Nintendo of America has always been strict with their games’ censorship policy, both textual and graphic. Everything that was accepted in Japan as something that is not a problem for children to see was toned down when it reached the US audience. Minor insults were replaced by softer, more family friendly statements, edited graphics in the 8-bit and 16-bit era often covered minor instances of nudity, religious symbols and anything that anyone could find offensive was edited into rainbows and flowers. Some of the most memorable examples of these edits include “You spoony bard!” and “Son of a submariner!”, lines from the games Final Fantasy IV and VI respectively. Created in an attempt to tone down the profanity that was present in the original Japanese scripts, these lines became so popular with the fans that Square Enix, the company behind the Final Fantasy games, decided to keep some of them in the remade and re-translated versions of the games 15 and more years later.
But one curious and overlooked case of censorship that was omitted in some non-English localizations is the German version of the 1993′s, original, Link’s Awakening. Namely, if you were curious enough and liked to explore every possibility of interaction in the game, or simply had loads of free time and accidentally stumbled upon these, you would be surprised at first, then laugh at some lines and graphics edits.
Apparently, the German version translator, Claude M. Moyse managed to slip a few phrases in the game that were not the kind that Nintendo of America would allow to appear in a Game Boy game at the time. Along with those, there are a few graphical items that were left unedited from the original Japanese version, but were edited in most localizations.
- A Buzz Blob, when sprinkled with Magic Powder, talks to you if you go near it and press the A button. There are a few, Easter egg lines, this enemy says that are quite different from the ones found in the English release of the game, including “NIE OHNE KONDOM” (NEVER WITHOUT A CONDOM) and “STOP THE WAR! GIVE PEACE A CHANCE!”
- The item Pearl Necklace, that is required to go through the final dungeon of the game is a “Bikini-Oberteil” (Bikini Top), unedited from the Japanese version
- In a house in the Animal Village (Zoodorf in the German version) the model hippo is uncensored, as it stands naked for a brief moment when Link enters the house (and has human-like breasts on top of that), then quickly wraps itself in a towel
- Bonus music that can be heard when starting a new game the player enters their name as “ZELDA” has another special tune in the German version when player enters “MOYSE”, which is the last name of the German localization translator, Claude M. Moyse
These uncensored details, though as not as popular as the aforementioned Final Fantasy counterparts, are loved by the fans who know about them enough that a patch for the color version of the game, Link’s Awakening DX, was made to enable this unedited content in the color version. This is because Link’s Awakening DX release was based on the US release of the original in all regions, with some of its own edits, that some fans disliked.
Since Nintendo of Europe headquarters was (and still is) located in Großostheim, a market community near Frankfurt, they received the Japanese version of the original game and did their edits and translation based on it. The UK version of the game is basically the US version (since it was already translated to English, there was no need to do it again) with minor tweaks, but not as uncensored as the German version, who definitely won this round in the non-Japanese localizations category.