Retronauts Volume III Episode 8: The Fan Translation Scene

Retronauts 8 cover

Hey, it's your old buddy Bob again. I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but Retronauts often acts as an excellent outlet for self-indulgence -- though really, what other purpose does a podcast serve? And while I'm committed to spending way too much time on every episode I put together, some receive a little more attention than others. Like this one, for instance; I've been following the fan translation scene since its infancy, which means episode 8 is chock-full of as many facts, music breaks, and weird tangents as I could cram into its oversized running time. So even if the topic of fan translations doesn't seem all that interesting to you, please, indulge me. You just might end up liking it!

Now, a little more about the episode itself. I decided to break up the format slightly, so the first chunk of this podcast contains a discussion of the fan translation scene in general, and the remaining 90 minutes count down the top 12 fan translations you should play before you die or lose interest (whichever happens first). Helping us out on this one are special guests Brett Elston and Chris Antista, who you may know from their time at GamesRadar, or their podcasts on the Laser Time Network. We'd like to thank them again for helping out, and tolerating the frequent Garage Band crashes that plagued this recording. And this episode wouldn't even be a thing without listener Aaron Davies, who generously donated (and allowed me to suggest a topic) to make it happen. That said, please download, enjoy, and be sure to leave us your comments about this episode!

Libsyn (1:53:46 | MP3 | 82.3 MB) | SoundCloud

This episode's description:

"On this episode, we examine the achievements of gaming's true heroes: the selfless hackers who spend weeks, months, and years translating some of the most amazing games that never left Japan -- and for free! Join Bob Mackey, Ray Barnholt, and the Laser Time Network's Chris Antista and Brett Elston for a discussion of the fan translation scene, and a thorough countdown of the top 12 fan translated games you should play."

This episode's musical breakdown:

Note: If you'd like to skip to a discussion of an individual game, take note of the timestamps associated with the bolded titles below. You can also find each game's fan translation by following the links.

  • 6:47 | Seiken Densetsu 3 "Little Sweet Cafe" (Hiroki Kikuta)
  • 20:14 | Policenauts "B.C.P. HQ" (Tappi Iwase, Masahiro Ikariko, Motoaki Furukawa)
  • 26:00 | Metal Wolf Chaos "Good Feather" (Kota Hoshino)
  • 34:00 | iS -- internal section "Knock on Wood" (Shinji Hosoe)
  • 37:45 | Wonder Project J "Land of Song" (Akihiko Mori)
  • 41:18 | Gunman's Proof "Scenario 1"
  • 44:53 | Clock Tower "Death in the Elevator" (Kouji Niikura, Kaori Takazoe)
  • 50:57 | Famicom Detective Club 2 "Opening" (Kenji Yamamoto)
  • 57:05 | Sweet Home "Battle" (Junko Tamiya)
  • 1:03:15 | Radical Dreamers "Days of Summer" (Yasunori Mitsuda)
  • 1:08:18 | Seiken Densetsu 3 "Can You Fly, Sister?" (Hiroki Kikuta)
  • 1:16:52 | Policenauts "28 Years" (Tappi Iwase, Masahiro Ikariko, Motoaki Furukawa)
  • 1:22:14 | Mother/Earthbound Zero "Bein' Friends" (Keiichi Suzuki, Hirokazu Tanaka)
  • 1:32:03 | Mother 3 "Mom's Hometown" (Shogo Sakai)
  • 1:48:33 | Policenauts "End Title" (Tappi Iwase, Masahiro Ikariko, Motoaki Furukawa)

Relevant Links:

Chris' Metal Wolf Chaos video

A 2010 1UP article I wrote about the fan translation scene

Phenomena vs. Clock Tower

The history of EarthBound Zero

Legends of Localization

Next time: Our special Halloween-themed episode combines two scarifying licensed games.