Fan Translation Community History
From Data Crystal
- April (date unknown): Dennis Lardenoye and Ron Bouwland, two Dutch MSX fans, found Oasis to translate Japanese MSX games into English. The project followed Lardenoye's founding of FutureDisk, a MSX disk magazine covering amongst others news from Japan. The group worked on SD Snatcher, Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes, Fray, Rune Master 3, Xak - The Art of Visual Stage, Xak 2, Xak - The Tower of Gazzel, Ys, Ys II: The Final Chapter and Wanderers From Ys.
- Spring (date unknown): The beginnings of fan translation of console games can be traced to a group called Kowasu Ku. The lead member, a hacker by the nickname Hazama, informs various people around the emulation and SNES console scenes that he is translating a ROM of Final Fantasy V. However, the group fails to present any verifiable results and the translation effort is effectively abandoned.
- Summer (date unknown): After some disappointment among fans with the lack of a translation from Kowasu Ku, a fellow member of the emulation scene by the nickname of Demi springboards from the momentum Hazama created and reinvigorates the effort to translate Final Fantasy V; this, by most accounts, marks the formation of the first significant fan translation group, Multiple Demiforce. However, fans would be dissapointed once again when the project is abandoned in favor of a more accomplishable task: i.e., translating Final Fantasy II (NES). He teams up with translator-at-large Som2Freak to complete the project.
- Fall (date unknown): Using Pasofami (the only true NES graphical debugger released at the time), Demi releases four screenshots of preliminary work completed on Final Fantasy II to a popular emulation scene website, Archaic Ruins. For the first time ever, fans see results of translation-oriented ROM hacking, proving that commercial-quality game translations are possible. The translation scene erupts almost overnight into a flurry of activity.
- Fall (date unknown): In response to the newly created demand for a central hub to the translation scene, Demi opens a web forum called "The ROM Hack Board" on his website. The board is a hit, and fosters growth for the scene in both size and complexity.
- Winter (date unknown): Citing creative differences between producer (Demi) and translator (Som2Freak), Multiple Demiforce's work on a Final Fantasy II translation stalls, and the project is left in limbo. Both members go on to pursue other projects.
- November (date unknown): Spotting Demi and Som2Freak's work on Archaic Ruins's "Piña Consolada" page, Shadow/D asks Som2Freak for information about how he can translate Final Fantasy V. Som2Freak provides him with primitive versions of BiGWeirD's X-Char 2.0, X-Late 1.0 and a table file for Final Fantasy V.
- Winter (date unknown): David Timko takes interest in Final Fantasy V and asks Som2Freak for help. He is provided the same materials as Shadow/D.
- May 29: toma creates The Spoony Bard on Geocities as a school project. Also releases his first patch for Tsuppari Oozumou the same day.
- June 8: toma releases an incomplete translation of Final Fantasy II using much work from an earlier patch released by Demi. Despite requests from Demi to have his work removed from the patch, toma continues to update this patch until January of 1998, causing some animosity between the two of them.
- June 13: Shadow/D and Hooie join with David Timko to work together on Final Fantasy V.
- July 8: Famous fan translation group RPGe (responsible for the Final Fantasy V translation) was established around 8:43 PM EST on July 8 in the #ff5e channel, on the EsperNet IRC network. The group then moved to #rpge. The people involved were Shadow/D, Hooie, David Timko and Thermopyle. Thermopyle donates his netINS webspace to the group.
- July 25: translation Corporation (part of the infamous FF3j translation wars) went public with their FF3j project and was first mentioned on EMUnews' on July 25th, 1997. A small translation patch was already out, so the group was actually established sometime before that, but the exact dates are unknown at this time.
- October 7: Society's Hell lifts a beta of RPGe's Final Fantasy V patch released onto newsgroups and releases it on a Geocities website claiming it as their own work.
- October 15: RPGe officially releases its beta of the Final Fantasy V translation at version 0.96. All text is translated except the scrolling message at the end of the game.
- (date unknown): Dark Force (DF) works with Cataclysm-X ([cx]) to begin a project to translate Destiny of an Emperor II. The project is plagued by bad translators and fighting.
