Resident Evil’s World of Survival Horror and the Mandela Effect

Resident Evil

“Welcome to the world of survival horror.” That’s one of the most recognizable lines of text in video game history, up there with “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.” But where did it originate?

You’re probably thinking it was in the introduction to the first Resident Evil. That’s how I would have answered the question had you asked me just a week ago. However, I’ve since found myself questioning this — as well as the very fabric of existence — because the introduction to Resident Evil straight up doesn’t contain this phrase.

There are several versions of Resident Evil for the original PlayStation, which made this difficult to fact check. The original version was released in Japan as Bio Hazard. It was then localized for the United States (with some of the gore removed from the intro) as Resident Evil. In 1997, Resident Evil: Director’s Cut was released, and that same year the game was ported to Sega Saturn (with some significant changes). In 1998 came Resident Evil: Director’s Cut: Dual Shock Ver. (also referred to as version 1.5), which added support for Sony’s new Dual Shock controller. If you’ve downloaded the PSOne Classics digital copy of Resident Evil from the North American PSN, you’re playing Dual Shock Ver. (Interestingly enough, Dual Shock Ver. was co-produced by Keiji Inafune, of Mega Man fame.)

I’ve now watched the intro for all five of the versions mentioned in the previous paragraph, and none of them contain this phrase.

Before the title screen even loads, you’ll see this screen:

Resident Evil

The intro video begins with the text:

1998

July

Raccoon Forest

And after the intro video, the text reads:

They have escaped into the mansion

where they thought it was safe.

Yet…

Perhaps the text comes from Resident Evil 2 then? Well, no. The text after Resident Evil 2‘s intro video reads:

They were parted by an unescapable destiny.

This is just the beginning of their worst nightmare.

I promise you, I spent an entire evening scratching my head over this one. Not only do I remember the phrase “Welcome to the world of survival horror, ” but a quick Google search shows that quite a few other people do too. I’ve even found books on video game history that claim the line came from the intro of Resident Evil, as well as from the back of Resident Evil‘s instruction manual (in reality, the back of the original North American instruction manual features an ad for the game’s strategy guide).

Resident Evil Game Manual

Something that makes this even murkier is that the intro to Resident Evil HD Remaster, released in 2015, contains this screen:

Resident Evil HD Remaster

One would assume this line was copied exactly as it appeared in the original PSOne game (only higher in resolution). Yet, after watching the actual intro more times than I can even count at this point, I can conclusively say the phrase doesn’t appear in the game’s intro at all. In fact, the phrase “Enter the survival horror” was actually borrowed from the GameCube remake of Resident Evil, which released in 2002 (the 2015 remaster was actually based on this version of the game rather than any of the PSOne versions).

But didn’t the original Resident Evil originate the term “survival horror” way back in the 1990s? Well, yes, it did. The phrase “survival horror” (in English) is actually printed on the Japanese box art for the original Bio Hazard.

Bio Hazard Cover Art

As far as the Japanese text on this cover, translated to the best of my ability (with help from Retrovolve staffers who read Japanese better than I can), here’s what it says:

The looming horror! The deadly battle!

This is the world of survival game!

The text right above “Survival Horror” reads:

Baiohazādo!

(Or Bio Hazard, when localized back into English.)

So where did the phrase, “Welcome to the world of survival horror” come from? Well, it turns out, I had it wrong. The actual phrase is:

You have once again entered

the world of survival horror.

Good luck!

If you’ve played Resident Evil recently, perhaps you know this, but this comes from the loading screen. When you load a save file, this is the text that greets you as the game loads.

Resident Evil

So why do so many people — people who write about gaming history even — remember the phrase “Welcome to the world of survival horror?” I can only explain this via the Mandela Effect. If you’re not familiar with the Mandela Effect, it’s a phenomenon where certain events are collectively misremembered. Classic examples include the spelling of Barenstain Bears (-stain not –stein) and the phrase “Luke, I am your father” (Darth Vader doesn’t actually say Luke’s name when delivering the famous line in The Empire Strikes Back).

It turns out, our memories just aren’t as good as we’d like to think they are.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x