players, Rhythm Game players, and pinball players, and on top of that, there is the commonly-Western idea that using guides and others' playthroughs to facilitate one's own progress in a video game is a sign of weakness.
    • Averted in Seattle, WA, where arcades are not only places for socialization, but there are chairs, tables, benches, and often even bars to encourage socialization. People from Seattle are often disappointed when they visit arcades elsewhere in the country and learn that they are not intended for socialization, at least where the games are located.
  • Duke Nukem Forever has humor dissonance thanks to its decade of Development Hell. The previous games of the early nineties were considered funny and the eponymous character was a fresh take on a video game protagonist rather than being a faceless, voiceless space marine. However, when Forever came out, Duke's dialogue, humor, and the overall tone of the game felt wildly out of date, since the things that once made the franchise, the gameplay, and the title character seem so outrageous and innovative had become commonplace and unsurprising, and things that seemed hilarious in the 90s were considered unfunny at best and unpleasant at worst.
  • 7 Sins, which is probably the closest thing in Europe and Brazil to an eroge, features an interesting set of this when it comes to erotic content in gaming (read: softcore sex scenes). PEGI (which covers Western Europe) and USK (which covers Germany) gave it a 16+ rating while the BBFC (which covers the United Kingdom) gave it an 18+ rating. It seems that the UK has quite different ideas from the rest of Europe when sexual expression is concerned.
  • Killer7 has high ratings in most of the world (in the US it got an M and in Europe it got an 18+), but in Japan it was so controversial that it has gotten a Z rating after some of its scenes were censored. This is one of the few cases where a Japanese game is less offensive to foreigners than it is to Japanese themselves.
  • Fire Emblem Fates:
    • The Western release had its skinship feature removed, with Nintendo openly stating the change was due to values dissonance between what is considered acceptable in Japan vs. what is considered acceptable in North America. It didn't stop many fans from protesting the removal and other changes as unnecessary censorship.
    • Additionally, the fact that Fates features a bisexual protagonist with two same-sex options was seen as quaint (and in some cases, not good enough) by Western gamers, since same-sex romance options are a fairly common feature of franchises like Mass Effect and Dragon Age. However, this was indeed quite Japan, which is actually not as LGBT friendly as some people like to believe. Meanwhile, Forrest is mocked in the west for his appearance, even though that isn't seen as controversial in Japan.
    • The localization itself - with the amount of innuendo, amount of stuff that slipped past the ESRB, and the fact that there are openly bisexual characters that remained intact, it's somewhat surprising to believe that this game got away with a "T" rating and as much intact, especially given that even as recently as 2005, many would have been bowdlerized a far deal more.
    • The fact that the game pushes a pair of cousins (the Male Avatar and Azura) as Implied Love Interests for each other. This is actually a double-whammy of Values Dissonance: first-cousin marriage is legal in parts of America, but it tends to get side-eyed more than it does in the rest of the world, which considers such a thing perfectly fine. Marrying one's cousin was also not that uncommon in the medieval ages, the time period the game is set in. Asugi and Midori, whose fathers are brothers, can also get married, and in what may partially be an oversight, it's possible for characters to marry their father's sister's child.note  This was also in Fire Emblem Awakening wherein Owain and Lucina can still S support despite being cousins. The localisation says that they are "Companions" rather than husband and wife, and the support is far less romantic in nature. This does not apply if Owain reaches an S support with Kjelle or Cynthia, if their father is Chrom.
    • Elise, Sakura, and Hayato are implied to be between 12-15 years old, yet they can marry and have children. This wouldn't be out of place in the timeframe the game takes place in (when people could be married off at that age and where teen mothers weren't uncommon) but everywhere else it comes off as Squick worthy. The localisation also made sure to point out that yes, Elise, Sakura, and Hayato are legally adults by the standards of the fictional universe while not mentioning what those standards are. Nyx's own appearance as well dramatically up-plays that she is not a child. Corrin is similarly able to be made to look very young, but will be stated to be an adult.