- February 7: RPGe releases a patch for Getsufuuma Densetsu. The project was completed by members MagitekKn (hacking) and CrazyBred (translation).
- March 19: Shadow/D leaves RPGe rather suddenly, citing annoyance with e-mails demanding faster completion of Final Fantasy V. With all four founders gone, group management falls to MagitekKn and Harmony7.
- March 24: D releases a patch for Kaiketsu Yanchamaru 2: Karakuri Land (retitled: Kid Niki 2: Karakuri Land). The bulk of the text was translated by Shujin-Rik.
- April 24: Battsu makes a post on Demi's ROM Hacking Board claiming that toma has been killed in a schoolbus accident.
- April 27: toma shows up on #romhack on EFNet proving Battsu's claim false. A flame war between the two of them ensues lasting several months.
- July 8: RPG Dimension (also known as RPGd) is founded by CataclysmX, Jason Li, and WildBill. The site was hosted at Xoom during that time. The site originally reported emulation and translation news, as well as general romhacking tutorials and utilities.
- August 18: Neo Demiforce releases translation patch v1.03 for Final Fantasy II (NES).
- February 22: One of the most popular fan translation groups, Aeon Genesis translation Proclamation (AGTP), was established on February 22, 1999, on Angelfire by Gideon Zhi.
- March 7: AGTP moved to PCPages (which was then ad-free) which is celebrated as the website's "official" birthday.
- March 18: RPGe releases a patch for Magic Knight Rayearth for the Super Famicom, an RPG based on the Japanese anime series.
- March 31: Spinner 8 and (wraith) open The Whirlpool, which becomes known as the most complete resource for fan translations into the English language on the Internet.
- April 20: Final version (1.12) of the completed Destiny of an Emperor II patch is released by Destiny Translations, after changing hands a few times over the course of the previous four years.
- May 6: Kitsune Sniper releases a translation patch for the French version of Dragon Ball Z: Super Butouden 3 (Super Famicom), entitled Dragon Ball Z: Ultime Menace. He also releases a patch which transforms the Japanese version of the game into a translated French version.
- January 23: Hiryuu Honnyaku releases its patch of Langrisser II, the second Megadrive installment in the Langrisser series. The patch has severe problems on all emulators but Genecyst due to hacking problems the group inherited from Warui Toransu.
- April 14: KingMike launches his translations page.
- June 4: Kitsune Sniper releases a translation patch for Doki Doki Panic (Yume Koujou: Doki Doki Panic) (Famicom Disk System), the game on which Super Mario Bros. 2 was largely based.
- June 21: KingMike releases his first completed translation, an English translation of Saint Seiya: Ougen Densetsu for the NES/Famicom, using the official French release, Les Chevalieurs du Zodiaque, as a base (both the Japanese and French localizations were produced by Bandai).
- July 6: KingMike releases a patch he made in an hour of the Famicom Disk System action title Electrician (which was originally published by Kemco).
- July 15: translation Corporation, now dubbed 'Nightcrawler's translation Corporation' (due to becoming an independent one manned group) returned after being absent from the mainstream community spotlight since April of 1998.
- September 29: KingMike releases a translation for ASCII Corporation's Famicom Disk System port of the puzzle game Namida no Soukoban Special (other installments of the series were localized under names such as Boxxle, Boxy Boy, and Shove It! The Warehouse Game
- December 2: Lina`chan, Nuku-Nuku & Filia's translation Domain, one of the most well known translation groups at the time, posted their final update, which dealt with them joining up with Phantasian Productions on the translation of the PlayStation release of Tales of Phantasia. The site's domain was later stolen by a domain name squatter sometime after February 6, 2003 (according to The Internet Archive Wayback Machine).
- December 7: byuu and De-jap/Partial Translations simutaneously release separate patches for Dragon Quest V. byuu's patch favored literal translations while De-jap/Partial Translations's script followed Dragon Warrior conventions and was much better edited.
