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Book Review: Legends of Localization Book 1: The Legend of Zelda

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Like all great media, video games transcend the restriction of language.  Thanks to standardized interfaces, albeit complicated and vast, one can easily pick up a game in any language and navigate it.  Whether or not you absorb the key gameplay concepts or the story, however, still comes down to understanding the written or spoken words.  This is especially true of retro video games since a majority were born in Japan and then exported to various countries and languages (the most common being English).  Unfortunately the process of translating a game requires more care than simply asking what a word or written symbol converts to in another language.  Localization is a more appropriate term for what video game translation is really all about.  Clyde “Mato” Mandelin has actually done it and continues to document various changes and localization between video games in Japanese and English in his wonderful Legends of Localization site.  He recently took the next step and published his first hardcover book, Legends of Localization Book 1: The Legend of Zelda, which does a few things I never thought possible.  For one, it taught me a bunch of stuff about The Legend of Zelda that I never knew.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 7, 2016 at 11:00 am