Mato showed me an article on Gamasutra about how a small indie game studio based in Taiwan localized their first game from Chinese to English. The game is called Detention and it looks like something that’s right up my alley:
It’s a point-and-click horror game set in 1960s Taiwan during the time of martial law. The indie studio, called RedCandleGames, knew from the beginning that they wanted to localize their game for English-speaking players. Because the game is filled with so many culturally specific things, this turned out to be harder than they thought at first. They had to change the level design, teach the players about religious rituals for solving puzzles without an info dump, and decide whether to transliterate a creature’s name or coin a new term entirely.
The entire article is fascinating, since they constantly kept the player in mind when they were making the game. Read the full article here!
It’s no secret that I work on a million things at all times, so lately I’ve been trying to slow down a bit so my old bones can catch up to my brain. In particular I started playing the new Zelda game in Japanese… but even then I wound up taking screenshots of every piece of text I came across. I probably wouldn’t have bothered with taking screenshots, but boy is that screenshot button on the Switch controller the handiest thing I’ve ever come across. I do wish it saved in png format though…
Anyway, I’ve been playing the game super weirdly and spent about 200 hours before I finally went and continued the story/talked to Impa after leaving the plateau. During that time I explored everywhere, usually by taking the totally wrong way on accident, and talking to everyone/fighting everything. It’s been a ton of fun, and I made it a personal rule right from the start to NOT use the Shrine Sensor thingy. I think that alone made it twice as fun for me.
Poe’s been playing the English version as well, taking screenshots here and there. I don’t have any specific projects for this game in mind, but screenshots are the lifeblood of Legends of Localization. I’m sure they’ll come in handy at some point!
Summer Games Done Quick is live riiiiight now! Legends of Localization’s entire anthology is up for grabs as prizes throughout the event:
Legends of Localization Book 1: The Legend of Zelda
Passport to the Legend of Zelda
Legends of Localization Book 2: EarthBound
Passport to MOTHER 2
(brand new book that hasn’t been released yet!)
Watch the stream here and keep an eye out for the LoL prizes. And speaking of SGDQ, Fangamer has a fun new crop of GDQ products available to buy right now!
All profits from the sales of GDQ merchandise goes straight to Doctors Without Boarders. So not only will you be getting some cool stuff, you’ll also be helping people in need. So, buy somethin’ will ya? It’s for charity!
Whoaaaaa UNDERTALE is officially headed to Japan! It’s been professionally translated and localized by 8-4, and the announcement was tucked in the middle of the UNDERTALE on PS4 and Vita trailer at E3 last night:
A few months ago I started working on an update for the MOTHER 3 fan translation patch. Before releasing it, though, it needed to be tested – so I played through the game on Twitch! While testing the game and fixing bugs, I also shared translation notes, memories of the project, and more. We also had guests on, including fellow team members. Even Marcus Lindblom, the head localizer for EarthBound, participated in the chat a few times!
This was pretty much our first time streaming so everything was pretty rough around the edges, but if you like MOTHER 3 or if you’ve wanted to know more about some of the translation choices that went into the patch, give it a watch. I also sometimes discussed professional experiences and the like, so if you’re into that sort of thing, you might like it!
The MOTHER 3 stream was a lot of fun, so my wife and I have gotten into streaming games more regularly. Here’s just a quick sample of recent stuff:
As of the time of this post, I’m about 48 hours in and I’ve STILL got a lot left to experience in this hack. While I’ve been playing it I’ve also been sharing bits and pieces of localization differences that I’m aware of. I’ve also been polishing my programming skills and making neat software that displays some translated text on the stream for viewers who don’t know Japanese. And, to everyone’s surprise, the Japanese creator of the patch showed up in the chat and has since become a regular. All in all, it’s been a really great experience and I hope you’ll join us sometime if you’re into Final Fantasy games!
I actually hope to share more Japanese ROM hacks like this in the future, so if you know of any that you think would be neat to get the live-translation treatment, let me know.
To celebrate America’s Independence Day, I streamed a bunch of Japanese games about America. I want to get practice doing live-translations of Japanese games, so I thought this would be a good start. Despite my bumbling around, it was a lot of fun – way more fun than I expected it to be!
I’m hoping that if I keep doing these sorts of streams, I’ll continually polish my live game-translating skills and be able to “streamlate” (yes, I just made that up, feel free to groan) more complicated Japanese games with ease!
I’m especially fond of this Japanese hamburger RPG:
And this game written entirely in English by a Japanese native:
Live-Translating Other Games for Weird Events
We also stream games for odd holidays and special events. Usually we end up playing a bunch of weird Japanese games and I’ll translate them live. For example, a friend of ours got married a few weeks ago, so after the wedding we played a bunch of wedding-themed games!
On my wife’s birthday, we streamed a bunch of Japanese yokai/youkai games, which I tried to translate:
And for World Population Day, we played a bunch of mostly-Japanese games with the word “world” in their titles:
We also did something similar for World Cat Day. We tried to have a “Sneak a Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day” – which is a real day – but couldn’t find any zucchini games, sadly.
