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!
A welcome message and a sound on/off option menu
The game's introductory story
The individual letters on the naming screen turned into a real mess
The default characters classes
My characters' names
The start of the game
Many of the lines in the game were edited to refer to the game's anniversary and the series' future
Checking the fountain
Translated text usually breaks out of the text windows and becomes unreadable
Many NPCs say the same thing, as is to be expected from early games like this
The main menu
An equip menu of some sort
Character stats - I later learned that each character has differently translated words for the same stats
Empty item menu
An armor shop
The biggest challenge is figuring out the shop menu options
Buying black magic spells
Equipping the party with armor
A standard battle
A goblin is defeated
A goblin's attack misses a party member
The party attacks a goblin that already died
All enemies defeated
Party members level up and have their stats increase
The inn screen - the text was edited to say that you can't save in this version of the game
An item shop
A locked door
Apparently this NPC is supposed to be chanting a spell?
I think this is supposed to be the queen but is known as Mr. Jane Osaki instead
The infamous invisible NPC is fully visible here
I was impressed by how enemy names always managed to fit within their limited window space, but it was always by coincidence
Fighting some ghouls
Potions became "Portions"
Using a "Portion" to restore HP
Casting the Thunder spell
A party member is paralyzed
Checking a treasure chest
The Thunder and Cure spells
Successfully running away from enemies
A Giga Worm
A locked door
A secret NPC was added! He congratulates you for finding him and hopes you'll continue to support the series in the future
Different treasure chests
An empty treasure chest
Meeting the vile Garland, who no longer threatens to "knock you down". Instead, he threatens to "flock".
All the bats say this
The princess thanks the party
The princess gives the party a Lute
The king gives the party something I think
The princess again
The king again
Clearly an updated message
The Tent's item description
The Lute's item description
Using a potion on party members
The weapon equip screen
The armor equip screen
Not so extreme, but has decent tea and knowledge of Japan's Meiji era
A nice, well-rounded mixture of precipitation, commerce, and education
This monk definitely lifts
There were three other classes to choose from at the start of the game - here's the White Mage's name and starting stats
This is the Black Mage's name and starting stats
You can also play as the main character from Final Fantasy Record Keeper
lanch: Verb. (third-person singular simple present lanches, present participle lanching, simple past and past participle lanched) (obsolete) To throw, as a lance; to let fly; to launch.
This NPC discusses the next part of the game, except you can't get to that part of the game in this version
30 people's legs are apparently gone
There's almost something EarthBound-esque about this self-referential NPC
Why is a well thanking me
Visiting the healer
Again, discussing an upcoming event that's impossible to see in this version
Finally, the game's famous intro scene plays... but this is also where this version of the game ends
The very ending screen
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)
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”….)
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.
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.
I’ve always thought that they changed it to “Cure” because the healing spells in Dungeons & Dragons are called Cure _ Wounds.
I love melodramatic machine translation. Some golden lines in there XD
Sorry I only now got to it.
I’m sure someone else can do better. 😀
Aren’t people tired of idiot machine translations of games already?
It can be amusing in moderation.
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. :/
Getting married at the shops? Awesome!