    • The child characters are implied to be teenagers or very young adults. While they can't have children (except with Corrin), they can indeed "S" support with others. As above, this is technically legal (and was common) in the timeframe they live in, but in the new tens comes off as illegal or chock full of Unfortunate Implications. The localisation avoids this by having their supports be more platonic in nature and in some cases, ends with them deciding to go out with one another rather than get married.
    • Hisame was seen as a no-nonsense serious person who was considered somewhat boring, not even being The Comically Serious... but one gag in Japan was his hobby of pickling vegetables. Why was it a gag? Because that was him acting like an "old man". In the west? That would just make people confused. Hisame acting like an "old man" is referenced in his last words upon being permanently killed, a reference that makes less sense without the context.
    "I lived my life as an old man…and now I’ll die like one, too. Urgh..."
  • The Longest Journey was made in 1999 and 2000, and it was rated "M". Playing it today, you would actually be wondering why it is rated "M", as any violence, gore, and innuendo is what the ESRB actually allows in a game rated "T" today.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VI is remarked upon for its strong female characters, who still stand up as such today. Unfortunately, it also has multiple heroic male characters who are sexually violent or possessive towards women, with this being played as a charming mild flaw (child-flirting Edgar, celebrity stalker/kidnapper Setzer). This was accepted as a normal trope in pulpy fantasy fiction in Japan in 1994, and at the time signalled a Darker and Edgier, Hotter and Sexier tone that averted the Politically Correct History of previous Final Fantasy settings. Nowadays it comes across as being quite awful. Even Squaresoft felt embarrassed about it, to the point where an intentional goal for Final Fantasy VII was to make it less sexist.
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • On the stairs in the Shinra HQ, Tifa casually insults Barret's intelligence by calling him a 'retard', as was commonplace at the time the game was produced. Nowadays, the word is considered an extremely offensive and discriminatory slur, and totally unacceptable for usage in conversation. It especially jumps out because, in the rest of the game, Tifa is the exact kind of person who'd be horrified at someone using a slur like that.
      • In the original game, Cloud gets to go through a load of bizarre sexual events in the Red Light District in order to get items to disguise himself as a woman so he can Honey Trap a man who is 'not into men'. The sequence has a strong LGBT Fanbase that regards it as Camp, but it's also full of jokes sneering at Cloud's humiliation by taking a female gender role. In Final Fantasy VII Remake, Cloud instead disguises himself as a woman with the help of a sexy Camp Gay cabaret dancer who dances to "gay anthem" pop with him before telling him that "notions of gender do not apply", and Corneo is clearly aware Cloud has a male body and isn't bothered by it. The writers said they regretted the things they wrote out of ignorance in the mid-90s, and had been talking to people from community groups to make the sequence more respectful, though they wanted it to still be funny.
      • In Final Fantasy VII Remake, one quest has an old man with bad legs ask Cloud to go into the graveyard and kill a monster there so he can mourn his wife. Cloud does this, but then asks the man to return the key to its owner elsewhere in town. The man is offended by this, pointing out he just told Cloud about his bad legs, and Cloud says he'd return the key "for 5000" (significantly more money than Cloud made doing an act of terrorism at the beginning of the game). In Japan, this is meant to be understood as Cloud subtly encouraging the man to pull himself together and stand up on his own two feet - the Quest progress description in the menu suggests Cloud's harsh words drove the old man to snap himself out of his depression - but in the West, it came across to many players as Cloud bullying a disabled person.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, Rinoa and Squall's courtship seems rather unromantic to American gamers. The characters do not say "I love you" or do anything remotely couple-y (although they do kiss in the final scene) - which is in keeping with Japanese attitudes to public displays of affection.
