This went on longer than expected, so this will be split into several parts.
While most people go about collecting novelties such as bubblegum wrappers, baseball stickers, bottlecaps, cereal box tops, and comic pamphlets, I used to spend my time collecting Fansubbed Anime lyrics. When I attended my Anime club, I would have to endure waiting for the shows to start since they didn’t fast-forward during the opening theme songs. I especially became annoyed at the ending lyrics for the first season of Flame of Recca. (Who! Love is changing everytime!) But like a catchy jingle in Seinfeld, the lyrics that became immensely annoying to me at first, became endearing over time. (Cost-zanza!) Then I got the idea of writing down these lyrics so I’d be able to keep them for posterity. I don’t have any lingering attachment to most music, so remembering Anime opening/ending themes is the closest thing to MTV videos to me.
Only trouble was, the only time I was able to see these lines was at the beginning and end of the episodes, so I had to write down what I could remember from memory, then double-check... in the dark. There were early hazards such as my pen not writing, running out of room on my paper and having to go to the bathroom. This got slightly easier when I was able to borrow some of these tapes back home so I could be doubly sure that I was writing the correct lines as well as commas and punctuation marks. But since I was limited to a certain amount of tapes I could take out, I had to plan ahead carefully. Not to mention that other members might’ve been just as interested in the same titles as I was. Therefore, I tried to copy as much as I could before
and only borrowed the titles I really wanted to
This was made slightly trickier if they showed a release from a different translation team, which would have varying quality. I was particularly dismayed when they showed a Chinese translation, which in addition to using unusual names I wasn’t used to, the subtitles flashed by too quickly, and clumsy short lines such as “It has done” would be repeated often. Some of these translators would take notorious shortcuts by stealing one particularly good translated opening, but completely disregarding the script, preferring to do the translation on their own.
All this is just a prelude to the real meat of this post, which is lines from video games. It occured to me that just as there were catchy songs in Anime, so too were there memorable lines in V-games.
One of the first projects I concentrated on was writing down all the awkward clunky dialogue in Xardion. This wouldn’t be too hard in itself, since most of them repeated themselves when you replayed a level, but they disappeared after a certain point. It got particularly annoying at the penultimate level where there’s a long stream of conversation, and if you missed out on a particular line, you’d have to start out all over from the beginning. That means having to level up all your characters up again so they’d have a fighting chance against the bosses. (I always had trouble against the crab)
What made this harder was that my TV was slightly curved at the bottom, so I couldn’t read everything at once. I compensated for this by adjusting the vertical hold, until the screen was perfectly halfway between levels. Nowadays, it’s slightly easier with emulators and savepoints, but there was none of that back then.
When RARE was still working for Nintendo, they were responsible for some memorable games in their library. In addition to their games being incredibly tough, they also deserved their replayabity by having various different dialogues that would show up at random. I spent a lot of time writing down all the rhymes in Banjo-Kazooie, some of which were only spoken by Gruntilda when you let the clock run out on a timer. Naturally, this disappears when you get the prize, so chances are most of them have never been seen before.
One of the most original features was that every five minutes or so in her castle, Gruntilda would spout off a random saying to the bear and bird. After several hours of waiting around, I came up with the following. If there’s anything I’ve missed, let me know.
I don’t like stairs much in my lair,
They always make me gasp for air!
My filthy bed gives me a rash,
I never wash, I save my cash!
My belly’s big, its rather neat,
It’s years since I have seen my feet!
Long of tooth and stong of arm,
Grunty’s got the lasting charm!
Grunty admits she’s a hog,
I really need a big hot dog!
Tooty says she’s fine with me,
If you go home, I’ll set her free!
Tooty’s fate is looking grim,
It’s because her brother’s dim!
When Tooty is a big old lump,
I’ve just the frock to hide her rump!
Grunty’s legs and stomach thins,
Goodbye to all those double chins!
When I’m nice and slim once more,
Burgers, fries and chips galore!
Grunty’s plan is rather cunning,
When I’m thin, guys will come running!
I’ve got this skirt so when I’m thinner,
It really makes me look a winner!
My next world is the hardest yet,
And you’ll fail on that I’ll bet!
Hey Banjo, you’re looking glum,
It must be hard, being so dumb!
How bright they are, your stupid shorts,
A target for my dumb cohorts!
Monsters chase you, they’re a hounding,
Then you’ll get a Grunty pounding!
Your feathered buddy, that you’ve brung,
Useless like a pile of dung!
Join me now and dump the bear,
That little backpack I will wear!
That ugly bear, you feathered freak,
Is nothing but a stupid geek!
I can see its quite hard work,
To lump around that squawking jerk!
You side with Banjo but change tack,
Imagine you on Grunty’s back!
It really does sound quite absurd,
Adventure of a bear and bird!
I’ve learned this spell, it’s really neat,
I’ll keep it later for your treat!
Many tricks are up my sleeve,
To save yourself, you’d better leave!
Your butt will tell you, and you’ll know,
When my boot swings to and fro!
When the back of Grunty’s hand,
Whups your butt, you’ll hardly stand!
This stupid quest you should stop,
You won’t meet me at the top!
If you think I’m rather soft,
I’ll be waiting in the loft!
Can’t you get here any faster?
Come and face me, I’m the master!
I’m still here, I watch you play,
But I can’t think of much to say!
Why do I talk all the time?
It’s really hard to make these rhymes!