The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past – Live Japanese Script Viewer

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NOTE: This little program is an old “is it possible to do this?” experiment I did a good while back. I’ve since developed a far better and customizable tool that can be used for any Super NES and NES game. I’m leaving this page up for reference and for interesting reading material, but be aware that this particular program is now ancient and outdated.
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In late 2016 I threw together a quick program as an experiment. I wanted to see if I could take The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Super NES) and work some magic to display the Japanese lines of text whenever English lines text appeared. I posted about the entire process here.

Many readers asked to try the program out for themselves, but because it was a quick experiment, I had never intended it to be user-friendly or stable. Even so, I decided to add a little bit of error-checking and then upload it here for others to try:

Be sure to read the info below and/or the included README.TXT file before running the program!

Description:

This is an experimental program that displays the Japanese line from Zelda: A Link to the Past whenever an English line appears while running in an emulator. It’s very likely this won’t run on your system, as it was designed for a specific environment, but if you’d like to try it, try it at your own risk.

Requirements:

  • The program likely requires a 64-bit version of Windows (I’ve tested it on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1) and possibly the MonoGame, XNA, and/or .NET frameworks to be installed. If you have a recent version of Windows you probably already have most of this installed, though.
  • Snes9x emulator, version 1.53 (not tested on/meant for any other versions)
  • ROM of the Japanese version of A Link to the Past, named z3j.sfc (needs to be headerless, 1,048,576 bytes in size exactly)

To Use:

  • Place the Japanese ROM in the same folder as Zelda3RAMWatcher.exe
  • Load the English version of A Link to the Past in Snes9x 1.53
  • Run Zelda3RamWatcher.exe

Controls:

  • Esc: Quit program
  • Up/Down: Scroll Japanese text up/down
  • Left/Right: Refresh text and reset text position

If you have an XBox/Windows controller attached, you can use the right stick to scroll the text as well, and press the right stick to refresh the text.

Notes:

The program is a bare-bones “proof of concept” experiment. There’s no guarantee that it will work on your system/setup. It’s not intended to be user-friendly or receive any bugfixes/upgrades. I do hope to create a better, more customizable, general-purpose solution in the future.

If you enjoyed this, check out Legends of Localization Book 1: The Legend of Zelda, my book dedicated to the very first Zelda translation and how it has affected every Zelda game since! (free preview PDF )
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