Stock is running low on the second edition of the Zelda book, so it’s time to get ready to print the third edition! First, we gotta do some edits. Mato realized how often he overused exclamation points throughout the book, so I’m going through right now and changing most of them to regular ol’ periods. There will be some additional edits after this, but nothing too major.
This is also my first time working with InDesign. I was already impressed with Tony’s design work, but this InDesign experience is adding another layer of respect to his talent. There are so many things to keep track of in a design document like this. Tony is magical (╯✧∇✧)╯
We recently bought a bunch of Japanese guidebooks to assist us in some articles we’ve got simmering. I can’t believe one of the the Chrono Trigger ones is called the “Perfect Bible”.
Also got the Dragon Power NES manual for that Master Roshi sprite that they didn’t change, and a copy of Cooking Mama 2 because I hear the voice acting in it is…. very, very bad. Wanted to see for myself~
It’s over, it’s over! My quest to document the GBA port of Link to the Past in Japanese is over! All for this:
The friggin’ Cane of Somasoa! Which used to be called the Cane of Somaria in Japanese. Actually it still is called the Cane of Somaria in subsequent ports of the Japanese version… Nintendo got a little inconsistent.
To get that screenshot, I had to beat LttP regularly, then phase into the Palace of the Four Swords and beat 4 souped-up bosses and four versions of Dark Link. Since you can only unlock the bonus dungeon by beating Four Swords, and since FS is multiplayer only, I had to use a code to warp past the guy guarding the dungeon. Do you wanna traverse the bonus dungeon for yourself and see a different ending to LttP?
Use this code: 030038F0:20
Don’t talk to the guy guarding the dungeon! Just enable the code while standing in front of him and you’ll be warped past him. Then disable it and you can play through the FS dungeon.
Back in like 2003 when Nintendo started releasing ports of NES and SNES games for the Game Boy Advance, I was really excited. Especially when my most favorite game was released: A Link to the Past. But when I played it, I was turned off by Link yelling every time he swung his sword. Not to mention the excruciating sound of phasing between the Light World and Dark World. I don’t think I bothered beating it on the GBA.
But now it’s time to Somaria% this game! Well, more than that – I’m also getting screenshots of all the text and creating many save states for future use.
O.G. San is on the prowl in Hyrule once again! But lordy lordy, I’d forgotten how strange the GBA version sounded. Some pieces of the Hyrule Castle song were simply missing, so it didn’t sound as important and intimidating as it did in the SNES version. And when I fell down that hole in the beginning, Link screamed :I
And the controls! The buttons are mapped strangely because the GBA has fewer buttons than the SNES controller. I had to complete remap them before I could comfortably play it. It’s also a bit easier – my magic bar filled up as soon as I got the Lantern, which doesn’t happen in the SNES version. And the enemies drop way more hearts.
Now that every popular Nintendo game is released over and over on whatever new digital service Nintendo happens to be running, it’s not exciting anymore. It’s exhausting. I pity the poor souls whose first experience with LttP was on the GBA.
Mato’s working on expanding the old article on the main site about the Cane of Somaria being renamed in the Japanese version of the GBA port of A Link to the Past (whoa, what a mouthful). I checked the WiiU VC and SFC Mini ports of the game over the weekend. As per the GameCats laws, I named the file “O.G. San” (but in hiragana cuz English letters wouldn’t fit):
Since I only needed to get to the Cane of Somaria and not worry about anything else, I ended up creating a pretty quick route that skips a lot of fat and goes straight for the meat:
Get the Magic Powder (good for turning Fire Fairies/Bubbles into regular Fairies)
Beat the Eastern Palace, get Pegasus Boots and run whenever possible
Beat the Desert Palace, buy Zora Flippers
Upgrade shield and boomerang behind the waterfall
Get to the Dark World
Get the hammer in the Dark Palace, use the Magic Mirror and leave without fighting the boss
So much is going on with Legends of Localization that I wanted to give a quick status update on a bunch of it. Lots of book stuff, site stuff, and more!
The Legend of Zelda
Last November Fangamer and I released the first-ever Legends of Localization book, and it sold out quick! We had a second run printed earlier this year so there should be plenty for a while now. Fangamer has the book on a celebration sale until the end of June 2016, so if you get a copy this week you’ll save some money! There’s also been so much demand for the book to be sold on Amazon that we’ve been experimenting with Amazon’s marketplace. Amazon’s fees are pretty steep so it costs more than buying it from Fangamer, but it’s an option if you prefer Amazon.