    • In Final Fantasy IX, many critics and analysts note that the game's central themes (the inevitability of death, duty versus personal aspirations, conformity versus individuality, and having a place to belong) are all expressions of important Japanese cultural mores. Zen Buddhism is centered around the inevitability of death and how one should live in the meantime (represented by Vivi and the mages). The Pillars of Moral Character are about how one juggles a divide between personal feelings and duty (represented by Dagger, Steiner and Freya). Zen Buddhism, Neo-Confucianism and Shintoism are largely about knowing one's place in the world and how an aggressive ego leads to suffering for oneself and others (represented by Kuja), while over-conformity leaves one soulless (represented by Garland). Japanese society in general is based on in-group culture, where everyone needs a place to belong and can both achieve more and live happiest once they've found a place to fit in (represented by Zidane, Eiko and Amarant). For these reasons, FFIX is very poignant and beloved in its native Japan while in the Anglosphere, the reception to it was a bit more mixed and some of the characters and messages (Zidane, Garnet and Kuja especially) are interpreted a little differently. In particular, Western audiences tend to think of Kuja's fear of losing his soul as being akin to losing out on an afterlife from a Christian perspective. In comparison to the principally Shintoist Japan, Western fans can very much relate to doing anything it takes to save your eternal soul.
    • Final Fantasy X:
      • The entire Tidus/Jecht relationship, which goes a long way towards why fans in the US and Japan think differently about our main character. In Japan, hating your father is a huge deal, because of how much importance is placed on family ties in what is a heavily Confucian-influenced society (which places loyalty to one's family above all). In the US, it's seen as just someone with "daddy issues".
      • Also, Tidus's childhood abuse. While obviously neither side supports it, in Japan people are told to "stay out of it" when finding evidence of such things, and as a result a lot of children suffer in what has been found to be an epidemic problem in the country. This probably made Tidus's character a lot more relatable to Japanese players.
  • Animal Crossing
    • Several Animal Crossing games feature a hat called the "Warbonnet", which is a Native American headdress. In America, wearing them if you're not Native American has become a hot topic in the 2010s due to it being seen as cultural appropriation by many. It seems Nintendo knows this as well, as the 2015 game Splatoon has a Dummied Out headdress hat which is presumed to be deleted due to controversies surrounding headdresses. The two series are from the same team so it's possible future Animal Crossing games will not include the Warbonnet accessory.
    • If your avatar is female, Kapp'n, whose role in all the games he's being in is to take you to certain locations, will flirt with you. This becomes much more unconfortable as time goes on due to the increasement of awareness of sexual harassment towards women. Possibly because of this, Kapp'n's flirting is toned down after Animal Crossing: New Leaf, and he is now depicted as married and with a daughter.
    • The English localization of the original Nintendo 64 game has become notorious in later years due to some of the villagers' treatment of the player bordering on World of Jerkass. Villagers tend to get upset over the smallest things and will insult you as a result, with cranky and snooty villagers in particular coming out as flat-out bullies at times. Some of their insults also seem to imply that they think of you as mentally disabled (with some examples being "freak mental case" and "mental runt of the litter"), which would definitely not go unnoticed if the game was released today. Given how nice and friendly the villagers are in later installments of the series, it can be shocking to see this kind of language in an Animal Crossing game.
    • Another example from the original game. In the Japanese version, Gracie, the fashion designer giraffe, is male, yet is still presented as effeminate and with a deep male voice. Some villagers will quiz the player on her "real" name, with the correct answer being "Nabenosuke" (figuratively "saucy woman"; "nabe" means "saucepan", but "onabe" is a slang term for women with gender dysphoria that is often viewed as derogatory). The English localization censored this by making Gracie female, changing her "real" name from "Nabenosuke" to "Gretchen Grunch", and giving her the female voice of snooty villagers from Animal Crossing: Wild World onwards. Gracie's gender is still kept as male in Japanese and Korean versions of the games, though.
  • Splatoon 2:
  • A lot of early marketing for the early Mortal Kombat games featured teenagers or even preteens despite the games being notoriously gory. Likewise, almost all adaptations (including the movie and cartoon) were toned down and aimed at a young audience. Modern advertising aims the games exclusively at adults. They would never get away with implying youth can buy the games like they did in the 1990s, especially with how the violence has become less cartoony and over-the-top than it originally was. In fact, Mortal Kombat is one of the reasons the ESRB system was even created in the first place.
