Bits & Bytes: His Name is Frogfucius

Thoughts on remakes and censorship this week!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 11/26/2023 16:55 Comment on this     ShareThis

Bits & Bytes is a weekly column where Editor-in-Chief Robert shares his thoughts about video games and the industry on a lazy Sunday. Light reading for a day of rest, Bits & Bytes is short, to the point, and something to read with a nice drink.

Although the remake of Super Mario RPG on Nintendo Switch is more or less faithful to the source material, there are still  numerous noteworthy changes both good and bad that have been made. While most of those changes pertain to gameplay, there’s one egregious alteration that has been stuck in my craw for the past two weeks now: “Frog Sage.” That’s the perplexing new name given to Frogfucius, the elderly frog adoptive grandfather of Mallow.

Now, if you peruse an online forum here and there, Internet scholars will let everyone know that the Japanese name for Frogfucius in the original Super Famicom version of Super Mario RPG is more in line with “Frog Hermit,” thus making “Frog Sage” a much closer and more accurate approximation of blah blah blah.

I don’t care.

His name is Frogfucius and there was no reason to change it.

There are other changes, as well, including to Mallow’s Psychopath ability, which is now called “Thought Peek,” along with other character renames like Mack now being dubbed “Claymorton.” In case I haven’t made this clear in the past, I’m almost 100 percent against censorship in games. Occasionally, I can understand why tweaks are made when a game is localized or rereleased, but the times I find this tolerable are few and far between.

In this case, I’m not saying these alterations are completely about censorship (I mean, the name Mack is obviously harmless… I think). I do believe, however, that these changes are at least in part about sanitizing the content for so-called modern audiences and that they reek of both ignorance and pandering. Sure, some folks will try to claim the goal was for better accuracy in translation and/or clarity, but I don’t buy it.

My consternation with Super Mario RPG is small (overall this remake is wonderful), but nonetheless deserves to be pointed out. I say to the video game industry: stop worrying so much about upsetting people. You will never make everyone happy. Especially those of us who think “Frog Sage” is as bland and sterile a name that could have been chosen. Long live Frogfucius.

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