Buy on Amazon.com ($36, feel free to spread the word with Amazon affiliate codes & earn some of the fees they charge us)
The response has been great, and it’s gone farther than I ever expected – bookstores around the world have been picking it up, it’s been mentioned in several magazines, and it’s even being used in the classroom 😯 The reviews have been a lot of fun to read too, here are a couple:
“I had no idea that I could be learning so much new information about a game that I thought I already knew everything about!”
“I can’t stress enough how vital it is for the video game industry to have people like Mandelin taking on projects like this.”
“It’s also great that he digs into the ‘why’ of things, instead of just stating ‘they translated it this way, the end.’”
“It’s such a niche topic that I’m so thankful it got released. I hesitate to give it a rating because there’s nothing else quite like this out there.”
“Excellent offering and even got trolled in a pretty epic way. Highly recommend.”
“The Legend of Zelda seemed to have no secrets and my impression was that whatever an overzealous translator could nitpick out of the differences would lack much substance. […] I not only stand corrected by this excellent book but also excited to see that if so much content and information few of us were aware of can come of this title, what about others (games and authors)?”
These past few months I’ve been hard at work on the next Legends of Localization book: EarthBound. It’s finally nearing completion and should hopefully be out sometime this autumn. I’ve rewritten everything from scratch, done all-new research, and made sure that every page has something new or interesting that I never knew about before. Even better, the team has been in touch with the game’s head localizer, the game’s creator, and the game’s head marketer. This book is going to be epic.
Oh yeah, we’re trying to get scratch-n-sniff things included too.
Sign up here to get notified as soon as the book is available. We’re also planning an EarthBound “passport” similar to the Zelda passport, but it’s still in the planning phase.
The book team and I have been prepping for some Zelda II stuff, but nothing’s set in stone yet. It’s one of the most-bashed Zelda games, but in terms of localization it’s even more fascinating than the first game in many ways. In my sparse spare time I’ve been trying to master the game semi-speedrun style… but the English and Japanese versions are different enough that I’ll probably need to master them both separately. If you can think of any interesting tips or topics I should cover or whatever else, let me know.
Thanks to the success of the books I’ve been able to focus on Legends of Localization a little more than last year. I’ve been trying to post articles a little more frequently when I can. I want to get a few Final Fantasy IV comparison updates out this year too. I’m also considering some changes to the site and the site’s design. Having guest-written articles is another idea I’ve been toying with but haven’t put too much thought into yet.
A lot of the work I do for the site and for the books requires me to play games for weird, specific reasons. I realized it might be interesting to stream these kinds of things, so I’ve been doing some test streams on Twitch, separate from my usual Poemato CX streams. I’ve been archiving them on YouTube too if you can’t make it live:
My hope is that I can do these more often and regularly as a way to level up my game knowledge, get screenshots, and get outside advice on topics. It’s also been a nice way to show off our latest progress and the latest goodies we’ve acquired for book and article research. It’s all still in the early stages but should be fun.
I’ve been trying to stay on top of my e-mails but have fallen far behind. If you’ve e-mailed me but haven’t heard back, I’ll still try to respond, even if it’s super-late. If you send a question for me to answer on the site, though, I usually move those to my little database for future updates.
I recently wrote a Legends of Localization article for issue #21 of Nintendo Force Magazine. You can check that out here. I’ve been considering writing small articles like this for other sites and magazines and such, so if you have any suggestions or recommendations let me know!
That’s about it for right now, but for more day-to-day updates on our progress you can follow me on Twitter and Tumblr.
A lot’s been happening this year – I recently made a deal with Fangamer to release a series of Legends of Localization books, and the first one is well underway. Sign up for a pre-order notification here!
First Book: The Legend of Zelda!
The first book is going to set the standard for all future books in the series, so we decided to go with The Legend of Zelda. The book will feature what you can read and see here, but with even more information, new content, info fixes, and lots of improvements everywhere.
I’ve been working hard on updating the content, and Tony, one of Fangamer’s designers, has been working hard on the book layout. I can’t show off any work-in-progress stuff yet, but it looks AMAZING. It’s visually entertaining AND classy at the same time. Tony’s design style matches my presentation style perfectly – it’s going to be great!
I shared more details and pics about the book during a recent Poemato CX stream, check it out below!
Currently, the book’s content and layout needs to be finished by around the end of August 2015. Fangamer hopes to release the book in November or December 2015, with preorders opening probably in October.
For preorder bonuses, we’re thinking we’ll have a fancy bookmark that matches the theme of each Legends of Localization book, but we’re open to suggestions. Some other ideas I’ve thought of include:
Maybe some sort of small Japanese-to-English dictionary for the specific game in question, so gamers can play through Japanese versions of these games themselves
If you have any other suggestions, let me know in the comments or on Twitter!
