In 1999, Japanese RPG developer Squaresoft reached the top of the world. Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy 8 were a huge success, and all the other weird RPGs it released seemed destined to become fanatical classics.But even at its peak in popularity, Square is still releasing games that it considers too niche, too difficult to translate, or too difficult to translate Japanese Released in the West. One of them is Racing Lagoon, which is an RPG game that combines fashionable street racing and bizarre, almost poetic writing into a game that is almost impossible to describe. Imagine if EE Cummings writes a script for a fast and furious movie, you will be roughly on the right track.
22 years later, Racing Lagoon is Finally can play English-We have a fan translator named “Hilltop Works”, thank him for introducing his unique style into English, and in the process created the best game diss since “spoony bards”.
“This lady who is the owner of Chinatown insulted you, I want to use’mung bean’. No one has used this kind of insult before, I don’t think,” he said. “But when you hear it, you kind of understand what it means, do you know?’Mung bean’ means the kind of young person who is not suitable for your current position. This sentence is:’Understood, Mung bean? Chinatown has it. rule.'”
In Japanese, insults are simple, such as “brat”, but stupid localization works in games that are known for quirks even in Japan. Hilltop said that in recent years, Racing Lagoon has made some new discoveries in China, because there is no other similar thing even there. “They call the speech Lagoon tour,’go’ means accent, each character is randomly added with English words, the speech is very poetic. ”
This unique language makes Racing Lagoon a challenging translation process, but it also happens at an amazing speed in the fan translation world.These projects often require year Come and go with volunteer writers and hackers. Many were abandoned and never completed.But Hilltop announced the translation of Racing Lagoon on May 23 and released Complete the patch November 11, which is six months later.
“When I announced the project and released the preamble patch, no one else was involved. I was in charge of programming, I was in charge of editing, and I planned to do everything by myself until people contact me,” Hilltop said. But he didn’t anticipate this. Over the years, how many people have reacted to Racing Lagoon similar to when he first discovered it.
Pancake Tai Chi Quote Music of Racing Lagoon As the main reason why he fell in love with this game. “The soundtrack itself is a world, and I just want to stay in it all the time,” he said. If you want to buy an ultra-rare jazz fusion saxophone CD, be prepared to pay up to $1,000.
“I just want people to see this game. This game is crazy. This game is absolutely crazy. There is no such thing, people need to see it,” he said. “I think this game is like a beautiful diamond. It is a pure crystal-no part of it can really be reproduced.”
The street racing aesthetics of the late 90s is very nostalgic for people in their 30s. They grew up watching Initial D, playing Gran Turismo, and are full of desire for Nissan Skylines. Suddenly, this cult object might be able to play in English, and people who like this game also seized this opportunity to help.
“For the past ten years, my friends have had to put up with me talking about it non-stop,” said Syd-88, who joined the translation project not as a translator but as an automotive consultant. Syd first played Racing Lagoon in 2011 and has been hoping to help others play it easier for many years.
“The game has penetrated into the entire Japanese tuner culture in a way I have never seen before or after,” Syd said. Gran Turismo is its contemporary model, but only for legal racing. Tokyo Xtreme Racer is involved in street racing, but it is more grounded, without the story or unique language of Racing Lagoon.
The translator Pancake Taicho currently lives in Japan, and in 2009 he saw a copy of Racing Lagoon for the first time in a second-hand game store during a trip. He likes Initial D, so he bought this game and unexpectedly found himself fascinated by the soundtrack. “I think I have heard of it more than anything in my life,” he said. PancakeTaicho actually tried to learn ROM hacking and work on Racing Lagoon a few years ago, but did not have the technical skills to make it work. When he saw Hilltop’s tweet, he seized the opportunity to help translate. Soon, Hilltop’s single-person project developed into an eight-person team project.
Hilltop is engaged in video game QA work during the day, and is responsible for Racing Lagoon translation in his spare time. He distributes huge scripts among volunteers and presides over editing meetings. They discuss scenes line by line. “Hilltop is like, I don’t want to talk about jacks in all industries, because it means he doesn’t sound very good,” Pancake Taicho said. “I think he is more like a single-player army. He has all the programming stuff, but I think he is also a very good localizer. He has a knack for helping find the right routes and phrases.”
Racing Lagoon is actually just Hilltop’s second translation project after Dr. Slump. This PS1 game is based on the comic Toriyama created before Dragon Ball. He studied computer science at university but never became a full-time programmer. He started learning Japanese a few years ago by listening to tapes during his commute.
“What can I do with these two skills? This is fan translation,” he said. “I wanted to do something with my life. I was unemployed at the time and I didn’t do a good job. And I never really produced anything—never, really—for public consumption.”
Learning PS1 romhacking is difficult. In the first three months, he just wanted to know how to hack Dr. Slump and put his head on data compression, which is a programming field in which he has no experience. From the beginning of that project, his notebook was filled with assembly language code pages that he was trying to debug. Finally he understood and was able to extract the script. On Racing Lagoon, the same process only took two days.
Although he now has a daily job as a game QA, Hilltop found that the fan translation is “very” fulfilling. This is a paid job that has never been done before. Although most fan translators seem content to treat it purely as a hobby, while others are professional translators who occasionally undertake passion projects, Hilltop is in the middle.He started Patreon of Hilltop Works, Which pointed out that if he can get 600 supporters every month, he will quit his job and work full-time on translating patches. When we had a midway conversation with the interpreter of Racing Lagoon, he hoped that the interest aroused after the completion would bring more Patreon supporters. “If I can do this forever, I will be 100%,” he said. “I like this very very much, not anything.”
The question now is whether the team gathered in this project will stick to it, no matter what Hilltop decides to translate next, or whether Racing Lagoon is an irresistible anomaly. It is difficult to find a game with a long history like Racing Lagoon, which has such a direct connection to the wider culture at the time of production.
Syd-88 said: “Someone bypassed Japan and scanned a lot of places with lasers.” “So someone has a lot of passion and wants to capture that moment in time. Hell, I’m not sure if you can reproduce something like this today. It won’t Have the same charm or effect.”
Hilltop added that Racing Lagoon has a theme about parts of Yokohama, where the game is located, and how it was Westernized-what was once written in Japanese is now written in English as part of the “21st Century Transformation.”
“Directly translating the script would be gibberish,” he said. “Half weird, random English words-half poetic nonsense, half just stupid absurdity. We have to piece them together into a script that not only makes sense, but still has that taste, and still feels like you are playing The Squaresoft JRPG in the 90s… I want to know if the whole thing is really some kind of crazy comment, to some extent, about the local culture, local scenes, how these western scenes are slowly being covered Influence.”
Ironically, bringing Racing Lagoon’s comments back to the surface after twenty years requires a full English translation.Even though the fan translations of Racing Lagoon are now parting ways, Hilltop has many other ideas to make PS1 games work in the next work, and hopes to surpass one day. fan Fully translated, while still remaining independent.
He likes the whole process: writing, hacking, recreating graphics. “The scenario I absolutely dream of is that I will really work hard. For example, if a company wants to re-release a PS1 game, they will hand me the CD and say’Give me this in English’,” he said. “That will make me… that will be a dream come true.”