My god. Only nine o' clock and I'm already posting this. Next thing you know, I'll be updating my column at a reasonable hour or something. Man.

Not a lot to discuss today. I'm prepping two Vault entries, dealing with some supplementary university application forms (writing samples and whatnot), and some other things that are really, really irrelevent to this column.

Most of the letters today deal with the issue of dubbing in games. We've heard from the faction who are vehemently against dubbing, and prefer subbing. We've heard from me, at length as always. And now comes the group that I like to call the Pooh Bear Contingent. They're the sorts of people who, where someone bitchy like me would start ranting about a game's flaws or bad dubbing or whatever, simply look at the flaw in question and say "oh, bother" and continue on their way. Nothing really gets under their skins. They just find something else to focus on instead of harping on past difficulties and annoyances. I envy them.

Oh, and before I forget, let's all wish our own Andrew "14 inches" Vestal a happy and promiscuous birthday today! Yay! He turns the big 19 today, so wish him a good one.

Bidding war

hey tell everyone i'll sell squall's necklece for $500 us dollers! that's right! 500 us dollers i had to wait in line at the gift store in tgs for an hour and a half to get that so if you pay me 500 dollers i'll send it to you!


I'm not turning this column into eBay Lite, but if you're REALLY eager to have your own Squall necklace, here's your chance.

How import is good translation, anyyway?

Hello letter answering agent dude

Is it just me or are people taking game translations a little too seriously. Example : Whenever somebody talks about Xenogears, you're bound to hear somebody complain about the dubbing. I admit, it was bad, but some people take this as a personal insult or something. I mean, does the dubbing actually remove anything from the gameplay? No. The fact is that, as long as the story doesn't suffer from it, it doesn't hurt the game...well, not as much as some people want us to believe.

Also, some people would rather keep the japanese voices and go with subbing. I'm against that. Why (would anyone care but that's beside the point)? Subbing keeps the attention away from the actual image. I take for example Records of Lodoss Wars. I saw this subbed anime and missed half of the scenes because my attention was drawn to the bottom of the screen, not at what was actually happening. I'm sure some people are saying that the image doesn't matter, just the story. But, doesn't subbing remove the actual purpose of the image? Shouldn't they just write a book instead?

Don't get me wrong, I believe that the plot is the most important part of an rpg. But I believe that images intensify the experience, and I'm for all the FMV that we see in the newer rpgs. I don't believe that they take anything away from the game, and they aren't just "eye candy". You know how they say "a picture is worth a thousand words"?

And, going back to the subject of my opening sentence, game translations. Admittedly, there are sopme bad ones out there, but some of them get an extremly bad rep which they don't deserve. Examples : FFT, FF7. I know there are some bad sentences in these games, and they could've done better, but to the point that it actually makes people hate the games? Sheesh, I understood the stories of both these games quite well (maybe the fact that I'm french and I'm used to crappy translations has a role in this, but who knows). What I see people complaining about mostly are details, minor details, and yet, they hold onto these details as if the whole game depended on them.

Oh well, this might be a little long for you to post, but, I just felt like I had to add my two cents to this whole debate.


Well, some people do seem to take translations a wee bit too seriously. I remember one letter I got who claimed they'd like to rip off the nipples of whoever dubbed the voice of Synbios in Shining Force 3. I mean, okay, fine, I didn't like the voice either, but good god, take a Valium.

On the other hand, I'm a firm believer that a story is only as good as how well it's told, and a poor translation hampers the storytelling. Dialogue that's riddled with poor grammar and typos is distracting and awkward to read, and prevents the story from being clearly told. For my money, the most important thing in a translation is clarity. Does it make sense? Is it saying what it's supposed to in a way that affects the reader? That's a key problem of the horrible dubbing in Xenogears - it's so out of sync with the action that it's distracting, and if you're noticing the timing of the voices, you're not noticing what's being said, and that's a disaster.

I, for one, don't have any trouble reading subtitles (I'm a foreign film buff, what can I say?), but can appreciate that some people do not.

Mushashi is so cuuuuuuute!

