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In the game's opening cutscene after Dr. Yoshiyama digitizes himself, several blocks of what seems to be gibberish appear on-screen before the computer corrupts. This gibberish is actually a secret message written in Japanese romaji and then coded through a cipher where all vowels are omitted from the text except for when a word starts with a vowel. Decoding the message reveals what appears to be the last conversation Yoshiyama had with the C-Life woman featured in the cutscene, the mother of Pulseman, suggesting that he gave up his human life ("Do you realize what you've done? You'll never be human again now.") out of love for his creation and resulting in the conception of Pulseman. A notable cosmetic detail hinting at the nature of the undeciphered message being a conversation are differences in the speed at which each text box appears typed out on-screen (i.e. a slight slowdown during "I'm just a heartless program"). However, not only does this affair reveal the origin of the game's hero, it also has implications about the origin of the game's villain.

Dr. Yoshiyama's whereabouts during the events of Pulseman are never stated, but through information provided in the game's manual, it is suggested that he was corrupted during his time in cyberspace and transformed into the game's antagonist Dr. Waruyama. This theory is supported by the manual listing Yoshiyama's entry into cyberspace during the cutscene and Waruyama's birthdate, December 31, 1999, as occurring in the same year. However, Waruyama appears to be an adult by 2015 when the main events of the game take place despite technically being 16 years old and less than two years older than Pulseman. This age discrepancy suggests that Waruyama would have to be at least a half human, half C-Life himself in order for him to originally be Yoshiyama; if Waruyama was a full C-Life, he would have to have been "born" as one and appeared in his adult state in the first place given that C-Lifes are man-made AIs. Since Yoshiyama was implied to have transformed into at least a half C-Life following the deciphered conversation, this suggests that Waruyama's "birthdate" actually refers to the exact date when Yoshiyama was transformed into Waruyama in the first place.

Additionally, there are similarities between the two names, with "Waruyama" being similar to "bad mountain" ("悪い山" or "Warui yama"), and "Yoshiyama" appearing similar to "pleasant mountain" ("楽しい山" or "Tanoshī yama").

The English description for the game's 2009 re-release on the Wii Virtual Console states outright that Yoshiyama did transform into Waruyama, although there are no known Japanese sources that also confirm this.
Contributed by MehDeletingLater
The King of Fighters '94
Chin's character is heavily inspired by Yuen Siu-tien's portrayal of the Qing Dynasty drunken boxer Beggar So (Sam Seed) from the Drunken Master film series.

There are many similarities between Psycho Soldier Team's design and characters from the Drunken Master film series. Kensou's character is possibly influenced by Jackie Chan's portrayal of Wong Fei-hung from the first Drunken Master film. Kensou's love of Steamed Buns is may also be a reference to a scene from the film where Chan's character attempts to steal food from a restaurant. Likewise, Athena's final design in the game is likely inspired by the lead female character from Story of the Drunken Master. Both characters were students of the Begger So in the films.
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
Super Mario Bros. 2
In a prototype version of the game, the Underground theme was originally meant to be an updated version of the Underground theme from Super Mario Bros. with added kick percussion, but this was scrapped in the final release. A similar-sounding Underground theme to that of Super Mario Bros. 2's prototype would end up being used in Super Mario Bros. 3.
Contributed by MehDeletingLater
Street Fighter II
Cammy's character, fighting style, and animations are believed by some fans to be heavily inspired by Gally, the protagonist of the 1990 manga Battle Angel Alita.
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
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At Sega's Game Jam II showcase in March 2002, Red Entertainment announced two new PlayStation 2 games in collaboration with mangaka Yasuhiro Nightow that would be published by Sega, who had also announced a 67% stake in the company moments prior. The first game announced was Gungrave, which was released in Japan in July of that year. The second game announced was a game based on Nightow's 1995 manga "Trigun" entitled "Trigun: The Planet Gunsmoke", with a short 20 second teaser trailer being revealed featuring silhouettes of multiple characters from the series before ending on Nicholas punching the screen and revealing the game's logo.

