As you read this – but not as I write this, since I work ahead – I’m getting my last preparations in order for another ride up to Boston for PAX East. I’ve been going every single year for work since it first started running, and every year I have kind of hoped that this would be the year I didn’t have to go, because I don’t particularly like Boston or conventions in general. Yet it keeps happening no matter how many stars seem to align against it. Here I go again on my own, et cetera.
Despite my stated dislike for conventions, though, there’s a lot of good that does come out of them, sometimes in spite of everything. So as much as people complain about the lines, the smell of sweat, the crowds, the expense, and the creepers that infest every event like a Minecraft region gone horribly wrong, there are two good reasons to still head up to one if you can take the time. Even when I don’t want to ship out – which is usually the time – I’m happy that these are still there.
Localization is really, really tricky.
I have played through games that have been localized poorly, don’t get me wrong. The original translation for Final Fantasy Tactics appears to have been made by a group of people for whom neither English nor Japanese was a native language; the same character or place will be referred to by two different names within the same dialogue. I played through all of Lunar: Silver Star Story despite the fact that it was laden with pop culture references that seemed dated ten minutes after launch. And I’m willing to bet good money that some parts of Transistor got mistranslated from whatever divine language the Supergiant folks speak.
But there’s a lot more to localization than just running a quick Google Translate on all of the words and typing out the resulting dialogue. Translation is hard enough on its own, but localization is both necessary to make sure you aren’t vomiting out incoherent word soup and a form of editing by necessity. Because there’s no such thing as a perfect translation of anything from one language to another. Hence why fan translations earn a bit of a raised eyebrow from me.
Remember how I said two weeks ago that if you put out a demo for your game, it should include a tutorial? Apparently that advice was taken to heart by the makers of Croixleur Sigma in the worst possible way. Because they included one that is entirely non-interactive, thus invalidating the benefit of having a tutorial by preventing you from putting your hands on the controls and actually feeling how the game controls. Then again, considering the game was already going out of its way to make sure it didn’t actually recognize my gamepad mappings, perhaps that’s a… understandable thing?
Croixleur Sigma is one of the various Japanese indie games that’s popped up on Steam, and like so many of them it’s kind of a thin offering. By no means is it one of the worst games I’ve played here, but it manages to commit the worst of all sins. Not by failing to last 15 minutes (although it does that, too), but by making slashing my way through a whole pile of monsters feel boring.