I don't understand why everybody hates Musashi's dub so much. Musashihad a GOOD dub. Someone at some point described Musashi as being like aSaturday morning cartoon, and that seems to sum it up pretty well. It ISlike a Saturday morning cartoon, and I don't think that's a bad thing.It's a corny game, and it has a corny dub, but I wouldn't say it has aBAD dub.

Eh... my tolerance for cuteness and sickly melodrama has a limit, and BFM's dubbing pole-vaulted over that line. How much you can enjoy consciously done overacting and cuteness will affect your ability to enjoy BFM. My tolerance level falls somewhere after Superman: TAS and ends shortly before The Powerpuff Girls. Your mileage will vary. Of course, others will undoubtedly say why they think BFM's dub was empirically bad, so we'll pick this up again tomorrow.

Agent in the headlights

Okay, I've got something to rant about for a sec: Blue headlights. Whatthe hell is up with these things? I've never seen them before this week,but I'm starting to run into about a pair a day, and they're seriouslybeginning to cheese me off. You know the ones I'm talking about -they're this nasty sharp piercing tealish washed-out blue color, andreally bright. They're especially awful at night, when they seem about4x brighter than normal headlights. Where did these things -come- from,and what's the whole point? I gotta know. Thanks.

~Nick Fagerlund

Game Cat at large (or at least at medium size).

Blue headlights have been around for awhile, but are apparently coming into vogue at the moment. They're specifically designed to light dark areas more efficient and brightly than normal lights do, but with less capability to blind than normal headlights. Use of blue headlights by cars and other road vehicles at night is supposed to curb nighttime accidents by 10-20% over the next ten years, if implemented on a nationwide scale.

Working at voice acting designs

Well, I was hoping this debate would never show up here at the GIA, after my not-so-pleasant debates (read: arguements) that I've had on the subject over at the Working Designs MB, but I suppose it was inevitable, given the proliferation of voice acting in video games. But anyway, I'd just like to say that while subtitles would be preferable to the abysmal dubbing that seems so prevelant in the gaming industry (Shining Force III *shudders*), I'll always prefer a GOOD dub (rare thing that it is) to a subbing. But shame on you, Double Agent, for failing to mention Working Designs as an example of a company that does good dubbing. Lunar: TSS & Lunar: EB for the Sega CD have some of the best voice acting I've ever had the pleasure of hearing, and John Truitt (Ghaleon) is IMO the single best voice actor in this hemisphere, if not the world.

- Red XIV

Agreed on Truitt's voice acting. I'm not sure if he's *the* best, but he's a damn fine voice actor, and is to be admired. As an aside, whatever my opinion of the voice itself, I have to commend WD for consistently having good dubbing - the voices and lip movements are closely in sync, unlike some games I could name. On the other hand, the voice acting itself tends to be hit and miss with me. I thought Cosmic Fantasy 2 and Lunar: EB's voice acting was all-around superb, but grew very annoyed with much of MKR's, and the stuff in Elemental Gearbolt sounded very stilted.

Industry musings

1) Where do you see the Video Game industry going as a whole? I rememberthe Pong guy (I'd look up his name but I'm tired) saying video gamescould do a world of good if people could get past the 'rot your brain'thinking. He mentioned how NES's are cheap and easy (In comparison Isuppose) to program these days...How a $30 dollar NES in a class roomcould make a difference. What do you think?

That's an interesting question, one which I can only answer honestly with ignorance. I just don't know where the industry is heading. I don't think we'll be seeing wide public acceptance of video gaming, since it remains a niche market and entertainment medium primary directed at young-to-adult males. Moreover, so long as it remains profitable, I don't see that changing dramatically, not in the console industry at least. As for programming NESes in classrooms, while it may well be an interesting educational tool, and certainly an innovative one, I doubt the piracy-paranoid Nintendo would ever license their system out for public dissection.

2) How's CandyXXX? *Wink wink, nudge nudge*

She's taken.

3) Do you or the staff ever get drunk on the near God-like power youhave over the teeming masses, being so close the to throbbing pulsingheart of the Video Game Industry?

Not really. We do, however, periodically send out Glick to pick up some beer, so we can get drunk in more traditional ways.

4) What's your favorite gaming site? That is, other than GIA.

