ByRob Harris, writer at
Sometimes I play video games.
Rob Harris

No? Me neither, until I got lost in a Nintendo-themed Wikipedia hole that led me to a little known gem called Time Twist: On the Outskirts of History. At least, that's the closest translation of the title, as the game only ever came out in Japan.

Released for the Famicom in 1991, Time Twist was published by Nintendo and developed by Pax Softnica, who you'll know for working on games such as Earthbound and Pokemon Snap. Incredibly, the game was actually overseen by Shigeru Miyamoto himself, though this bizarre title is a whole lot less child friendly than his usual output.

A Time Travelling Nightmare

The game's setup goes like this. It's 1995 and a young boy from Tokyo visits a 'Devil Museum,' whatever that is. In it he meets a girl, but the encounter is cut short by an earthquake and the boy ends up destroying the seal on a vase that contains the devil.

The devil then possesses the small boy's body, leaving him trapped inside the rotting devil's remains. The mischievous satanic force then steals a time machine (called a Time Belt) and begins tearing it up in various historical periods. For example...

Nazareth and Bethlehem (100 BC)

Hold on to your hats because this is where things get strange. In one sequence of the game the player walks in on the well-known nativity scene, but it's not the one you learnt about in school.

In Time Twist the baby Jesus leaps out of Mary’s arms, possessed by the devil. As he flies around the screen creating chaos you have to beat the demonic presence out of him. Yup. And Nintendo signed off on this! Still, not quite as shocking as...

A Concentration Camp (1944)

That's right, the game took you to Nazi Germany. More specifically, to a camp designed for exterminating the Jewish population. Adolf Hitler even made an appearance, being another more example of gaming's many Führer-focused boss fights.

Other historical personages who featured in the game included Joan of Arc, Alexander the Great and Abraham Lincoln.

Unsurprisingly, Nintendo did not advertise Time Twist on television, and never dreamed of releasing it in North America. Still, it remains a crazy relic of the family-friendly company's surprisingly dark past.

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