The video game industry has contributed much to pop culture during the years it’s been around. According to one survey taken in the 1990s, Mario was more recognizable than Mickey Mouse to American kids. As of 2016, gaming is widely considered to be a $100 billion industry, which means plenty of people are buying and playing games. Even so, only the most massive video games break through and become widely known outside of gamer circles. And with so many games coming and going each year, there’s a lot non-gamers miss. Take these gaming references, for instance.
Unless you’re a dedicated gamer, or at least have dabbled in video games at some point in your life, there’s a good chance you’re unfamiliar with the phrases below. So check them out and see how many you can identify before reading about their origins.
1. A winner is you
Japanese developers are responsible for many of the best games ever created. So when the games go international, they have to be translated. Nowadays, lots of money and effort is put into localizing major video games for international markets, but that wasn’t always the case. Translation wasn’t a top priority for some game developers, which led to some hilarious mistranslations in any number of classic games.
One of the most famous examples comes from the 1986 NES game Pro Wrestling. When you win a match, your character raises his arms in triumph and the phrase “A WINNER IS YOU” appears on the screen. Clearly the developers failed to run the translation by a native English speaker — and the world is a more charming place because of it.