Status Update & Current Projects (June 2016)

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

I wish we could've done scratch-n-sniff with this book

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.

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 ๐Ÿ˜ฏ 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)?”


That DDR mat in the back... I wish RedOctane still sold those soft mats...

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.

Zelda II

The best thing about this game is adding lyrics to its music as you play

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.

Site Updates

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.

Other Stuff

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.

Thanks for reading this far!

  1. I’m so excited for your next book! It really was a fascinating read, especially for an aspiring/newbie translator. It’s really cool to hear how successful it’s become too. I’ll be sure to snatch up a copy of the EB book as soon as I get that email notice, because I have a feeling it’s going to be even more popular than the Zelda one.

    1. Cool, thanks! As I’ve been writing the EarthBound one I’ve come to realize that any book I write in the future will never quite be like this one. I think an interesting side effect is that it shows why the game is so different from others, even to this day.

  2. Any timeline on the FF4 comparison update?

    I don’t like to sound like I’m rushing you, but I’ve been eagerly refreshing your site weekly since 2014 waiting for an update lol

    1. The start of every week this year I’ve been “all right, gonna do an FFIV update this week!” and then a bunch of other stuff happens. I’m really disappointed in myself, but I do fully intend to continue. For a while I was going back and forth between “should I continue to compare all 80 versions of the game” and “should I just cover the original releases like I used to”. I’m thinking that if I do the latter I’ll be able to do updates more often and have enough extra material for a possible book down the line. So basically there isn’t a timeline but I want to get it going ASAP.

      1. Oh man, guys, he’s getting serious about the FF4 book! Everybody get ready to buy a whole new bookcase to hold the thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        1. 26 leatherbound volumes, encyclopaedia style. One for each port.

  3. Thank you very much for the work you do, Clyde. I am not really a fan of Earthbound/Mother (though I have played the wonderful translation of Mother 3), but I am buying the book to support you and to possibly learn something new! The part about being in touch with officials of the game is pretty intriguing!

    You’ve been an inspiration to many aspiring translators out there, and I have you to thank as a personal inspiration for doing comparison posts on my own blog from time to time on more niche series like Fire Emblem and the like : ) I recommend people to this site often if they have questions you may have already covered.

    A book on Zelda II would be pretty awesome too! I look forward to that.

    By the way, will we ever see or hear the results of the postcard/surveys at the end of the first book? Or did I miss that already somewhere? D:

    Thanks for all your work! Keep it up!


    1. Thanks, and keep up the good work with your site too!

      Even if you don’t like EarthBound much this new book goes into some great detail about the game localization process, both the language side and the technical programming side. It’s also filled with lots of small features which explain more general things like the S-rank system in games, swearing in Nintendo games over the years, butts, developer biographies, onomatopoeia in translation, etc. etc. It’ll be good stuff!

      Postcard-wise, the last time I checked the totals I think Zelda II is in the lead, with Final Fantasy I close behind it. Maybe later this year I’ll do a post with the totals + drawings based on all the renamed Moblin ideas or something.

      1. The Earthbound book has butts in it? I was going to ignore it because “ugh, Earthbound” but I am SOLD NOW! BRING ON THE BUTTS! WHOO!

        I find the prospect of a Zelda 2 book REALLY exciting, for some reason.
        (And I think most of what it did and does get crapped on for is simply being too different from what people expected. I remember being shocked it wasn’t overhead view, and I never really got over it.)

  4. A textbook? Like for college? You should be charging 5 times that price!

    1. Haha, yeah, that came to mind but I remembered how sucky it was to have to buy expensive books that hardly got used. I don’t want to be part of the system!

  5. Awesome news! Glad to hear everything’s going well!

    On the subject of the Earthbound book: is there going to be a special “passport” bit and limited edition like there was for the Zelda book? Of so, how will that work for people who picked up the Kickstarter version? If we buy the passport alone on Fangamer, do we get a limited edition (provided we’re quick enough)?

    1. Yep, we’re planning an EarthBound passport. Our limited edition stuff sold out in less than a day last time so what we’re planning for EarthBound is that anyone who buys the first printing (the first few thousand or so, in other words) will get extra bonuses.

      I’m not closely involved with the actual Kickstarter fulfillment stuff so I’m not sure what they’re planning or how the passport will fit into it all. But since all the first print books will have the little bonuses I’ll prod the Fangamers guys about it the next time I see them.

      1. So you’re saying it should be a lot easier to get the limited edition version this time around? Awesome. I was a bit bummed i couldn’t get that last time (though at least i was still able to order the passport separately).

        1. Yeah, not having enough limited editions for the LOL “regulars” to get was a bit oddball. I guess demand was just way higher than predicted, which is an awesome problem to have in the long run, of course!

          1. Yep, I didn’t expect the response it got, I thought 500 would last a long time. We learned a lot from the first book, which is why we did it before the big EarthBound one.

  6. Haha, is that the Zelda 2 disc I sent you?

    I really loved the first book and as much I am looking forwards to EarthBound, Zelda 2 is the one I really want. So excited!

    1. Yep, I think it is! I actually have a second one somewhere but I couldn’t find it, I think Tony the book designer is looking at it for design ideas.

      The EarthBound book is definitely going to be historic. Zelda II’s gonna be a tough sell so there’s still a chance it might not happen. I want it to happen though.