  • Final Fantasy: All the Bravest was not exactly a critical hit in Japan, but it was not reviled at the level it was in the west. All the Bravest is centered around DLC characters, which are randomly selected after you purchase it. There is a chance you could get duplicates, and you are not compensated if you do. Outside of Asia, this created an outrage, with reviewers and players seeing the game as a shameless money grab and a roll of the dice, especially since downloadable content itself is divisive in North America, Australia, and Europe, and the microtransactions common in mobile gaming even more so.note  That is, outside of Asia, All the Bravest was considered a way for Square to wring as much money out of their fans as possible with little to no gameplay benefit. In Japan and nearby countries, however, it was seen as a natural digital extension of the Gachapon and UFO Catcher machines found everywhere there, which dispense random display figures, and they didn't see a problem in randomly-allocated characters you have to pay for. It certainly didn't help that the gameplay was totally brain-dead (just run your finger up and down the screen endlessly to have your units attack.)
    • Society Marches On eventually and critical hit games like Granblue Fantasy and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive features such randomization as one of the main gameplay mechanic. Though for CSGO (and several other Steam games), it's limited to cosmetic items only, and such "hobby shops" mechanic are integrated to the Steam client itself as the Community Market.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • In The Legend of Zelda, the third dungeon is in the shape of a Manji, which is sometimes called a reverse swastika. While the Manji itself has a more religious meaning, most western players saw it as the swastika used by the Nazis. On the subject of religion, the game and its sequel have the holy cross symbol on Link's shield and on the gravestones found in the graveyard. The Magic Book item not only had a cross on it as well, but it was called a Bible in the Japanese version. Originally, the games were going to feature Christianity as the main religion everyone followed, but the idea was changed to having fictional gods. While Japanese games usually have no problem using religious references and characters, they are widely seen as taboo for Nintendo games due to the main audience being young children. The cross idea was dropped by The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, but the Japanese version still referenced gods and the title was called Triforce of the Gods instead of A Link to the Past. By The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, characters and text talking about goddesses and gods were done more freely in the English version since there were no real life religions or symbols being used.
    • The portrayal of Gerudo in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time has been subject to scrutiny since the 1990s. They're the Arabic-inspired main antagonists against the predominantly white Hylians. Though it's stated that Ganondorf conned his people, and one of the Sages is a Gerudo who disagrees with Ganondorf, this doesn't stop the Gerudo from being depicted as sneaky thieves. They're also dressed as oversexualized Bedlah Babes and it's implied they have One Night Stand Pregnancies with Hylians. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, released two decades later, fixes much of the dissonance. Gerudo are a benevolent ally to the Hyrulean Royal Family and aren't thieves anymore. Though still Bedlah Babes, they're less sexualized and more emphasis is put on portraying them as a culture. It's also shown that they marry Hylians, rather than just using them to reproduce.
  • The Update 1.10 of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe removed an Inkling Girl gesture due to this. The Bicep-Polishing Gesture was edited into a fist bump by removing the part where she grabs her arm. In Japan it's just an excited gesture, but in many regions it's an offensive gesture.
  • The 3DS version of Dragon Quest VIII had some people (mostly in the US) complain that it was "censored" because of a few scenes being changed, as well as some of Jessica's outfits that were made to cover up more skin compared to the original version on the PS2. Nintendo actually didn't have anything to do with these. This was actually because what CERO deemed acceptable in 2004 for an "All ages" game was different than in 2016 - Nintendo meanwhile didn't care, they were happy to allow it to maintain its "T" and "PEGI 12" ratings.
  • Catherine:
    • The primary motivation for the nightmares being experienced by men is to weed out men who won't marry and father children, with the main argument being that the world is undergoing an underpopulation crisis. This may make sense in Japan, which is known for its aging population and low fertility rate (and the idea is present in some other countries as well, such as Poland), but this entire premise can come off as laughable in the rest of the world; many countries experience the exact opposite problems with people having far more kids than they can support thus leading to major strains on population-sustaining infrastructure.
    • The nightmares affect men who are not willing to have children. Problem is, a trans woman character also experiences those nightmares... Which may be intentional, as no ending really paints the nightmare system as a fair or effective way to help the population. That said, the game has received some complaints over its treatment of the trans character, such as her so-called friends (particularly Vincent) insinuating she's not a "real" woman, and getting uncomfortable with the idea of her dating Toby, behaviour that make them feel a lot less sympathetic.
