Tuesday, November 08, 2011

French Cuisine, Via Japan, Via a Video Game

Here is a villain.

I mean, just try to imagine any instance where this guy is not a villain. Go head. Try.

He may not mean much to you, this Waluigi-looking dastard, but he’s the big bad of an eight-bit video game called Panic Restaurant, wherein the ingredients and instruments of an industrial kitchen turn evil in the way that things in video game universes inexplicably do. WHen I played the game, the guy’s name was Ohdove, and I always wondered why someone thought that was a serviceable name for an evil chef. Now I know. According to the Wikipedia page for Panic Restaurant — I was feeling bored and nostalgic, okay? — the guy’s name is supposed to be Hors D’Oeuvre, but the process of taking a French word, rendering it in Japanese and then translating it into English made that completely unrecognizable. Now I know.

A small thing, I’ll admit, but I never get tired of finding out that clunky or meaningless-seeming names from old video games were, in fact, supposed to mean something, and that translation and re-translation obscures meaning but also makes something new.

And that may be the most profound thing I will ever write about Panic Restaurant.

Names and games, previously:


  1. So what does it say about our cultures that makes the hero chef change from a spunky young chef to a Chef Boyardee looking old chef? You should also look at the box art for each game; the US version is much creepier!

    Also, any game with Kenji Eno on the team is awesome.

  2. Gaudy Gamer: That's a good point. The sprite redesign is strange and un-needed and the box art is the stuff of nightmares. And I have to admit that I didn't immediately recognize Eno's name. I do see that he had in Casino Kid 2, which I think was a favorite (unless I'm confusing it with Casino Kid 1). So I'll admit that he's good people.

  3. Anonymous11:34 PM

    His lower torso looks like a butt.

  4. Honestly, I doubt most people would recognize Eno; he's sort of a cult video game figure with a "rock star" personality. But like your linguistic connection, I had the connection of "game I liked as a kid was made by same guy who made games I like now."

  5. I love when you research things like this.

    Off-topic -- do you have an archive of Coin Heaven anywhere? spacepope4u.blogspot.com seems to be dead.