The Zelda book is going to help us figure out the book-making process. After it, we’ll be moving on to the big one: EarthBound! This is going to be a HUGE book, and it’ll have a lot of new, updated content too. We have lots of cool plans for this one – I’ll post more about it when it gets going.
A Zelda II book is also in the works – in fact, most of my work on it is already done. This was going to be combined with the Zelda 1 book originally, but it wound up being so big that we had to break them apart!
Those are the three books I’m slated to do for Fangamer so far. Beyond that, I’m really looking forward to a MOTHER 3 book. I feel like I better hurry before Nintendo finally decides to release an official translation sometime 😛
What This All Means
For the most part, Legends of Localization has just been a hobby of mine for years and years. Technically, I started doing all this back in 1999, so that’s how long this has been a part of my life. These books mark the first time I’m turning my hobby into a serious job, so I wanted to thank everyone who’s supported my work here. Whether you’ve shared the site with friends, posted comments on here, e-mailed me with info, or donated in the past, thank you!
I’d love to continue to make Legends of Localization more and more of a serious endeavor – if these books do well enough, I’ll be able to focus more and more on this site and future books. I’ll also be able to update more frequently if everything goes well! I sometimes daydream of Legends of Localization being my ONLY focus… I’m not crazy enough to make that leap yet, but let’s see how well these books do first 😛
I’ve also considered turning on the “donate to unlock this page” thing that I did a few years ago. The only problem is that last time people would donate too much too fast! I couldn’t keep up, so I had to turn it off. What a fortunate problem to have 😛
But Patreon is a thing that exists these days, so that might be worth looking into instead. That’s a scary step to take, though. If you have any Patreon tips or suggestions, let me know! Maybe a high tier could get you each book for free as they’re released or something…
Other Questions and Topics
A common question I’ve gotten lately is: “Is Legends of Localization dead?”
The answer is no! 2015 has just been a crazy year. I had surgery a while back that I’m still recovering from, my professional translation work has been super-busy, there’ve been deaths in the family, I’m in the middle of buying a house, etc. Once things settle down – and if the books do well enough – I’ll be able to focus more time on updates here. I love this hobby of mine, so I want to get back to it!
I receive a LOT of e-mails about Legends of Localization every day, so I apologize if I haven’t replied to you. I do read all my e-mails and keep them organized, so even if I haven’t gotten back to you, you haven’t been ignored. My backlog of reader questions is huge, too! I feel so bad that I can’t keep up with them all… But I also feel glad that this little hobby means so much to other people.
Final Fantasy IV. I get asked this question more than any other: “When are you going to update with more Final Fantasy IV stuff?”
A few months ago I actually started to do some behind-the-scenes work to get updates rolling again. I’d like to get one or two updates out before the end of the year. It might be tough with everything else that’s going on, but I really miss FFIV.
I’d LOVE to do a book version of FFIV too, but I fear that it would literally wind up being thousands of pages. For reference, this page is currently 18 to 20 pages in our WIP Zelda book. I don’t want to do the math, but I think the current FFIV stuff would be several hundred pages, and it’s only halfway through the game!
Basically, I haven’t dropped FFIV. It means too much to me to ever drop it, don’t worry!
Anyway, that aside, here’s a quick site status update!
For a while there, I was able to keep the updates flowing at a good rate, and even managed to do the big Final Fantasy IV and AVGN updates once a month. But alas, the work of a freelance translator can get crazily unpredictable, so right now Legends of Localization is back in the hectic “update whenever a hole in time opens up” mode. More specifically:
Final Fantasy IV: I posted an intermission thing here a while back. I’m not as burned out on FFIV anymore, so I look forward to getting back into this when I can!
MOTHER 3: I get asked about this a lot – for now it’s on hold. I *have* started putting together the version 1.2 patch this past week, though. No expected release date yet. It’ll mostly fix a lot of bugs that existed in the original game.
A Link Between Worlds: I announced this a few months back. I’ve fully played through both versions of the game, gathered all the screenshots and videos and stuff, and even have a good amount of work done on the layout and content, but freelance work overload last month put everything on hold.
Blog posts: I get requests for one-topic article posts all the time – if you’ve sent any in, don’t worry if I don’t respond! I put every single request in a spreadsheet, so you haven’t been ignored. The spreadsheet’s getting pretty big, it’s amazing!
Now that I think about it, I did recently do some small updates that you might’ve missed:
Pretty much every day I wake up thinking how swell it’d be if I could monetize Legends of Localization somehow so I could focus more time on it. I fear that a Kickstarter wouldn’t succeed, and I don’t think Patreon would have enough backers. If anyone has any suggestions, though, let me know! There are a million things I’d like to dig into and write articles about sometime – just off the top of my head:
Final Fantasy VI
MOTHER / EarthBound Zero
Other English->Japanese localizations
Symphony of the Night
Alex Kidd games
Pretty much every game ever I guess, especially 80s/90s games 😛
Maybe look at how some American shows got handled in translation
Live translations (on Youtube or wherever) of Japanese-only games
Anyway, while that’s the dream, in reality I’ve been working on lots of really cool and rewarding professional translation projects too, the most recent of which I can mention is Attack on Titan!
