Videogame facts that blow your mind (SuperMarioBros. SHOCKING SECRET INSIDE p #70)

The story of Sequoyah is famous, isn't it? Inspired by the English-speaking civilization around him, he made up a syllabary for his own language, Cherokee, which enabled his people to become literate. Even today you cad find signs and books in Sequoyah's writing system.

Much less famous is the story of the Vai language and writing system, in Liberia, developed in much the same way by Mɔmɔlu Duwalu Bukɛlɛ (also spelled Momolu Duwalu Bukele; explanation for those 'short e' and 'short o' signs follow). He and his people had been illiterate until he had a dream in which a bearded white man read to him in his own language from a book. When he woke up, he had forgotten what the letters looked like, but the idea had sparked in his head, and he set out making up a symbol for each of the 200-odd syllables that occur in Vai.

Why am I talking about this?

Well, if you've played Assassin's Creed: Liberation (please, no "no, I haven't; no one has a Vita" jokes), you've seen the Vai writing system, though you may not have noticed it when you did.

(Minor Chapter 4 spoilers for ACL follow.)

Aveline is down in Chichen Itzá and has occasion to explore some watery underground caves. We see some Mayan writing on the walls, which is not surprising, but then at the deepest point, we see stone pillars with these inscriptions:



There are two, and they're identical except that parts of one of them are cut off.

Having learned about Vai in grad school when reading Scribned and Cole's The Psychology of Literacy, a study of Vai literacy in Liberia, I recognized the writing right away.

I don't have Vai fonts on my computer, so I can't type them out, but as far as I can tell, it says the following. Note that Vai has the short e, written [ɛ], for the vowel in "pet" or "men", and short o, written [ɔ], for the first vowel in "fall" or "former". There are also nasal vowels, written here with tildes (˜)
over them, and an "ng" sound written phonetically with this ligature ("ŋ"). Otherwise consonants are as in English:

mgba gi gɛ je nde ndi mɔ ya dɔ gɔ
be bo lu gɔ wɛ i go
ya so dɔ wo nyɛ ŋgã

nji gẽ le da ŋgã nji fe cha [three unintelligible glyphs]
nji nde mɔ we mgba [reversed lu]


Here's a better view:



See that Latin-letter ŋgã jumping out at you in the third line? My guess is that the creators were misreading a chart of Vai syllables and didn't notice that the "ŋgã" was the pronunciation of the character below it -- which they also used, in the fourth line.

Specifically, this chart here seems to be the exact one they cribbed from, because it has "ŋgã" in just the right font, and the "go" at the end of the second line is a little too light or underprinted in just the same spot as the one on the pillar is:

They also seem to have taken the letter "lu" and reversed in in the very last line.

Google for "Assassin's Creed Liberation Vai" yields no hits -- aside from Italian sites telling people to "go" and do something or other -- so this might be the first discovery of this little secret.

I really like it given that it's a shout-out to Aveline's African heritage, and to a culture that doesn't get enough credit for what it developed... but Mr. Bukele had his literacy dream in the early 1800s, so it leaves me wondering how it could have been there in Chichen Itzá in 1769.

And I know nothing of the Vai language, so I have no idea if this inscription means anything. I'm betting, given the mistake it contains, that the letters are just random.
 

Htown

STOP SHITTING ON MY MOTHER'S HEADSTONE
The story of Sequoyah is famous, isn't it? Inspired by the English-speaking civilization around him, he made up a syllabary for his own language, Cherokee, which enabled his people to become literate. Even today you cad find signs and books in Sequoyah's writing system.

Much less famous is the story of the Vai language and writing system, in Liberia, developed in much the same way by Mɔmɔlu Duwalu Bukɛlɛ (also spelled Momolu Duwalu Bukele; explanation for those 'short e' and 'short o' signs follow). He and his people had been illiterate until he had a dream in which a bearded white man read to him in his own language from a book. When he woke up, he had forgotten what the letters looked like, but the idea had sparked in his head, and he set out making up a symbol for each of the 200-odd syllables that occur in Vai.

Why am I talking about this?

Well, if you've played Assassin's Creed: Liberation (please, no "no, I haven't; no one has a Vita" jokes), you've seen the Vai writing system, though you may not have noticed it when you did.

(Minor Chapter 4 spoilers for ACL follow.)

Aveline is down in Chichen Itzá and has occasion to explore some watery underground caves. We see some Mayan writing on the walls, which is not surprising, but then at the deepest point, we see stone pillars with these inscriptions:



There are two, and they're identical except that parts of one of them are cut off.

