Saturday, April 24, 2010

Shadowgate in Japanese

I've been working on an article on the ICOM MacVenture games, which includes Deja Vu, Uninvited, and Shadowgate, as well as its handful of spinoffs. What I found bizarre was that the Famicom version of Shadowgate was often listed as a "kusoge", a term which is usually applied to...well, crap. It's a silly game, no doubt, but how did it reach the status of "legendary" as evidenced in this clip of Densetsu no Kusoge Daikessen ("The Legendary Kusoge Showdown"). I pitched the question to Kevin Gifford at Magweasel and he gave a very interesting response.

Beyond the actual writing, as he describes, the most hilarious bit about it is that the Japanese version is written in the first person, while the original English was written in the second person. That alone makes the monologues that much weirder. Take, for instance, the death message, which compared to the others, was translated pretty closely. In English it's "It's a sad thing that your adventures have ended here!", while in Japanese, it's something like "Oh no! My adventure has ended here!" It was sort of cool in English since the Grim Reaper was supposed to be taunting you, but here it sounds like some crazy dead guy is lamenting pointlessly to himself.

Anyway, Magweasel has a video of all of the English death scenes. Here are the Japanese ones:

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