Fourth of Julycola

This Independence Day, it’s easy to find symbols of patriotism. But what if you’re looking for examples of patriotism and Nintendo logic? Then you’ll want to take time out between barbeques and fireworks and play StarTropics.

Chapter 5 of the game in particular is a transparent allegory for the American struggle for independence from our British oppressors. In Chapter 5, your character, Mike Jones (representing the Founding Fathers) needs to get through a narrow strait running through an island, so he can find and eventually rescue (i.e., liberate) his uncle Dr. J (i.e., the 13 colonies) from his alien abductors (i.e., taxation without representation).

However, a British ship (i.e., Britain) is parked right in the middle of the strait, preventing anything from getting through! Supposedly, Captain Bell had put it there to stop pirates from getting through hundreds of years ago. Of course, we all know the real reason was to maintain British hegemony and pass Stamp Acts and whatnot. This will not stand!

Bellcola Strait

Now, logic would dictate that since you’re in a submarine, you would just be able to, I don’t know, go under the ship and be on your way. But of course, you can’t do that. And don’t even think about just going around the island, because there’s shallow water that you can’t pass through to the east and west of the approach to the strait, and guess what, it continues on infinitely far south.

This is all symbolic, of course. Signing the Declaration of Independence alone wasn’t enough to effect de facto independence from the crown, as the usage of 1776 in-game as the code to submerge the sub demonstrates.

ID code 1776

Instead armed conflict was necessary. That is to say, you need to go find a worm to feed to the descendent of Captain Bell’s parrot …

Feeding the parrot

… to get him to tell you the sequence of notes you need to play on a giant pipe organ hidden in a cave …

Captain Bell’s organ

… to open the way to another cave filled with traps such as killer pencils that pop out of the ground …

Pencil traps

… to activate a machine …

Machine to sink Captain Bell’s ship

… that sinks the ship …

Captain Bell’s ship sinking

… while My Country, ‘Tis of Thee plays in the background. This obviously symbolizes America’s inevitable triumph over the British Empire, freeing the colonists from British rule and allowing them to go on and fight alien invaders.

Fighting aliens with a yo-yo

One might ask why there was enough room in the strait for the large ship to sink, but not enough for your little sub to get through under it. One might also ask why the alleged pirates didn’t just fire some cannons at the ship to sink it. One might further ask why Mike Jones is the first person in three hundred years or so to need to pass through the strait.

Do not question Nintendo logic.

Happy birthday, America!

“Where do you come from?  Americola?”

6 Responses

  1. Curses! Always with the shallow water that continues infinitely far south! If there’s anything I’ve learned in the last 5 weeks, its that computers and infinity do not mix.

  2. Fun fact:

    Paul Kuliniewicz is the only person on the planet who actually CAN divide by zero.

  3. I’d say “wait until you see my post on Super Mario Bros. as thinly-veiled drug advocacy”, but that little observation is hardly original.

    Though it might be fun to search for social commentary and hidden meaning where there’s obviously none to be found. What else am I using my high school English learning for anyway?

  4. Social commentary or not Star Tropics was a great game.

  5. As long as you don’t think about the plot and can get the hang of the unusual control scheme, yes it is.

  6. Hehe, killer pencils.

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