Having learned about Vai in grad school when reading Scribned and Cole's The Psychology of Literacy, a study of Vai literacy in Liberia, I recognized the writing right away.

I don't have Vai fonts on my computer, so I can't type them out, but as far as I can tell, it says the following. Note that Vai has the short e, written [ɛ], for the vowel in "pet" or "men", and short o, written [ɔ], for the first vowel in "fall" or "former". There are also nasal vowels, written here with tildes (˜)
over them, and an "ng" sound written phonetically with this ligature ("ŋ"). Otherwise consonants are as in English:

mgba gi gɛ je nde ndi mɔ ya dɔ gɔ
be bo lu gɔ wɛ i go
ya so dɔ wo nyɛ ŋgã

nji gẽ le da ŋgã nji fe cha [three unintelligible glyphs]
nji nde mɔ we mgba [reversed lu]


Here's a better view:



See that Latin-letter ŋgã jumping out at you in the third line? My guess is that the creators were misreading a chart of Vai syllables and didn't notice that the "ŋgã" was the pronunciation of the character below it -- which they also used, in the fourth line.

Specifically, this chart here seems to be the exact one they cribbed from, because it has "ŋgã" in just the right font, and the "go" at the end of the second line is a little too light or underprinted in just the same spot as the one on the pillar is:



They also seem to have taken the letter "lu" and reversed in in the very last line.

Google for "Assassin's Creed Liberation Vai" yields no hits -- aside from Italian sites telling people to "go" and do something or other -- so this might be the first discovery of this little secret.

I really like it given that it's a shout-out to Aveline's African heritage, and to a culture that doesn't get enough credit for what it developed... but Mr. Bukele had his literacy dream in the early 1800s, so it leaves me wondering how it could have been there in Chichen Itzá in 1769.

And I know nothing of the Vai language, so I have no idea if this inscription means anything. I'm betting, given the mistake it contains, that the letters are just random.
Very nice discovery.
 
Wow, that's an amazingly esoteric thing to discover! And as you've tried googling for it already, yeah you're probably the first/only one to notice it. I wonder what the dev team would think if they knew that someone out there had found the exact chart they cribbed from!

This is why the internet is awesome. There are experts out there on every-bloody-thing!
 
I really like it given that it's a shout-out to Aveline's African heritage, and to a culture that doesn't get enough credit for what it developed... but Mr. Bukele had his literacy dream in the early 1800s, so it leaves me wondering how it could have been there in Chichen Itzá in 1769
In a series that revolves around First People and genetic memory, I'm sure there's any number of avenues to hand wave it away should it ever be noticed by anyone but yourself.

Nice work though, you're possibly the only person in the world to pick this out.
 

Shig

Strap on your hooker ...
The 'Flame Red' 3DS that came with this past holiday's Mario 3D Land bundle is actually not the same as the standalone Flame Reds:

http://imgur.com/a/4yfiN

-One color throughout, rather than the 3-tone design. No metallic silver color around the cart slot either, same color as the body.
-Top doesn't have that super-glossy transparent overlay, the top casing is the same colored plastic as the body.



Makes the 3DS look more akin to one of the metallic colors of the GBA SP, though a bit glossier.
 
I learned something interesting about Bayonetta while watching the director's commentaries last night. It's probably not interesting to people who haven't put a ton of time into Bayonetta, but it blew my mind, at least.

The third-to-last level is a long tower stage where you refight almost every enemy and lesser versions of the cardinal virtues (four major bosses that you have already defeated by this point), but you only actually fight three of the miniature virtues. I always assumed that they just left out the first one, but if you go to the area with the goddess statue near the end of the stage (PS3 players will remember this as the part with the bad framerate) and hang around on the railing of the middle part of the stage before hitting the switch that raises the platforms, a smaller version of the first virtue will pop out of the golden void and attack you.
 
In a series that revolves around First People and genetic memory, I'm sure there's any number of avenues to hand wave it away should it ever be noticed by anyone but yourself.

Nice work though, you're possibly the only person in the world to pick this out.
Yeah, I know, the "First Civilization can communicate through time!" excuse almost writes itself.