It’s crazy to think back to when I first started learning the language so many years ago, and now millions of people are watching the result of those studies. It’s actually kind of stage fright-y!
The past few days/weeks have been filled with some interesting and unexpected things for me and Legends of Localization, so I thought I’d share of them! I’ve forgotten about half of them now, so here are just the ones I can remember:
That’s right – apparently I was mentioned and quoted in an academic journal called The Journal of Internationalisation and Localisation 😯 This was actually from many years ago too, so it’s surprising that I’ve only now heard about it. You can check it out here and you can find the stuff about me by searching for my name.
You know, sometimes when I think back on some of my projects, I just remember, “Oh, that’s the game where I had to translate poop jokes,” so it’s a pretty crazy feeling to be a quotable source for academic writing, heh.
I’m also in the latest issue of Retro Gamer magazine! I swear, every time I see pictures of this magazine it makes me want to buy every issue ever. So it’s an honor to be within its pages! You can actually see a quick video preview of the issue here:
Haha, I just realized that the Japanese text next to “Key Figures” means that I’m an “important number” 😛
New Project in the Works
For the past many weeks I’ve been putting together a new project – a comparison of the latest Zelda game for the 3DS. Late last year I finally sat down to play through A Link Between Worlds and started thinking – since I’ve already taken a detailed look at the first Zelda game’s localization, it would be cool to look at the very latest game’s localization too to see how things have changed in all these years. So I’ve been doing just that, and it’s actually turning out to be a lot more fascinating than I expected!
Anyway, I don’t have a timeline for this project yet, but it’s coming along nicely. I originally wasn’t even going to mention it until it was ready, but the main reason is this: if you have any questions or suggestions for stuff I should look into, lemme know! I don’t want to miss anything if I can help it, since it won’t always be easy to go back and check things.
In fact, while playing through both versions of the game and gathering screenshots, I also decided to record video for future reference and to supplement any screenshots I miss. I also decided to start uploading them to YouTube, so if you’re interested in checking out videos of the Japanese and English version of A Link Between Worlds, I’ve started slowly posting them on my YouTube channel here!
When the time comes I’ll be adding these to the appropriate comparison pages too. Be sure to let me know if I’ve missed anything or if I should try not to miss certain things – as of writing this I’m about to get the Master Sword.
Final Fantasy IV
My Final Fantasy IV comparison section has turned into a huge monster over time! But my recent decision to try to do one update a month has made it a lot easier for me to handle, so I’ll probably keep doing it that way for a while. The next update is going to be the Tower of Zot… which means some serious stuff’s about to go down!
AVGN Section Stuff
The other week I posted a new section about Angry Video Game Nerd-related stuff, and it’s actually been one of the most-viewed section of the site since 😯 My aim is to do a new article every couple of weeks; the ones that don’t involve creating comparison videos are surprisingly quick for me to write up, so it’s pretty easy and fun. Next up will be Who Framed Roger Rabbit… ugh.
Xenoblade for Fun, Research, and Health!
Last year I played through Xenoblade, and after some initial frustration it went on to become one of my all-time favorite games. I spent about 150+ hours on it, and about half of those were actually while I was on my exercise bike. I actually mentioned this to some friends and they were like, “Holy crap that’s a great idea, I’m gonna do it too!”
Anyway, I wanted to get back in the swing of things, so I decided the other day to start a new game of Xenoblade. Then I realized, you know, maybe I should record my gameplay for future reference if I ever want to do a comparison project, or if I just want to do tiny mini-articles like this one. So I’ve started recording Xenoblade videos and uploading them too, in what I call a “Let’s Workout” 😛
It’s not especially exciting stuff to watch, but if you’re interested, it’s on my YouTube channel too. Eventually I hope to move on to the Japanese version and record it too, but that won’t be for a while I’m sure. But, again, if you have any suggestions on what I should look out for or what I should try not to miss, let me know!
(Just to be clear, I’m not announcing a Xenoblade comparison, but I’d love to do one someday, which is why I’m recording these videos.)
Man, I know there’s a lot more that I ought to mention, but I can’t remember it right now. But anyway, if you have any info or suggestions or whatever, please share them with me~
Also, after writing all this up, I’m amazed at how I rarely play games how they’re meant to be played anymore – I play them for research purposes and workouts now? Man, what a weirdo.