  7. Hey, Mato!

    I saved my postcard because I am a collector but forgot to send an email response!
    Lucky for me, Zelda II would have been my choice so it’s all good to me ๐Ÿ™‚
    While I am really interested in all of the options presented, I was quite surprised that Super Mario Bros. wasn’t next because you already have so much material for it on your site already. I assume, then, you’d want to pad it out with other things like the Zelda book if you made one?

    Final Fanatsy 1 would be an interesting choice too, however, I wouldn’t have chosen it because there weren’t more details anyway to indicate whether or not it was only the NES -> Famicom translation or if it was a comprehensive FF1 book.

    Anyways, I look forward to the future books and I’ll buy them regardless of which game it is.

    1. Haha, when we came up with the postcard idea we didn’t consider that readers would see them as collector’s items, but it turns out the majority of respondents have kept them ๐Ÿ˜›

      Right now we’re prepping for Zelda II but it might not happen – I think the biggest worry is that it’ll be really hard to convince people to get it. The challenge is to somehow solve that problem. I really want to go through the games in order, to paint a fuller picture of game localization as it changed over time.

      We’ve briefly discussed doing a Mario 1 book if Zelda II doesn’t work out. It’d be an interesting challenge. There’s also been some talk about a Mario 3 one, which would be fun. The amount of research could be staggering though.

      1. There was a postcard? I don’t remember that; it’s not with my LOL stuff, so maybe I actually sent mine in. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

        If I didn’t, eh, I probably would have picked something stupid anyhow. Probably Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom, possibly Dragon Warrior.

        1. Yeah, the books came with a simple postcard with a survey on the back and a localization problem for people to give three answers to. Been getting a lot of them, although most responses have been via e-mail because the postcards accidentally wound up being seen as collectors items.

          1. Huh, weird. That’s not ringing a bell at all. I wonder what I did with it.

      2. I’m pretty sure the Zelda II one would sell well if it was advertised to people who don’t usually buy things like this. There are plenty of Zelda fans and plenty of people who don’t realize that ใƒชใƒณใ‚ฏใฎๅ†’้™บใ€€and Adventure of Link are almost two different games. There’s actually a lot more material to work with and let’s be honest here…Mother fans are hardcore but there are more Zelda fans. Hyrule Historia sold ridiculously well and Nintendo has re-released the NES games on 3DS and Wii U. If there was more awareness then I believe more people would be interested in buying it (if people were aware that it’s more than just a “translation” book). After the release of Earthbound you should take a poll among people who bought the book again to see which book they would be more likely to buy as that would influence sales as well. I don’t know if it’s possible but you could get some of the more popular Zelda sites to talk about the book (since, from what I gleamed, most of the sites that mentioned the first one referenced IGN) to get their readers interested (basically…what’s going to happen with Starmen except a site that doesn’t know who you are).

        BTW, shoutout from APForums (RuNa)

        1. Yo! The AP Forums, it’s been so long ๐Ÿ˜ฏ

          I think the concern comes from the fact that we’ve already networked with all the big Zelda sites + general gaming sites for the Zelda 1 book. So, given that Zelda 2 isn’t as popular, it’s logical to think it won’t do as well, even with the support of all those sites.

          You’re right that we need to make it clear that it’s more than just a “translation book”. We’re figuring out how to convey that right now in fact.

          Thanks for the help & suggestions!

      3. It may also help that the newest installment (Breath of the Wild) is being related to the older games a lot, which may resurge interest in them now more than ever. : ) Perhaps with good timing with this relationship you can work something out that would gain the interest of people who may not be following your work as well! Pointing out other trivia related to the series’ beloved Ocarina of Time (such as character/town names from Zelda II and OoT) may also be a fun way to go about doing things.

        Along with that, word-of-mouth advertisement may go a long way. Plenty of followers to help spread the word for free I’m sure!

        1. Yep, that was a nice surprise, as was the 30th anniversary of the Japanese game this year. It looks like BotW is drawing a lot from the first game, but I’m curious to see what it might take from the second one. Won’t know until next year probably, though.

    2. Oh yes! The Final Fantasy that started it all! I’m sure it’ll be an awesome game to work on, yes? As you might remember, the original game was essentially directly based on Dungeons and Dragons in a way and thus had the Beholder enemy in there, not to mention the appearances of Marilith and (dragon) Bahamut.

      1. Yep, that’s high on the list of requested games for me to cover. There are 8000 versions of the game too, which would be interesting to look into.


          I’m happy to be the Final Fantasy Screenshot Dude again if need be. Just give a shout.

  8. Hmm, so the best thing about Zelda II is doing things like this?

    I am so old (in terms of the internet).


      I’ll definitely have to reference that somewhere, in a caption or something ๐Ÿ˜›

  9. Awesome stuff. You know, have you at some point considered doing english-to-japanese articles at some point? Sure, it can be tough to find a game that interests but i’m sure it can be worthwhile as well.

    1. Yep, I’m interested in comparing a couple English-language things and their Japanese translations.

      1. Alrighty, hopefully you have some cool picks in mind. Perhaps Crash Bandicoot would be a nice place to start…

        1. I’d be interested in a Jet Force Gemini comparison. If you’re worried that Zelda 2 is too niche, though…

      2. I’m very interested in the Bubsy translation. So many puns! It must have been a nightmare.


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