    • A more minor example, but the size of Vincent's apartment is subject to this. In Japan, where the game was made, it's a fairly standard size for an apartment. However, in the West such an apartment would be considered way too small even for someone living alone like him. It's even more strange considering the game is intended to take place in the United States, where most standard apartments include at least one or two bedrooms.
  • The use of Blackface is an extremely sensitive topic. In Japan, it's a non-issue and it's freely used in many games. For everyone else, blackface is extremely offensive and are edited to be less obvious. One example is the character Oil Man in Mega Man Powered Up who had pink puffy lips and a dark blue face, which was very close to the blackface stereotype. The character also had shades of Uncle Tomfoolery, which did not help matters. The international version of the game changed the color scheme to be less close to the blackface stereotype, but the characterization didn't change.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In Japan, Birdo is a gag transgender character named "Catherine" (but she prefers being called "Cathy"). This was used in Super Mario Bros. 2, but over the years the English translations change between keeping her as explicitly trans and keeping it ambiguous. With trans people becoming increasingly accepted in many countries, Birdo has also had a different issue come up: her gender tends to be treated as a joke and she's consistently referred to by her species name instead of her preferred name, Birdetta. As a result, Nintendo of America typically leaves out the "she prefers being called Birdetta" part of her character.
    • The Japanese version of Super Mario World allows Yoshi to eat dolphins, harmless creatures that only appear in a single level. Likely because of the controversy of dolphin hunting internationally (though possibly also because it could make the level unwinnable), this was removed in other regions.
  • Ms. Fanservice Tawna was Put on a Bus after the original Crash Bandicoot due to her design being deemed too sexualized. She's lost her edge since the 1990s, and these days there isn't much inappropriate about her design for a kids' game. In the trilogy's remakes, she appears with minimal changes, and is even Promoted to Playable in Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled and Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time.
  • While most racing games, even the infamously violent Burnout has largely an Everyone (or E10+ at worst) rating in ESRB, or 3+ or 7+ in Europe, racing games in Japan are generally split between closed circuit racing games and street racing in terms of rating. Closed circuit racing games or fantasy racing games (such as Mario Kart) had got an CERO A (All Ages) rating, while street racing games usually got an CERO B (Ages 12 and up) rating.
  • Shenmue II has a barmaid in the British Colony of Hong-Kong thank Ryo for being so honest about being too young to buy alcohol at age 18. For the record, legal age for buying alcohol in Britain (and Hong Kong) is 18, but it's 20 in Japan and 21 in the US.
  • The Sly Cooper series had several issues in the entries that would be a lot harder to outright impossible to get in today:
    • In Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus, Carmelita Fox is constantly objectified in the post mission newspaper stories. Which is somewhat balanced out by her actually being a very effective police officer.
    • Sly 2: Band of Thieves has one job in Episode 3 where the Cooper Gang steals an Indian ruby from the temple the Arc Villain is hiding in and sells it to the black market, in exchange for a tool for the heist. In the current decade, it would be impossible to depict the selling of a cultural artifact on the black market in a remotely positive light.
    • Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves has the Guru being portrayed as a magical Aborigine who is in touch with nature, possesses supernatural powers and does not speak English, though the other characters can still understand him. These stereotypes of Indigenous peoples would be very hard to put into a kid's game today.
  • In 2020, Vice took a look back at game ads from two decades earlier and took note of the role they played in, possibly, fostering the toxic gaming culture that had become a serious problem by then. Some of them are truly cringeworthy by today's standards:
    • An ad for ChuChu Rocket! features supposed gamers talking trash about each other, with rants like this that would get whoever said it banned from most platforms today:
      I stuck a cat in your rocket, you backass Tuscaloosa cracker. He's in there chewing your mice. But you probably eat mice yourself when you run out of possum, you monster truck-loving, buck-toothed hillbilly. And you other two mentally challenged dopes. Hang up, I won.
