Nintendo Mythology: Mystic Creatures

Kyle explores the creatures from Japanese mythology that have cropped up in Nintendo games over the years.

By Kyle England. Posted 07/06/2012 14:00 2 Comments     ShareThis

You may have read about mythology on Nintendojo before, and that’s because we love exploring the interesting mythological origins of our favorite video games. We really do.

But we’ve barely even scratched the surface when it comes to the bits of mythology tucked away in Nintendo games. Storytellers from all around the world pull from their countries’ respective folklore, and Nintendo is no different. Many Nintendo games are filled with some influence, however slight, from Japanese mythology— we just never paid close enough attention to notice. A huge part of the folklore from the Land of the Rising Sun involves legendary creatures, both sinister and kind, so why don’t we start from there? Crack open those ancient scrolls, because it’s time to look at a few beasts from Japanese legends that are represented throughout the Nintendo canon.

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2 Responses to “Nintendo Mythology: Mystic Creatures”

  • 697 points
    Adam Sorice says...

    Oh I get it, the masthead artwork is Samus Aran! I didn’t piece it all together until I saw the Metroid and shoulder pads! Gorgeous artwork.

    And an excellent article, Kyle! I loved myths of Kitsune as a child, fascinating stuff.

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  • 0 points
    says...

    An excellent article indeed.

    The worlds Nintendo crafts are so full-embodied and three-dimensional, it is often very easy to overlook that much of that magic is influenced by sources that have proven themselves in terms of longevity.

    Being somewhat uninitiated in Japanese culture and folk-lore, it is impressive to see under the magician’s sleeve, so to say. I always thought it absolutely tremendous of all the mythological references Squaresoft used (not Square Enix – more back in the SNES days – even though I’m sure Square Enix does it too) in regards to such titles as Secret of Mana and (especially) Final Fantasy. All the magic-givers were traditional mythology types, with examples such as Undine and Gnome. Then in Final Fantasy, everything from Bahamut to Odin owed it’s allegiance to more European-esque myths and folk-tales.

    Having already known the European counterparts, it made those classic RPG experiences that much richer. Using both worlds I had never seen before -and- worlds I was familiar with created a tremendous experience. I imagine it must have been very similar to all the above mentions in this article that Kyle pointed out if one were a Japanese boy or girl, diving into the worlds of Mario, Animal Crossing, or Pokemon for the first time.

    Tremendous article Kyle. A real refreshing and eye-opening read. Thank you.

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