Pepsiman's comments

Posted by Pepsiman

@buzz_clik said:
@fobwashed said:

HEY STEEEVE!

This is amusing to me for the obvious Homestar Runner reason, and also because it only just now occurred to me it's totally what I have to say if we ever meet in person.

Happy that the homestar connection was made =D I've heard the site is still around and doing stuff but I feel like there'd be too much backlog to really tackle it if it's been going all this time. We should meet!

Homestar went on hiatus back in like 2010 and has only had really sporadic updates until their recent announcement that they were going to put stuff up at least a little more often, but still not as much as their heyday. If you stuck around until about 2007, 2008, it's a pretty short list of stuff you've actually missed out on, but it's still worth seeing if you're a lapsed fan.

Posted by Pepsiman

Mojib-Ribbon is a brilliant, brilliant game and a worthy successor to Vib-Ribbon, but Jeff is totally right that it's probably super impenetrable if you don't know Japanese. It has a lot of super neat features like being able to write your own lyrics and have them vocalized with what's basically a prototypical vocaloid, but of course stuff like that and the interface in general is so dense with Japanese that I imagine it'd be super difficult to navigate. That's a damn shame because the raw rhythm mechanics are super neat; the metaphor of the right stick on the PS2 controller as a brush writing calligraphy is really novel!

I guess check it out if you can make it to the rhythm stuff because that's straightforward enough, but yeah. I love it precisely because of how Japanese it really is in ways most games that are deemed as such aren't, but it's also really unfortunate that it also makes it permanently inaccessible; there's too much that would have to be changed to ever make a translation really viable, or at least not without stripping out a lot of that linguistic soul.

<3

Edited by Pepsiman

@devoureroftime: I haven't read much of his work myself, but I know that Orenronen, the guy who did the original LP for DR that set off its Western popularity in the first place, also covered 2 and my understanding is that he throws translation notes in for references whatnot as necessary, including the game reference in question that's so prominent in chapter 2. I don't how deeply he delves into some of the other stuff; you could practically write a book in and of itself about how much of a tribute most of the series is to Japanese game history (that intro in 2 features a god damn Sharp X68000!), but I do know judging from the interview he had with Patrick that he and I are basically on the same level when it comes to what the fanservice stuff is drawing from, so I wouldn't be surprised if he discusses it as necessary.

And thank you for your kind words as always. It's been a long day writing wise, so I'm surprised I came out coherent to most anyone. :)

Edited by Pepsiman

I played this and the first game in Japanese originally, not out of any particular feelings towards the existing translations so much as just a personal appreciation for the writing style and whatnot employed in that language. I think with both games, but especially the second, there are definitely a lot of little moments that are meant to hearken back to aspects of Japanese game industry history and a lot of it is so very specific and esoteric to stuff that only took place there during the 80s and 90s that it's admittedly easy for parts of the game to lose their context and authorial voice, especially since the writing almost never actually tries to overtly explain these references. (This isn't to say that even all Japanese players get every last single reference those games are making; the fact that 2 actually explains it one major game reference that's necessary to know for plot progression attests to as much.) The fanservice stuff is, in my mind, definitely at the top of the pile. There is a very specific historical context that 2 especially is making fun of by including the moments that it does and the script makes it very apparent in the original Japanese that the major bits of fanservice are meant to be so over the top that it's supposed to be repugnant, but since a lot of the foundational stuff that the fanservice is referencing (very understandably) never got exported outside Japan nor (again, very understandably) would it have likely ever been received well anyway because of differences in approaches on sexuality and eroticism between Japan and Western countries, I think a reaction like Patrick's is pretty natural.

And that's totally okay in my mind.

Even when I talk about stuff like historical context and whatnot, the thing about translation and localization, as someone who does that sort of work with Japanese, is at some point you just have to accept that differences in cultural backgrounds will result in the audience for translations interpreting some aspects of the work differently than the original Japanese audience. It's hard enough to make things resonate as a writer in the way that they specifically want in their native language and cultural; anything beyond that is just too demanding. The best that I think you can do when localizing is try to massage the script here and there to make those original intentions in situations like DR2's fanservice stand out, since otherwise the base content has been set in stone for too long a time for it to be edited to be more accommodating of international sensibilities, if that's the right call to even make in the first place. Again, it is absolutely okay that overseas players express discomfort and disagree with the perceived core intent of that content, but there are definitely situations where it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't sort of thing in terms of what all can be "done about it" on a localization time.

I've definitely read interviews that have said that Spike Chunsoft never expected either DR game to make it outside Japan, let alone get as relatively popular as they have, and, again, having played them in Japanese, I totally see why they would think that. I still feel they're brilliantly written games, but they totally are meant to be consumed first and foremost by players of a pretty specific background, essentially amounting to a niche subset of Japanese players, not just Japanese players broadly, so it's only natural that people from other backgrounds take to parts of those games differently and that's totally fine. Honestly, I think Spike Chunsoft is looking for that sort of feedback now that they know how well regarded the games generally are overseas so that they can actually work on better accomodating those sensibilities while the next games are still in development, rather than after the fact when localization is decided after the original Japanese is out.

