Are you eating yourself?! Nar Shaddaa will be your grave! – The nasty three-eyed man with the gun didn’t really ask me if I was eating myself. What he literally said was not revealed in the subtitles, which immediately translated the alien language into English: “You’ll never leave here.”
Honestly, it didn’t sound that much like “Are you eating yourself?!”. – but by 1997, I was used to audio files in video games being compressed to a point that it was hard to make out what someone might have been uttering into a microphone. And although the voices of the other characters in Star Wars: Jedi Knight were crystal clear, I was operating in a world where a digitized “Are you eating yourself?!” might have sounded exactly like that.
The fact that I could even attempt to decode this was due to the Diamond Monster 3D. My new 3D acceleration card finally allowed me to play the latest AAA titles and gaze upon Kyle Katarn and his enemies in all their chunkiness. What a name for a graphics card. Diamond Monster 3D. A threefold promise: Crystal clear graphics! A powerhouse! Three-dimensionality!! These days, graphics cards are called MSI Radeon RX 6900 XT Gaming X Trio 16G 16GB GDDR6. What thirteen year olds are supposed to be charmed by this?
So my Diamond Monster 3D allowed me to finally play Jedi Knight. And one of the first things I was confronted with was the question of whether I was going to eat myself. I didn’t have subtitles turned on at the time, so I didn’t know that I was predicted to never leave Nar Shaddaa. After the impressive film sequence, the game graphics appeared. Where an actor had just threatened me under a cinema-worthy latex mask in a professionally lit studio, the supposedly same character limped away from me – through an unglamorous room full of crude polygons Although Cutscene Kyle had spared him, I didn’t hesitate to open fire.
It was not the last three-eyed fiend that I encountered. Representatives of the species “Gran”, dressed either in black or brown, were lurking everywhere. They all made themselves known by this one phrase: “Are you eating yourself?” They all wanted to tell me that I would never leave this place. It was an empty threat and in the end it was they who never left the place. Because they were all dead. Blaster shots, rockets, punches, falls at great depths: none survived. I myself was horrified by myself, because I could not imagine that likeable Cutscene Kyle would approve of the cruel deeds of Ingame Kyle.
Come to think of it: It wasn’t just that one sentence. They had a second one up their sleeve: “The waiter has to go.” What did that mean? At some point I applied the statement to myself. I was obviously the waiter and had to go. That’s why the guys kept throwing thermal detonators at me.
I recently watched all the film sequences of Jedi Knight (PC, 1997) on YouTube. I should have left that alone. It wasn’t quite that cinematic after all. But that didn’t change the fact that I was able to speak every single line of text.
If you know the game you might wonder what I was hearing. This is due to me being German, I understood “Frisst du dich auf?!” and “Der Ober muss weg!” – which translates to the aforementioned sentences.
This post is also available in: German