Like any other community, the video game world has its fair share of urban legends and weird mythology. There are haunted games and secret levels only a few have claimed to see. There are tales of how games came to be or of the lives of the people who made them. Hidden messages and secret songs.
But Yeah Yeah Beebiss is a game that stands on its own.
In June of 1989, you may have gotten the listing of games from Play It Again, a mail-order game company. If you did, one of the games listed would have been the upcoming NES game Yeah Yeah Beebiss. Adding to the weirdness, Yeah Yeah Beebiss was incorrectly placed between Wrestlemania and Xenophobe in the listing. In the same month, you may have seen it listed in the latest issue of Video Games & Computer Entertainment.
Play It Again continued to advertise Yeah Yeah Beebiss for three more months. Then, in October, Funco – a different video game mail-order company – listed Yeah Beebiss I in their catalog. As with the Play It Again catalog, Funco listed Yeah Beebiss I between Wrestlemania and Xenophobe. Why this game refused to fit in with traditional alphabetical norms is another mystery lost to the ages.
Funco listed Yeah Beebiss I until their January catalog. After that, the game seemed to vanish forever.
In the years since many theories have grown around Yeah Yeah Beebiss. Here are the two that most people tend to believe (although one of them sounds way too far-fetched to me).
The Family Trainer Theory
In January 1989, Bandai released the 10th and final Family Trainer game. In Japan, the game had the overly long title of Family Trainer: Rairai Kyonshizu: Baby Kyonshii no Amida Daibouken. Online supersleuths with access to Google Translate figured out that in English, “Rairai” translates to “Yeah Yeah”, and with some poor translation work from a tired producer could take the Japanese “赤ちゃん” and accidentally turn it into a very badly spelled version of “baby”. That very badly spelled version would be “Beebi” which, when turned into a plural becomes “Beebiss”.
It kinda falls apart with the “Baby” “Beebiss” bit, but I think we’ve all seen worse translating, right? Either way, this theory doesn’t take nearly as much mental gymnastics as the next one.
The Pitfall Theory
User Luigi_Master on NintendoAge was talking with a pal of his when he decided to make his own localized version of Yeah Yeah Beebiss I. While working on it, Luigi_Master decided to look up the Romaji for “Bi Be Su” and found that it translated to “The Bibe”.
Luigi_Master put “Bibe” into Dictionary.com and for whatever reason, the site pulled up information on William Beebe, an American explorer. From this, Luigi_Master figured out that the “I” at the end of Yeah Yeah Beebiss I was a typo of the Roman numeral “II”. The only answer, as Luigi_Master saw it, was that Yeah Yeah Beebiss I was actually a weirdly named Japanese version of Super Pitfall 2.
And that, my friends, is why Mario is always in charge.
In 2016, for a brief moment, the video game world thought the truth had been revealed when another NintendoAge user – ItsJokerTime – claimed that his father gave him a copy of the game. ItsJokerTime even put up “proof” in the form of pictures and elaborated on his story – his father supposedly got the game at the 1987 Consumer Electronics Show but when he tried to play it now, all ItsJokerTime got was a screen full of garbled pixels. In a move out of an episode of Monk, another NintendoAge member called BS on ItsJokerTime. You see, the cartridge ItsJokerTime claimed to be Yeah Yeah Beebiss was a three-screw cartridge, but Nintendo didn’t switch to the three-screw cartridge until 1988, so how could this game be from 1987? With his hoax called out, ItsJokerTime stopped posting at NintendoAge.
Still, the madman is out there, possibly creating a new version of Yeah Yeah Beebiss – one that will be harder to prove as a fake… We can only pray someone is able to stop ItsJokerTime before he strikes again!
What was Yeah Yeah Beebiss? Will anyone ever actually see it? Did it ever really exist in the first place? We may never know.
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