As we enter a new theme month, we're talking about translation. That's translating languages and translating mediums.
Colin Williamson joined us from Seattle to discuss the process of localization. Colin used to work for Square Enix as a localization expert back in the mid-2000s, and helped retranslate some of the oldest Final Fantasy games, even going back and correcting the work of industry legend, Ted Woolsey.
Woolsey's work was flawed, though not for a lack of style. He did the translations largely on his own, couldn't communicate often with the design team, and had crazy deadlines to finish them. Colin meanwhile worked in a team, not too far from where the actual designers worked, and he started the translations while the game was still under development. Those circumstances also helped him codify all the language currently used in Final Fantasy games, like "Phoenix Down" over "Phoenix Feather." A lot has changed since Woolsey worked for Square, and Colin tells us all about it, starting 21:30.
Colin also gave us a couple games that are particularly great examples of localizations. For our own list, take a look at our primer.
On May 8 and 10 we visited the Bento Miso for Comics vs Games and the Bit Bazaar to talk 3D, VR, books and board games.
Comics vs Games is a yearly event in Toronto where comic artists team up with game designers to create a video game. This year, the theme was 3D, leading to the virtual reality games Altar and Libraria. Altar, created by designer Daniele Hopkins and artist Gillian Blekkenhorst, allows you to briefly walk around the ruins of an alien civilization. While designer Kyle Dwyer and artist Adam Hines teamed up for the pop-up book adventure game, Libraria.
(All photos from Attract Mode's 3D gallery. Clay models were all done by Ventla are long forgotten Nintendo characters that we can't name. The two prints are meant to be 3D with red/blue glasses. If you have 'em, try 'em.)
Each round of Comics vs Games is accompanied by a gallery curated by the fellows at Attract Mode, a video game art collective. This year they held a 3D gallery containing a selection of three dimensional 2D art, presented with old school red and blue glasses. We talked to Matt Hawkins, a long time member of Attract Mode about why they collect video game fanart, and some of beautiful renditions of Dark Souls and Year Walk, amongst numerous other games. You can hear from him, Gillian and Kyle starting 35:00.
Then at the Bit Bazaar we checked in with Conor McCreery and Elizabeth Simins on the other ways one can turn a book into a game, or vice versa.
Conor McCreery was at the Bit Bazaar, a sort-of independent video game flee market, to show off the new prototype of the upcoming Kill Shakespeare board game. Conor is one of the creators of Kill Shakespeare, a comic where all of Shakespeare's works exist in the same universe. Imagine the Marvel comic book universe, but for Hamlet and Othello. With those sorts of mashups already on the table, their publisher, IDW, invited them to turn the three-volume comic into a board game. Conor tells us about how the game works, how they got involved, and why a Kickstarter does more than raise thousands of dollars. You can hear all about it, starting 51:30.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Simins talked about the power of video game zines at one of the panels at the Bit Bazaar. Elizabeth, an artist who occasionally does a comic for Kotaku with journalist Cara Ellison, told us about zine's appeal and their utility. For those who don't know, a zine is like a small handcrafted magazine made by only a few people. Elizabeth loves their physicality and so do the people who buy them from her, although she admits she probably won't get rich off a zine. Still, they enable her to discuss things like misogyny in games, like in "Ain't No Such Thing as Misogyny." If you'd like to hear more about video games zines, and a few of Simins projects, take a listen at 51:30.
We used music from the Free Music Archive and Soundcloud*. From the Free Music Archive, "japanese prog" by Rushus, "Sun Bum" by Monster Rally and "Touching" by Souvenir Driver. From Soundcloud, we found "Trance Transistor Radio" by Arai Akino on rachelroh's profile. We changed up our theme this week to "Daniel Kruis" by RoccoW.
Built to Play was made by producer Arman Aghbali and feature editor Daniel Rosen.
If you liked what you heard be sure to leave us a comment or a review on iTunes or Stitcher. It helps more people find the show.
*This music was all taken under a creative commons license. If you feel your music was used inappropriately, be sure to send us an email.