What Happened When I Auto-Translated the Official Final Fantasy Browser Game


December 18, 2017 marked the 30th anniversary of Final Fantasy 1’s release in Japan. To celebrate, Square Enix uploaded an HTML version of Final Fantasy 1 that can be played in standard web browsers. Unfortunately, the game was only released in Japanese, but fans quickly realized that using web browsers’ auto-translate feature could turn the game into English.

Image 1

Because things like this rarely stay online for long, I wanted to document the game and how it looks when it’s auto-translated into English. I decided to stream the process live and take screenshots of all the text I came across. Luckily, only Final Fantasy 1’s introductory gameplay is included in the browser version – the game ends shortly after you defeat the first boss and save the princess.

Technically, the game ends once you hit the famous bridge scene after defeating Garland. I wonder if it’s possible to edit your character’s coordinates to skip over the bridge. If so, I wonder how much more of the game is playable beyond that…

The images below capture most of the text I encountered, although I did miss a few amusing lines related to preemptive attacks. If you’d like to see the whole thing from start to finish, see the stream archive here. There are two other things to note:

  • The translation’s font looks ridiculous because this Japanese version only has capital English letters in its font, and even then it only has like 8 letters included. All other letters fall back to a default browser font, which makes everything look fittingly crazy.
  • If you enjoy this kind of weird and funny auto-translation stuff, I highly recommend that you check out Funky Fantasy IV!


Stream Archive

If you liked this, check out press start to translate, my book about the time I Google-translated Final Fantasy IV. It includes the worst/most hilarious translation mistakes, all while explaining why Google's A.I. made such terrible choices. (free preview PDF)
  1. ☞ FIGHT

  2. Bartolo Polkakitty

    The bit that seems the most interesting to me is when it’s trying to translate the individual kana on the naming screen, because you can still tell they’re arranged in gojuuon order, and there is actually some clear logic behind most of them. 「う」 really is a word that means “cormorant”, and 「え」 can be used as an interjection with the same significance as “huh?”, although I would have expected the latter to be interpreted as “picture”. 「に」 can be interpreted as “into”, although it seems strange that whatever corpus this program is drawing from has led it to conclude that “into” is a more likely translation than “in” or “at”. 「こ」, 「そ」, and 「な」, translated as “this”, “that”, and “what” respectively, seem to be interpreted as abbreviations of 「この」, 「その」, and 「なに」. (I wonder if the corpus included examples of an extremely shocked person saying 「な な な な なに???」)

    I have no idea why so many characters are being translated as “to”, though.

    Also, isn’t there a consensus among most translators now that 「ケアル」 (the name of the basic healing spell in every Final Fantasy game) was actually intended to be “Care” instead of “Cure”? I’m impressed that it got that right when several different professional translators in the 90s didn’t (well, unless they just changed it because they thought “Care” wasn’t a good-sounding name for a spell, like how “Tina” became “Terra”….)

    1. ケアル isn’t “intended” to be any particular English word, but yes, it’s probably the word “care” (ケア) with an extra ル tossed onto the end to make it more than just the average English word. A lot of other spells have similar “slightly corrupted English words” names, and especially the Sleep spell スリプル has a similar “just toss a ル at the end” one.

    2. Haha, yeah, you’re right – I shouldn’t have said “Cure” there, it was a force of habit. I haven’t followed the discussions about the origins of the weird FF spell names too closely, but yeah it does seem very likely to be a corruption of ケア.

    3. I’ve always thought that they changed it to “Cure” because the healing spells in Dungeons & Dragons are called Cure _ Wounds.

  3. I love melodramatic machine translation. Some golden lines in there XD

  4. Sorry I only now got to it.

    I’m sure someone else can do better. 😀

  5. Aren’t people tired of idiot machine translations of games already?

    1. It can be amusing in moderation.

  6. I’ve been playing Funky Fantasy lately, so this is serendipitous

    (Also inspired me to try to do a google translate version of fe8. Try being operative word. :/

  7. Getting married at the shops? Awesome!