    • Sega promoted with a "Cyberbullets" campaign that suggested it could prevent real-world violence by redirecting it online. Sample copy:
      I used to take out my bullets, and on each one I would write the name of each person on my bus. Then a friend showed me I could purge my violent urges in Net Fighter on against other people. Thanks to Heat, the people on my bus will never know how close they came.
    • Ironically, ChuChu Rocket! itself displays several netiquette warnings before playing online, in complete contrast to its ad.
      Caution: when you are online...
      You'll be playing with people you don't know so remember to be polite.
      Many people may be reading your comments.
      Please do not use offensive language.
  • In Hotel Dusk: Room 215, Melissa, a ten year old, invites Kyle, a grown man, into her hotel room to keep her company while her father's gone. Kyle goes along with it without worrying about being Mistaken for Pedophile, and when her father comes back, he's upset, but for reasons other than what a stranger might have been doing with his daughter unsupervised. The game is set in the 70s, but in modern day America the situation would be viewed with a lot of suspicion.
  • Game & Watch: Nintendo did a lot of things that they would probably never get away with now with the exception of rereleases.
    • Fire Attack features stereotypical Savage Indians as the antagonists, which is something that has become much less acceptable as time has gone by. Nintendo preemptively edited the feathers off of their heads in Game & Watch Gallery 4 to make them appear more like generic bandits. Later, when Nintendo tried to include an homage to the characters with one of Mr. Game & Watch's moves in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, they received complaints that it was racist, which prompted them to apologize and alter the move in a Day 1 patch for the game to match its Gallery 4 depiction.
    • Mario's Bombs Away has Mario (yes, that Mario) fighting in The Vietnam War, with someone visibly smoking. This is available as an unlockable minigame in Gallery 4.
    • In Donkey Kong Circus, Mario forces Donkey Kong to juggle pineapples and dodge fireballs while balancing on a barrel. The miss animation even depicts Mario laughing at DK. Fat chance getting away with that now that the general public has turned against animal cruelty in circuses.
  • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years has among its cast White Magician Girl Porom. Her outfit is a sheer dress that is nearly transparent and Porom does not appear to wear underwear underneath it. In Japan, this outfit would emphasize her virtue and purity. In America...not so much. It was censored in America to be peach-colored.
  • Boong-Ga Boong-Ga is a game about performing Kancho (a prank where you sneak up behind someone, make a Finger Gun, and jam it into their rear) on a character of your choosing. To the Japanese and Korean players this game was originally made for, it's childish and lighthearted. To those who aren't familiar with this practice, it's sexual assault. This may be why the Western release puts more emphasis on spanking the fake butt protruding from the arcade cabinet, rather than poking it directly in the anal region.
  • Tekken: In the past, Lee has received a lot of dislike from Western players, as so many people perceived him as Camp Straight or even Mistaken for Gay because of his very feminine manners and bright costumes. Such an attitude arose because of the fact that, that in Japan there are different from the West view of men's beauty and Chick Magnet consider a rather feminine man with a gentle appearance, while the Western ideal is considered rather rude.
  • Yakuza: Given that this is a series about members of highly traditional and conservative Japanese organizations, some culture clash, even with contemporary Japanese culture (let alone Western culture) is all but given.
    • A big one that comes up several times in the first game is corporeal punishment in regards to children, with two young girls getting slapped by their respective father figures for what essentially amounts to backtalk. To Western audiences, this should have been enough to send both characters careening past the Moral Event Horizon, but in Japan, where corporeal punishment is much less of a deal and disrespecting your elders much more of one, it passed without comment.
    • Majima's introductory scene in 0 contains another prime example. A brutish man who turns out to be a high-powered executive, gropes a hostess, full on hand-in-bra, and assaults two staff members who attempt to stop him. However, as he is being carted off to the police, Majima maneuvers him into agreeing to paying for drinks for the club instead, stating that he does not wish to see a customer made a criminal, and also pays a bonus to the hostess. To a Westerner, the only thing in this scene that is comprehensible is Majima's desire to make money, which he inevitably will, given that the club is drinking on someone else's dime. However, that someone who attacked multiple employees would be allowed to just walk... simply wouldn't happen. Japan, however, has a significantly higher tolerance for drunken stupidity (according to legend, it is completely acceptable to punch your boss, provided you are drunk enough to forget it in the morning and apologize when someone tells you) and a much lower tolerance for police involvement. A man at that social level who was arrested, let alone tried and convicted, would be fired immediately to preserve the company's reputation, and be unemployable as anything other than a menial. Meanwhile, a hostess is very emphatically not a prostitute, and those kinds of services are not for sale, but being groped by a customer who is drunk and handsy is one of the risks of the job, and receiving monetary compensation from your employer for it would be considered quite generous.