- May 14: Kitsune Sniper released a translation patch for Bio Miracle Baby Upa!! (Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa!!) (Famicom).
- June 5: Kitsune Sniper released a complete translation patch for Dream Penguin Adventure: The Quest for Penko's Heart (Yume Penguin Monogatari) (Famicom).
- July 8: DeJap announces that in the process of translating the script for the Super Famicom RPG, Star Ocean, the translator's hard drive has crashed. DeJap asks fans for donations to cover the cost of a data recovery service to salvage the translated text. There is much dispute in the scene over the ethics of this.
- August 1: RPG-One released a complete English translation patch for Dragon Quest I & II (Super Famicom).
- October 8: NightWolve releases a patch for Xak III: The Eternal Recurrence marking the first time an Action-RPG CD-ROM game received a fan translation for the much neglected PC-Engine system. (A final revision was release on June 14, 2004 with script improvements.)
- October 11: Kitsune Sniper released complete translation patches for Wai Wai World 2: S.O.S. From Parsley Castle (Wai Wai World 2: SOS!! Paseri Jou) and Airwolf (Famicom).
- October 12: Kitsune Sniper released a fully completed translation patch for Akumajou Densetsu (Famicom).
- December 20: Nightcrawler's translation Corporation released a fully completed translation patch for Dual Orb 2 for the Super Famicom.
- December 24: Kitsune Sniper released a fully completed translation patch for Kid Dracula (Akumajou Special: Boku Dorakyura Kun) (Famicom).
- January 8: KingMike releases a completed translation for Takara's NES/Famicom exploration/shooting game Foton: The Ultimate Game on Planet Earth (which he retitled Soldier of Light: Photon: The Ultimate Game on Planet Earth, in response to several Japanese hint pages), one of the few games on the system to attempt 3D gameplay.
- January 11: byuu reveals screenshots of Dragon Quest III posted on The Whirlpool were actually fakes, though he actually had been working on a translation of the game with ChrisRPG.
- February 3: De-Jap's message board, hosted by ZSNES, is sabotaged through a hole in YaBB SE allowing attackers to obtain the site's MySQL password. Defamatory posts are made through Dark Force's, the group leader, account. The board goes down, along with De-Jap's website, for some time.
- February 10: NightWolve, Deuce release a patch for Falcom's Ys I Complete Windows PC game, the result of NightWolve's first attempt at hacking for that platform.
- March: Soulfang and Alerith release a translation of RPG Maker 2003 (RPGツクール2003). After constant flames and threats, the project was dropped, and Soulfang, Alerith, and Venatyr form Revolve in order to translate the PC game Farland Symphony (ファーランドシンフォニー). Later, Venatyr leaves in order to pursue his own interests, forming the group Lakuuna.
- April 4: Strag0 and D release a patch for Uchuu no Kishi: Tekkaman Blade (retitled: Space Knight: Tekkaman Blade), a Gameboy platformer based on the Tatsunoko anime series (known in English-speaking countries as "Teknoman").
- April 18: KingMike celebrates his site's birthday late by releasing a completed translation for Irem's NES/Famicom platform action game Paaman 2: Down with the Secret Madou Society, based on the popular anime character.
- August 3: Anus_P of J2e Translations shows up after a two-year absence with a patch for the group's project, Rudra no Hihou. The patch sparks controversy due to its use of Gideon Zhi and Matt Kendoa's script without asking permission.
- August 25: KingMike releases a patch that translates all the printed text in the NES/Famicom platform/RPG title Zombie Hunter (produced by Hi-Score Mediaworks), not at all affilliated with the American localization by Activison that was planned for the summer of 1988, but was never released.
- August 29: D releases a patch and pre-patched ISO for Langrisser I, PC edition by SDT SoftAction, a Korean label. The release used the original Japanese script extracted from Langrisser I&II for PSX in place of the inextractable Korean script. Enhancements included repairing the shading of "night" stages left out by SoftAction and bringing back the original soundtrack from Langrisser: Hikari no Matsuei in place of Der Langrisser music. It was the first fan translation bundled with a full-color, printable manual.
