Mark Patraw

Akagare & Kuzama mock-ups

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Back in the day, conserving memory in video games was very important, as the storage capacity of cartridges were very limited in comparison to the newer media we enjoy now (I.e., DVDs), as such, monsters were often "recycled" by changing their names and color schemes (although, to be fair, that's often still done today, in the form of reskinned polygons, to save time/resources, or, if you're being less charitable, out of sheer laziness). That being the case, the mustard-hued "Bamboo" enemy was also re-used as the red "Akagare" (literally "Red Wilting", which is a disease that afflicts rice plants and causes rust-colored spots to appear on their leaves--who says you can't learn anything from video games, albeit indirectly?) and the green "Kuzama" [I couldn't figure out a definitive translation for that one, but my best guess is "Esteemed Kudzu" (a truncation of the "kudzu" plant name coupled with the "-sama" honoriffic suffix)]. And, yes, I realize that rice and kudzu aren't bamboo, but game programmers tend to interpret monster sprites in a very loose general sense when it comes to recoloring/renaming them--if there's some thematic connection (in this case, they're obviously all plants), that's usually enough, even if the game sprite's anatomy doesn't necessarily match all of the species in question.

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