As happy as I am to see this underappreciated minority script make an appearance like this, it's actually a little disappointing to see that they were a bit slipshod with it (the "ngã" thing). In AC1 the Arabic on some of the towers was gibberish, but in AC2 they got all the Italian signs just right. And that game had a ton of really cool puzzles -- the glyph puzzles -- with all kinds of obscure stuff hidden away in it, and it all made sense. That's the stuff that elevates a game from being just some entertainment to something really special. AC2 was my GOTG partially for that reason. Even if they had used the Vai script just to spell out something trivial, it would have been fun; I'm still hoping that the "ngã" is a mistake and that the other stuff means something.

And if anyone wants to read the book that introduced me to Vai, here you go:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Psychology-Literacy-Sylvia-Scribner/dp/1583484396/

(I sold my $19.99 paperback after the class was over; I should have kept it, since used copies now sell for over $50!)
 
no it is his face which is why the skin color matches his arm color. the part on top that the visually challenged think is his face is simply a gold tiara/crown.
I'm afraid I'm one of said visually challenged people. I completely accept the other argument, but I've never quite been able to establish where the top of his head is in that example - everywhere I try to imagine it, it's ends up with the "long head" problem on the original image.

Corollary: Think of how crowns sit on the head. Now explain what's above that.

Edit: When I get home, I'm going to try removing the crown, see what that looks like. Looking further, I *think* the black bit immedately above the top of the crown should be read as the apex of the cowl (and therefore the top of the head). Which if I'm right does work, but we're back to the freakishly-tall-head issue.
 
The reason why Super Metroid is fun to watch be broken is because the game has lots of soft gating as opposed to hard gating, allowing skilled players to easily get to places they shouldn't and sequence break.
Freaking best game ever because of it. And all of this is by design and very intentional, which makes it even more genius.
 
I'm afraid I'm one of said visually challenged people. I completely accept the other argument, but I've never quite been able to establish where the top of his head is in that example - everywhere I try to imagine it, it's ends up with the "long head" problem on the original image.

Corollary: Think of how crowns sit on the head. Now explain what's above that.

Edit: When I get home, I'm going to try removing the crown, see what that looks like. Looking further, I *think* the black bit immedately above the top of the crown should be read as the apex of the cowl (and therefore the top of the head). Which if I'm right does work, but we're back to the freakishly-tall-head issue.



no his head is normal you have to think of perspective. the red mouth is a jewel. he's not standing up straight but hunched over a bit with hands up.(it's what evil wizrds and witches do) he's not wearing a hoody it's some sort of puffy wizard hat.
 
These may not be very shocking but they're pretty darn interesting in my opinion. I found these three illustrations from 1992-93 by Fumito Ueda on my hard disk:

1. The bridge in the far distance is strikingly similar to the one in Shadow of the Colossus.





2. The pattern on the soldiers' clothes is again similar to the one in ICO and Shadow of the Colossus.





3. This one's just weird.

 


no his head is normal you have to think of perspective. the red mouth is a jewel. he's not standing up straight but hunched over a bit with hands up.(it's what evil wizrds and witches do) he's not wearing a hoody it's some sort of puffy wizard hat.
I tried really hard today and I finally was able to see the gaf version, I am still surprised by how many people saw him the wrong way
 
Little bit.

To me, it looks like Aganhim's upper face is in shadows while his lower face is visible and giving an "O" face. It's the same color as his hands, so I'm reasonably sure that's what it's supposed to be...

Idunno, Aganhim may well be the most ill-defined sprite I've ever seen. He's just too busy for the size he's rendered at.

Honesty? Not really, the sprite is still amazingly different.
Eh, if the fringes of his cloak were pink and his crown... thingy... were gold, it'd be close enough for jazz.
 
I remember having my mind blown when I first noticed this - some time after playing the game; I'd forgotten about that fact since, but it came back to me when I brought it up in another thread so there's a *chance* it'll blow someone else's:

 
Mario thing reminds me of this 'glitch' in Alex Kidd in Miracle World on Master System I would show off.

When you first get in the water, the first frog enemy you find you can make the screen scroll just enough so half of him is on the screen and half off. Then I'd turn backwards and punch at the opposite side of the screen I was on into the 'nothingness' and it would hit the frog lol.

I thought I was such hot shit for knowing that when I was little. :p
 

Easy_D

never left the stone age
A thing I noticed yesterday while playing Paper Mario Sticker Star.

You know how special stickers have this shiny surface in your inventory? Well I realized that when you tilt your 3DS, the shiny'ness changes depending,on the angle of your 3DS. Maybe not mind blowing, but I thought it was neat.