Since then, the game has become vaporware as no other updates from either Red Entertainment, Nightow, or Sega have been released about it since its announcement, with the exception of an official statement from Sega on the game's development that read "no comment". Fans have since speculated that Gungrave actually is a modified version of Trigun: The Planet Gunsmoke citing its similar storylines and character designs to that of Trigun, but considering both games were shown off at the same time and Gungrave was released in Japan only four months later, this is unlikely.
Contributed by MehDeletingLater
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Bass and Tina's father-daughter relationship shares similarities to that of the one between former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan and his daughter Brooke Hogan. Hulk Hogan was known to be very protective of his daughter in spite of her efforts to be more independent, which is often portrayed in their stage personas and public appearances. Also like Tina, Brooke has pursued careers outside of pro-wrestling; including modeling, acting, and music.
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
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One of the two villains in World of Light, Galeem, may be based on the Seraphim, one of the rank angels in Judeo-Christian religions. Both Galeem and Seraphim have four pairs of wings and a halo, and both devour darkness with light, turning everyone (excluding the game's fighters) into spirits.
Contributed by GamerBen144
Pokemon Sword & Shield
The unique new fossil Pokémon of Sword and Shield and their even more unique mix-and-match gimmick are a reference to Paleontological history. Some of the earliest recorded Dinosaur bones and discoveries were found by British scientists (the Galar Region is based on the United Kingdom) and during the earliest discoveries many of those scientists, due to knowledge of these newly-discovered prehistoric beasts being very primitive at the time, did reckless things and made a lot of rather egregious mistakes including taking bones from one species of Dinosaur and applying them to another species' bones, both believing and claiming that they were of the same species. This is reflected in the gimmick where two of the player's fossils are fused into one of four Pokémon that clearly look like the parts used to fuse them do not match to the point that even the Pokédex descriptions seem baffled at their existence and how they are still alive. The scientist in-game who does this is called Cara Liss, or "careless".
Contributed by PirateGoofy
Snake's match victory theme ironically is based off of the Game Over jingle from Metal Gear Solid.
Contributed by PirateGoofy
When activating the Duke's shop, there is a chance the Duke might quote the Merchant from Resident Evil 4 and say the latter's line "whatta ya buyin'?" and then follow it with a mention that the Merchant is a friend of the Duke's. Additionally, the developers stated that the Merchant was their primary basis for the Duke, furthering the connection between the two venders.
Contributed by PirateGoofy
Kingdom Hearts III
Arendelle's Boss, the giant wolf Heartless "Skoll", is named after and based on the figure of the same name in Norse (Viking) mythology. Specifically, the Vikings believed that two wolf figures, Hati and Skoll, were in constant pursuit of the Moon and Sun in order to devour the two celestial bodies, thus creating the day and the night. Skoll can also be seen trying to darken the boss arena at times in reference to Skoll successfully devouring the Sun during the Ragnarok, the end of all of the realms of the universe in Norse mythology.
Contributed by PirateGoofy
The description for the Heshikiri Hasabe sword alludes to a real-life event where daimyo Oda Nobunaga used the sword to murder one of his servants in anger after he insulted him. The final enemy in the "Kanbei and the Overlord" side mission is a yōkai resembling a biwa that steals the weapon because of a grudge related to the sword. It is heavily implied that the demon is that slain servant.
Contributed by DrakeVagabond
The appearance of Noshis in the R/T version of the Tokyo Blur course is likely a reference to the Japanese film franchise "Godzilla" and its respective genre Kaiju, which feature giant monsters usually depicted attacking major cities.
Contributed by CuriousUserX90
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up
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Three Rabbids from the Raving Rabbids series, a Ubisoft property, are guest characters exclusive to the Wii version of the game. One is a generic Raving Rabbid, a new Rabbid variant named Ninja Rabbid that is a parody of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the last, named Splinter Rabbid, is a Rabbid variant from the first two Raving Rabbids games who is a parody of Sam Fisher, the protagonist of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series, another Ubisoft property.
Contributed by CuriousUserX90
Burnout 2: Point of Impact
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A pre-release screenshot shows an unused American bus modeled after buses owned by Coach USA, and was most likely scrapped to avoid copyright issues with that company.
Contributed by HarryAstra
Burnout
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A pre-release screenshot of the game shows that the buses that appear in the European tracks were originally designed with a different livery that resembles the livery used by buses owned by Stagecoach Group in the United Kingdom. This design was changed for the final release of Burnout, most likely to avoid copyright issues with Stagecoach Group.
Contributed by HarryAstra
Paper Mario: Color Splash
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The book that Pry Guy holds is extremely similar to the book Goombella uses to tattle on opponents in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.
Contributed by Boyobmas
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
The plot of the Adventure Mode: World of Light, in which Kirby is the sole survivor of a cataclysmic invasion and must rescue the other fighters, was actually series director Masahiro Sakurai's original vision for the plot of Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Adventure Mode: The Subspace Emissary.

This early storyline was mentioned during a 2008 Iwata Asks interview:
"I had envisioned a more serious tone for the story. Something with some misfortune like a single character escaping total annihilation of his squadron and then fighting back while rounding up his allies."

It should be noted however that Spoiler:this early storyline would be implemented somewhat closer to the end of The Subspace Emissary anyway when Tabuu decimates every fighter turning them back into trophies, while Kirby, Luigi and Ness are revived in separate locations thanks to the three Dedede Brooches.
Contributed by Boyobmas
Series: Ace Attorney
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One of the primary Western influences of Ace Attorney is the American crime drama series "Columbo", of which series creator Shu Takumi is a professed fan, and who based his character profiles on the sharpness and secrecy of Lieutenant Columbo:

"I don't touch upon Phoenix's past in the games, and the players don't even know where his parents are. Fans often ask me about the birthdate of a character, or their bloodtype or favorite food, but I don't talk about them on purpose. On the other hand, my own personality might be shining through my characters... In the game, Phoenix's thoughts are shown as monologue, but those inner monologues are just my own, personal thoughts. So when people say "Phoenix is actually quite sarcastic", they're actually talking about me (laugh)."

In the 2015 interview the above quote came from, Takahiro Ookura, writer of the Japanese crime drama series "Enter Lieutenant Fukuie", commented afterwards:

"I can feel the influence of "Columbo" in "Ace Attorney". For example, there's the thing with the IV drops in "Turnabout Succession", episode 4 of "Ace Attorney 4". I won't go into details, but the part where it goes "the only way you can know about this if you were there at that time", that's a type of logic often used in "Columbo"."

Additionally, the character design for Detective Dick Gumshoe is likely modeled off of Columbo's actor Peter Falk; Gumshoe's squint and uneven eyebrows mirror those of Falk, whose signature squint was the result of using an artificial right eyeball stemming from a childhood eye surgery.
The name of the main boss Kronika may be a reference to Chronos, the personification of time in pre-Socratic philosophy, often mistaken with the ruler of the Titans in Greek Mythology, Cronus. While this is a recurring historical and philosophical mistake, this might have inspired the idea that Kronika is a Titan, much like Cronus. Additionally, the word "Kronika" is a Czech and Slovenian cognate which translated to English means "Chronicle".
Contributed by lewiesell6605
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