    • In Yakuza 2 the police chief casually mentions that no civilian, even an ex-cop Private Detective like Date, has any business owning and carrying a firearm. An attitude like that would be political suicide even in the most left-leaning parts of the US, and a bit excessive in most of the rest of the world.
      • Also in Yakuza 2, Kiryu and Ryuji choose to duke it out once and for all at the end. This is in spite of both of them suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, the building being set to blow, and Kaoru pleading for them to not go through with it. To honor-bound Japanese men who believe they are running out of time, wanting to die at the hands of a Worthy Opponent makes perfect sense, but to the rest of the world it comes across as both men being willing to die for the sake of completely worthless and unnecessary macho posturing.
    • Yakuza 3: The whole orphanage subplot was heavily disliked by most western audiences, who saw it as needless filler in their serious crime drama. In Japan, however, where families and families' status are extremely important and orphans are heavily discriminated against, the ways and differences in how the kids, Kiryu and the Big Bad deal with their respective orphan status and the social stigma that follows with it is considered one of the most important themes in the game.
    • Yakuza 4: In most of the world, the Dirty Cop is a staple character in crime dramas. However Japanese culture, with its extremely high emphasis on respect for authority and social cohesion, makes portraying corrupt police officials at all highly controversial. Yakuza 4 ups the ante even more by making corrupt cops not only villains, but makes one, Masayoshi Tanimura, a playable protagonist and invites players to sympathize with him while participating in his corruption.
      • A meta-example related to the above, Tanimura's voice actor Hiroki Narimiya was fired from the series and the character quietly written out after Narimiya was accused of having used cocaine. Narimiya was tried and acquitted of all charges against him (something which, in the Japanese legal system, simply does not happen), but in Japan the fact that the accusation had been made at all was enough that he needed to be fired in order to preserve the company's reputation. In most of the world, a drug charge might be serious enough to get an actor fired, but a mere accusation would just be laughed out of the building.
    • Yakuza 5: Several Idol Singers are forced to abandon their singing careers for reasons like being half-Korean, being sexually active or having familial connections to organized crime. In the Western world, where it is not unknown for people with multiple criminal convictions to maintain careers in entertainment, most of these things would be ignored, decried for rampant hypocrisy (given how deep the yakuza's ties to the Japanese music world are), or at worst raise a minor stink until the tabloids move on to the next juicy tidbit. However, the idol scene takes Contractual Purity Up to Eleven, and girls who are found in any way less than the pinnacle of virginal Japanese womanhood will quickly find themselves replaced by the next batch of hopefuls.
    • Yakuza: Like a Dragon: Masato Arakawa's self-loathing is quite strange to many people in the world. Granted, being wheelchair-bound is not something anyone would want, and I Just Want to Be Normal is a common and powerful enough motivation to be its own trope. Still, the sheer depths of his self-hatred and resentment, and the lengths he is willing to go to in order to get out of his wheelchair, are staggering to most of the world. In Japan, where people with physical disabilities were considered perfectly Acceptable Targets for public ridicule well into the 2010s (and, as of 2021, still are to an appalling extent), and that Japan didn't ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities until 2014, it becomes a lot more both understandable and poignant.
  • Chrono Trigger from 1995 endures as a timeless classic, but the "Dream Team" ending features Author Avatars commenting about the amount of crunch they went through developing the game, joking about how much weight they've lost and how they've prematurely aged. Crunch culture (i.e. unpaid overtime for a lengthy time period to meet a deadline) has since become recognised as a serious problem in the video game industry, and such a thing would not be discussed lightly nowadays.


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