Legends of Localization is making the jump to book form!
This first book takes a detailed look at the localization of the original Legend of Zelda and the differences between the Japanese and English versions, including graphics, audio, and even secret tricks which were removed from the English version.
- 208 full-color pages
- Hardcover with gold foil imprint and debossing
- 'Obi'-style jacket / poster
- Bonus postcard
- Exclusive content not found online, including a look into re-releases of the first Zelda game to see how the localization process changed them over time
- Also available separately: 'Passport to the Legend of Zelda', a helpful booklet full of Japanese tips and tricks and a full language guide for English-speaking fans who want to play through the original Japanese version.
The author, Clyde "Tomato" Mandelin, is a professional translator most known for his work on Attack on Titan, One Piece, Dragon Ball, Summer Wars, and Detective Conan/Case Closed. His notable hobby translations include MOTHER 3, Star Ocean, and Bahamut Lagoon.
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I've to say, I did not knew much about Legends of Localization before buying this book. Living in Belgium, French is my native language, so I guess that's why I never pay too much attention to all those discussions around the weird English used in the first Zelda game. But I should have, because games in the 80s and early 90s were almost never translated in French... As a kid, I played (The!) Legend of Zelda on the NES in English. When you think about it, it's kinda weird. When I talk about retro games with friends, we often forget that all those games were not translated and yet we remember them as if they were.
Of course, going back to those games now, I can understand why there are still discussions going on today about the translation of the original Zelda game. Yet, I never went so far as to read the LoL's website. But I bought the book. Because I'm a huge Zelda fan, and in a few day my favorite franchise will turn 30. So I though that this is the perfect time to delve deeper in the history of the one game that has started it all. And needless to say, I'm really enjoying this book so far !
There are some print issues unfortunately, text and pictures are sometimes a bit blurry. It's still always readable though. We can feel Mato's passion while reading the book, and it's always a pleasure to see how Zelda can affect the lives of some people. Also, despite the print issues, the book is beautiful all the way from the first cover to the very last page. Good job!
I'm a big fan of Mato's writing style and have enjoyed his Zelda series on the Legends of Localization website. This book goes even deeper than previous efforts, looking at the bones of the game from the Japanese build to the North American translation. The presentation is beautiful, the writing is engaging and witty. I especially appreciate the fact the author doesn't resort to the crass, lowest-common-denominator game analysis so popular these days.
Unlike some of the other reviewers here, the layout and print quality of my book are excellent. I do agree that trying to visually represent changes in sound files didn't really work in print, though I completely understand why the author used the wave files to show the differences. While thorough, a better approach would just to have describe the aural differences and move onto to other topics.
Overall, it's a very enjoyable read. It would have been really interesting to get the actual translators involved but I speculate that would have been very difficult to track down the individuals, especially since this isn't a publication printed by Nintendo. I'm looking forward to the next book (Earthbound) and hopefully many more!
I agree with a number of the other reviewers. The book is beautiful -- solid construction, wonderful impression/printing on the cover (among other things). But a number of the pages did have a blurry ghosting affect on the print, which is unfortunate.
Also, this book is all about detail in every aspect. Some of that detail does not come off so well (such as the audio section... thygoddess hit the nail on the head there. Most of the descriptions are not even worth reading).
At some points, the author gets bogged down in speculation and open ended questions (such as asking why an updated version of the game fixed some typos, but not others). You're seeing somebody looking at the products of history and then trying to understand what happened; there's very little information (none?) from people actually involved in the process. Perhaps the book and its open-ended questions will cause people with the answers to share that knowledge. Until then, we're left with guesses. Lots of them.
But those points aside, this book contains a great amount of detailed information about different aspects of the game (including the commercials and non-cartridge products such as board games). If you've ever been curious about certain quirks of the game (why does the old man say that? what does that mean?), then this book probably covers it.
The book itself is fantastic. Good layout, lot of extra information (e.g. about politeness in Japan), lot of interesting facts. The shipment was very fast (from USA to Germany). My only critic is the print quality. I am not sure I will be ordering another book if it has similar print issues. Some pages are hard to read because of text ghosting or strange color issues. It would be great to have a PDF file for this book as well.
This is a very interesting book. There is a lot of research in it and I do recommend it, but there are some issues.
First is not the fault of the author, it's the print quality. It's a BEAUTIFUL book, no doubt there, but quite a few pages have major printing issues. It's as if the layers were not always aligned properly, and the whole page is sometimes so blurry I can barely read it without getting watery eyes.
Second problem I have is the audio section. Yes, it's very hard to write about audio. But it is summed up to "Hey look the sounds are different. Really, they're different. It's hard to tell in text and graph but they are different!" Maybe it would've been better to drop it out completely. Still, at least it's short. I suggest you just listen to the link (The... right link that is.) and move along with the rest of the read.
I still liked this. I would've liked it way better if the print would've been better.