- December 19: D releases a patch for the PC-Engine/TurboGrafx-16 title Gaia no Monshou (retitled: The Crest of Gaia), a prequel to the Langrisser series by NCS.
- December 31: DeJap finally releases their "final" Star Ocean patch, about one hour before their self-imposed deadline of "within 2003".
- February 21: D releases a translation patch for the Megadrive Network title Sonic Eraser. The translation was completed two days after the ROM was extracted from Sega's online Megadrive emulator and released by Ryoga of Sonic CuLT.
- April 14: KingMike releases a translation patch for Nintendo's educational title Popeye no Eigo Asobi, for the NES/Famicom. This was the first known fan translation for this platform to use a ROM image of an increased filesize over the original, long believed to be a near-impossible task for this console.
- May 29: Kitsune Sniper releases a translation patch for Lupin The 3rd: Pandora's Legacy (Lupin Sansei: Pandora No Isan), a Famicom game released by Namcot in 1987.
- August 30: Mirror Moon, a group dedicated to translating visual novels by TYPE-MOON combine efforts with translation group Revolve in order to work on the visual novel Tsukihime (月姫). Mirror Moon becomes a "subgroup" of Revolve.
- September 26: D releases a translation patch for Hydlide: Download Edition, a remake of the original PC-88 version of Hydlide featuring updated graphics. NightWolve had assisted D by cracking the installer of the original to make this possible.
- October 4: D and byuu release a patch for Uchuu no Kishi: Tekkaman Blade (retitled: Space Knight: Tekkaman Blade), a Super Famicom/SNES shooter and fighter hybrid. The translation was completed by D on paper in 1998, but with no one willing or able to hack the game, it went unused until 2004. The patch adds cut-screens to explain the story for players unfamiliar with the 1992 - 1994 Tatsunoko anime series.
- December 25: NightWolve releases a patch barely in time for Christmas for Falcom/Hudson's Ys IV: The Dawn of Ys, another Action-RPG CD-ROM game for the PC-Engine. That would be his last fan translation effort for the system having only been made possible thanks to Neill Corlett (mainly), David Shadoff, Akimaru, Shimarisu, Deuce, and D.
- January 7: Kitsune Sniper releases translation patches for Ys III: Wanderers from Ys (Famicom), and Mobile Police Patlabor (機動警察パトレイバー) (Famicom Disk System).
- January 10: Cidolfas made an announcement on DeJap's messageboard regarding the state of the group: DarkForce stated that DeJap Translations was pretty much dead due to him being unable to continue translating on account of a car accident he suffered a few months before. Some of their projects were handed out to other groups, while others remain in limbo.
- April 15: KingMike releases a translation for DOG's (Disk Oriented Group, a joint effort by several Japanese publishers, including Square Co. Ltd.) action/RPG Karin no Tsurugi (retitled The Sword of Kalin). This was the first known translation for the Famicom Disk System to be produced by dissembling the disk image into its component files, and then merging the modified files back together to form a new disk image.
- June 10: Revolve and Mirror Moon finish translating the visual novel Tsukihime (月姫), which is the largest finished translation to date.
- July 13: The L.S.F. English Project, consisting of Jacky Waiss, Derrick Sobodash, Google Lee and Andrew Xu, releases a demo version of the English translation of Xin Xian Jian Qi Xia Zhuan (in Chinese: 新仙剑奇侠传) (retitled to The Legend of Swordsman and Fairy), SoftStar's 2001 remake of one of the most popular Chinese computer game. The release marks the first ever complete fan translation of a Chinese game demo.
- August 26: The BS Zelda Homepage Team release a translation patch for BS Zelda: Kodai no Sekiban (BSゼルダの伝説 古代の石盤)) (Super Famicom). Also on that day, NightWolve, Deuce release a complete English translation patch for Ys II Complete (PC).
- October 4: The Whirlpool closes its doors, initially due to an angry misunderstanding. (wraith), its owner, is currently working on another project that will eventually supersede the old site.
- December 27: The Whirlpool ceases to update. Translation community moved to romhacking.net