Good question. My favourite corporate site is probably WD's homepage, with that very cool Turbografx museum. For fan sites, I really like the GSA (duh), the Video Game Soundtracks Homepage, and have a soft spot for PCXL. They're very, very naughty, damn it's fun reading the news from them.

5) And this is inspired by the letter about Lunar...Doesn't anyoneremember when Chrono Trigger and FF6 were $80? Or was that just here inHawaii...? I saw FF6 for $55 in a used game store recently, and evenhigher on eBay...USED! Hello to the writer of that letter, Esteemed HighGuru of Moism, Ben Mo.

$55 for FF6 used? Yikes. I can pick it up for about $30 Canadian funds (that's roughly fifty cents US funds, I think) 'round here. I guess things are more expensive in Hawaii.

So, your arch-nemesis is Micheal Flatly eh? Mwa ha ha...First GIA, thenthe world...

~Ian, the P stands for Perfection, P

What is Terranigma/What is Illusion of Gaia 2?

Terranigma *IS* IOG2.

In Japan, the games were known as the Soulblazer Trilogy. On the UK versionof Illusion of Gaia, Soulblazer 2 was written at the bottom of the titlescreen.

I think this thing was meant as irony... as in "wouldn't it be cool if inthe game you could meet the people who coded it?". Think the sadly cut fromUS release Programmers Room in FF4j.

Terranigma very nearly didn't get an english release at all, for reasons Idon't know (was this the time enix pulled out of the states?). At any rate,I doubt the title for use in the US had been confirmed... they could havecalled it Soulblazer 3, IOG2 or a new title, eg Terranigma. In the end, wegot it in the UK, under the name Terranigma, and it got no US release.Sounds a bit backwards doesn't it? I think if it had had a US release itprobably would have been IOG2.

What were the enix games advertised in Robotrek? I can't remember, but Ithink IOG2 was in that list as well (unless it was the first game).

Woohoo! Squaresoft are opening a development house in the UK! That will be*the* place to get work experience! I just hope they don't make a "Secret ofEvermore" (gleep!). A game set in London like PE is set in NY might bepretty cool though.

Still, I'll stop blabbering now.

- Hahn's Muskcat

Great. First someone tells me that Terranigma advertises IoG2. Then I'm told that IoG2 *is* Terrangima. And now Soulblazer is tossed into the mix. Yee-haw. I'm throwing in the towel on this one and go with Hahn's explanation of the mess.

As for Square opening a development house in the UK, I have to say that I'm happy for European gamers. They tend to get the shaft a lot, game-wise, and it's good to see that there's going to be a local presence by a big company there now.

Someone gets it

... Whoa. I was flipping through my daily websites, and I glance overat the Double Agent column, and saw 'Round Midnight as the title ... andI got it. o_o It was just the creepiest feeling. We studied jazzmusicians last semester in my music course, and Thelonious Monk justhappened to be my prof's favorite musician, so we got to hear that song,'Round Midnight. It felt so creepy getting that pun ... ^_^

Just thought I'd share that. Latah!

-- Jetmode

Yaaaaaaay! Go Jetmode! Good eye, good memory, good job! I'm a jazz fan, and it's nice to see that at least one of my readers is too. It's a great song, too.

It's all Panzerese to me

Ok, I'm tired of seeing this, but I've got to disprove everyone. PanzerDragoon Saga did NOT have Japanese voice and english subtitles! Theonly japanese speech was in the narration (the story telling.. not thecharacters). The PDS team made up an entirely new language for PDS,which is what you hear characters like Edge saying.This is NOT Japanese!!!

(besides, who cares about dubbing/subbing? Dubbing in my opinion isgreat IF THEY DO IT RIGHT! For instance.. voice acting in xenogears wasgreat, but the dubbing square should be ashamed of...)

Sorry for that rant.. bad day anyway :P

-Brad Williams

Um, okay.

Closing comments

Melonhead and The Irresponsible Captain Cham both wrote in tell tell me that they pronounce Chocobo "koh-koh-boh". The Captain also noted that he likes funnel cake. Don't you feel more fulfilled as a person and a lover for knowing that?

- The Double Agent

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