Basically I think Patrick's fine for feeling the way that he does, even if I very respectfully disagree. :)

Oh, speaking of which, @patrickklepek, if you're ever interested in picking Kodaka Kazutaka, the series writer's mind, I know Hiroko at 8-4 is friends with the guy. He seems like a super intelligent guy that's probably aware of criticisms like yours already, but I totally bet you two could have a really interesting conversation about that game's writing that could better inform him about Western sensibilities on some of the things you pointed out. Just a thought. :)

Edited by Pepsiman

@eccentrix said:

Why are there only three podcast advertisers in existence? And what happened to Stamps.com? I haven't heard from them in months.

They ran out of stamps to send people after NatureBox used them all up to send free trial snacks to Bombcast and Idle Thumbs listeners. ( ≖‿≖)

Posted by Pepsiman

@hurvilo said:

My God, Dan is gonna watch all that anime with English dub, isn't he? I mean sure, there are good dubs out there, I guess, but whenever you choose dub over sub you loose a tiny bit of the creators original intent, no matter how good the dub is.

Going to politely disagree with this point at least to a degree as a Japanese translator. Good localizations, when possible, will naturally entail a back and forth between the translators, their editors, and at least the main people behind the original creative process that went into a given work so as to ensure that the core intent of each and every line really is understood going into the translation. In cases like anime and games where dubbing is deemed a worthwhile endeavor, it's becoming increasingly common for the Japanese director or an otherwise adequate representative from that side of things to also be present as the actors doing the work, providing additional feedback to the actors beyond what the English voice director will provide. There are also a fair number of people in creative industries over there in general that can hold their own respectably in English; it's not like the original creators are by any means left out of the loop a lot of the time. Basically there are a lot of checks and balances to ensure creative integrity is left intact anymore because everyone involved has seen for themselves just how routinely things often went wrong during the 80s and 90s. I don't know if you speak Japanese, too, but as a result of my work, I end up consuming a lot of Japanese media in both English and the original Japanese and it's been a long, long time since I've run into anything so wildly divergent in a translation that it sabotages the core creative intent to a noticeable degree. I'm not saying that there aren't cases today where it happens, but usually there's a really sympathetic reason from a translation perspective why things sometimes have to end up different.

I get the basic point that you're saying, that by switching languages and cultures, the significance of different bits and pieces change by virtue of each language having their own unique worldviews. I have to be cognizant of that point constantly as I go about my own work every day. But at least for me, I would say it's less a matter of mitigating loss of meaning for us translators and more making that Japanese philosophy be relateable to Western consumers who aren't either educated on that stuff already or lived with it themselves. Some would argue that I'm just playing with semantics in saying that, but speaking from experience, it can very much so make the difference between creating a translations that's unnecessary niche and creating one that's culturally transcendental and makes foreign consumers feel like they still "get" the authors and what they're trying to convey despite having a wildly different background.

Just my two cents as a Japanese translator with experience in creative fields. :)

Posted by Pepsiman

@generalbison said:

Jeff dancing to Inca People absolutely killed me, went on for way too long. GIF PLEASE

@amyggen said:

BAM. Courtesy of amyggen.

Doing my part to ensure this always stays on the front page of the comments.

Edited by Pepsiman

Ive been playing MGS2 again because of this series. That game is still fantastic, at least from the perspective of someone who loved it more than a decade ago.

And im going to get Ghost Babel and a GBA SP, because I never played that one, and Dan said it was good on the podcast. Hopefully that one holds up too?

If you like MGS2 for its writing, you'll likely enjoy Ghost Babel, as well, as the same woman, Agness Kaku, worked on the localizations of both. If you can, it's recommended that you get the European version of Ghost Babel, since that has a super amusing radio play you can read over the codec that for whatever reason was cut out of the American release. Very funny stuff that arguably puts the game among the best written games for that era.

Posted by Pepsiman

Played the prototype and loved every minute of it. Preordered immediately!

Thanks for pointing out the wonders of anime bartending, @patrickklepek! I've been wanting a video game bar fix since finishing Catherine and this looks like it'll do nicely.

Posted by Pepsiman

@meauntienora said:

Man, this game really was ahead of its time in so many ways.

Visually, I'm impressed by how well it holds up. Let's be real, some of the textures and models have not aged gracefully, but other models still look great, especially compared to its contemporaries. And certain effects like the breath look great even by today's standards.

I think a better way to put it is that this game's attention to detail is still so great, that the aging of the textures and models do not matter as much.

That's how I look at it with games like MGS and Silent Hill, too. Not graceful on a technological level anymore, but there's just enough hardware power there for developers to put in just enough detail to let you in on what's going on while still requiring some imagination on your part to fill in the blanks. Technically wonky though it was in some parts, I admit to missing that sort of work ethic with PS1-era graphics.