Mario Bros Anniversary, Nintendo Localization Stumbles

Nintendo is celebrating the 35th anniversary of Super Mario Bros this year, but the game that centers around two fictional Italian plumbers may have run into a language problem.

In homage to its flagship game turning 35 this year, Nintendo has released several Super Mario Bros collector’s items that will be sure to evoke the deepest 80’s nostalgia. Teaming up with with the gaming company, Amazon has already been shipping random orders in limited edition Mario-themed boxes. Likewise, apparel company Champion is collaborating with Nintendo to release a line of Super Mario streetwear, including the signature red overalls, which are also in very limited supply.

Perhaps the most anticipated item, though, is the Game & Watch. The predecessor to the Gameboy, the Game & Watch was the first handheld console. To pay respects to its first successes with handheld gaming, Nintendo has committed to delivering the most authentic experience possible, with some modern twists. From the color palette to the button layout – including the classic D-Pad and minimal controls – the Game & Watch is nearly indistinguishable from the 1980 version, except for a USB charge port and upgraded graphics.

With Nintendo’s meticulous effort to recreate the original experience of handheld gaming, it may be surprising, then, to learn which details went overlooked in the development process. According to, Nintendo botched parts of the localization process in several countries.

First, a glitch occurred on the digital clock application, preventing users from accessing dozens of game options. Additionally, the lyrics for one of the songs in the game are displayed in the wrong languages. Italian, for example, shows up in the German version, but Spanish appears for Italian users. French shows up in the Spanish version, and German in the French version. These appeared to be the only languages in which the mishap occurred. Nintendo has since released an apology to its users who experienced the issue.

This is not the first time this year that Nintendo has found itself in hot water over a botched localization process. Earlier this year, Multilingual Magazine reported on problematic Chinese translations of the recent Paper Mario game. For further insights into the game localization process, go here.

We reached out to Nintendo for a statement and will update this article with any responses we receive.


MultiLingual Staff
MultiLingual creates go-to news and resources for language industry professionals.

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