Anyway, this is all to say that if you’d like to see more things like this, be sure to follow me on Twitch and follow me on YouTube, as that’s where all the fun and translating is happening. This streaming stuff isn’t always 100% Legends of Localization-related, but sometimes the two interwtine – my MOTHER 3 stream is on the MOTHER 3 localization section, for example. Some other things I’d love to stream in the future include:
More extensive Japanese ROM hacks
Streams of other games I’ve fan-translated, so I can share memories, translation notes, secrets, and more
It’s almost the end of 2013, so I thought it’d be neat to take a look back and see how the Legends of Localization site has done!
Legends of Localization used to just be a small section of my personal blog, but around March of 2013 I moved it and my separate EarthBound/MOTHER 2 comparison stuff to its own dedicated site. I also started doing smaller, blog-like articles around the middle part of the year – in fact, this is actually my 100th article! Man, I can’t believe I’ve written so many in such a short amount of time 😯
A Look at 2013
For fun, I decided to take a look at the site’s stats for 2013 – originally I wasn’t going to share this stuff, but for the sake of entertainment and future reference, here’s some of the more interesting data!
First, here’s a look at the site’s visitor count over the year:
I forgot what that giant spike was near the end of November, it turns out my article about the tourist lady in Pokemon X/Y hit the Reddit front page or some big sub-Reddit! I was mostly amazed that my site stayed functional; usually in the past Reddit would crash my other sites, even with caching plugins activated!
I’m 100% honestly amazed at how many people visit the site on a regular basis – thanks for always coming and commenting and sending in your interesting questions! It’s also incredibly humbling to think that this dinky little site got enough unique visitors to fill a couple stadiums!
Next, here were the most visited parts of the site:
Holy Giygas I had no idea EarthBound dominated the site so much 😯 I guess the fact that I run EarthBound Central plays a big part in that, but wow. It’s also interesting to see that Pokemon tourist lady post ranked so high!
And lastly, I was curious to see what the most common search engine searches were:
There are a couple eyebrow-raising entries in there, but I’m mostly surprised that so many folks were looking for Strawberry Tofu stuff on the site!
A Look at 2014
I’m having a lot of fun with Legends of Localization, and here are a few things I’d like to accomplish in 2014!
Continue to make small blog posts – these keep me from getting burned out on the bigger projects, and I enjoy finding answers to readers’ localization questions! Right now my update queue has about 100 questions in it, so already I got lots to write about 😯A few weeks ago I had a Twitter poll for what I should do my next blog update about, and it went over pretty well. It’s got me wondering if I should do similar things more often, or if there’s some way to help prioritize some questions that readers most want to see answered. I’ll have to figure something out.
Finish my thorough article about Vivian in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door – I love this game and this is a common question I get, so I’m aiming for a really clear and informative article.
Continue to update the Final Fantasy IV section at the rate of about one section a month, or more if a section is shorter. I feel that’s a good pace for the amount of detail I go into… I just gotta tell myself never to go into such detail again for future projects 😛
MOTHER 3 is in a really weird place for me right now, so I don’t know about the MOTHER 3 notes just yet. I’m not going to drop them, though.
Figure out how to speed up the comparison process to get a few more full comparison sections finished next year – right now I’m leaning toward something Zelda (a new-ish one probably) and/or Pokemon, but I’m planning to put up a poll later on. For now, if you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments or message on Twitter!
Maybe not in 2014, but someday I want to do a detailed look at some of my own early fan translations, as they’re full of funny bloopers and laughably amateur fan translator mistakes. It’s interesting, insightful stuff!
Get a new site design for the front page and the blog stuff – what I have now is pretty blegh. But I’m not sure who to ask about this, as being a gamer who understands the site is a big prerequisite, and if I ask around I’ll just get a bunch of marketing guys bugging me.
Create a section for really interesting external articles and videos – I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time but haven’t gotten around to it. There’s so much cool stuff here that I’ve never even touched on yet!
Create dedicated pages for control code mistakes in official games, games with untranslated lines in them, and more. Readers have been sending me these, so I need to compile them eventually!
Earlier this year I tried an experiment with progress meters and donations; I might try to improve that system to help keep things running smoothly and so I can focus more time on the site and update more!
I just remembered I still need to come up with a good hashtag for my updates on Twitter and Facebook. #lol obviously isn’t an option… but everything else I can think of sounds pretty wacky and unclear. #legofloc? Sounds like some kind of food or a badly translated wrestling move 😛
I’d like to at least publish one Legends of Localization book just to say I’ve done it. I think it’d be a neat experience, and it’d be fun to design!
Continue to get in touch with industry veterans and legends, maybe even do interviews with some of them – maybe I could even ask them some reader-submitted stuff!
I don’t know how yet, but I’d like to do some sort of videos. I think even just playing games side-by-side might be interesting, or at the very least they’ll be useful for reference. Videos take so much time that whatever I do will have to be something simple and light.
Give some more inside looks at how localization works and how you can get into the industry for those who are interested – which seems to be a lot of people, actually!
Similarly, for years I’ve wanted to come up with a small site or tiny page or book or something to help out a lot of the people who ask about how to start learning Japanese. If I can find the time, I’d like to finally make this happen!
There are a number of other projects and mini-projects I’d like to get done for Legends of Localization, but I don’t want to make any promises or get any big hopes up yet. I think some readers might already have some ideas about some of them, though, so mum’s the word!
This past year has been a blast for me, and I hope it has been for you too! Here’s to 2014 being even more legendary than 2013!