General Category => News Submissions => Topic started by: RHDNBot on April 12, 2020, 08:54:48 pm

Title: Translations: Woolsey Fan Company "Spring Cleaning" Update
Post by: RHDNBot on April 12, 2020, 08:54:48 pm
( ( ( (

Update By: Polinym

The Woolsey Fan Company, or really just Polinym, has released what he calls the "Spring Cleaning" update to the two localizations of Pop Star Debut and Stardom Warriors! These updates bring new additions and bug-fixes.

Pop Star Debut:

Pop Star Debut is the English version of Japanese text-adventure game "Idol Hakkenden". The game revolves around the talented young Sabrina E. Seltzer who dreams of becoming a world-famous pop star. On her quest to reach fame, she is confronted by an evil Pop Czar Feld who seeks to lure Sabrina to his evil Czarmy and conquer the world.

In this "Spring Cleaning" update, Pop Star Debut now comes with a full localization of the original game's manual, modeled after actual Nintendo of America Instruction Booklets. All of the game's typos, text-overflow, mistakes, and formatting mistakes have all been fixed. As usual, the game still has ALL text carefully formatted by hand so as to avoid sloppy text with line breaks in the middle of words with dashes.

Pop Star Debut also features several fixes to the original game found exclusively in the WFC version. One image in the end, the "Pop Czarina", originally had the Czarina's hair shifted over with part of her whip floating in the air. The WFC located the missing/unused tile and recreated the intended image.

The game's cover and all promotional art features the character Sabrina with blonde hair. However, the original game displays her hair in-game as orange. This new update restores the intended design for the character and returns Sabrina's hair to blonde. With this correction, Pop Star Debut aims to be the ultimate way for English-speakers to experience this game.

The WFC also has released the long-overdue official trailer for this localization:

Stardom Warriors:

Stardom Warriors is the English version of LaSalle Ishii's Childs Quest for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a parody RPG starring a manager who leads his up-and-coming band of talented young girls to stardom and uncovers a dark and sinister force.

The occasional typos and text-overflow errors have seemingly all been fixed. Some of the game's lines have been revised to include more of the "lore" that enhances the English version. The issue of incorrect colors being displayed on a portrait in the "thirsty" message has been fixed. An image near the end has also been polished up thanks to feedback.

In addition, although not a part of this particular update, Polinym's famicom Dragon Quest translation received an update a while ago that solved the password issue, as well as some other mistakes.

Special shout-out to user Fray for offering feedback and catching many of the two localizations' typos and mistakes!

RHDN Project Page (

Relevant Link (
Title: Re: Translations: Woolsey Fan Company "Spring Cleaning" Update
Post by: Dwedit on April 14, 2020, 04:05:23 pm
This is a little confusing, to see two translations of Idol Hakkenden come out within two years of each other.  Is there a big difference between the two?

Referring to the cccmar translation:
And the new translation:
Title: Re: Translations: Woolsey Fan Company "Spring Cleaning" Update
Post by: Polinym on April 14, 2020, 04:25:08 pm
Pop Star Debut isn't new. I've just released a large update that includes many new changes, fixes, and features to it.
Now please excuse my shameless self-promotion for a bit... :)

Cccmar's translation is just a basic "fansub" as I call it that translates the Japanese dialogue. I'd recommend it to people who are interested specifically in Japan or the Japanese language.

Pop Star Debut was built as the closest thing to an official NES release as it can come, not only translating the content but making it accessible to just about everyone. For the sake of authenticity, it also occassionally follows some of Nintendo of America's policies of the 80's-90's. I'd recommend it to anyone who just wants to enjoy a game without needing to know anything about Japan or Japanese culture.
Title: Re: Translations: Woolsey Fan Company "Spring Cleaning" Update
Post by: cccmar on April 14, 2020, 04:41:07 pm
Cccmar's translation is just a basic "fansub" as I call it that translates the Japanese dialogue. I'd recommend it to people who are interested specifically in Japan or the Japanese language.

I'd say it's about 20% localization, 80% translation, since some things really wouldn't make much sense otherwise to an English speaker, but it's a bizarre game whichever way you look at it. :laugh: It's true that this game is "very" Japanese when it comes to original themes/cultural stuff thrown in for a good measure, perhaps the most on the Famicom. In fact, I think you could have tons of different ways to localize some of the story bits found in the script, such as all the different speech quirks some characters have, trivia questions, references to real-life figures etc. Pretty different from the ubiquitous murder mystery games you can play on the console, but it's a pretty good time overall regardless.
Title: Re: Translations: Woolsey Fan Company "Spring Cleaning" Update
Post by: Supper on April 14, 2020, 09:36:03 pm
Well, if we're all offering our opinions...

I don't know much about Polinym's project since, as I noted when it was released, I haven't played it and I'm not going to. As I understand it, the goal was to create something akin to a 4Kids dub of the game -- changing all the Japanese names to English ones, scrubbing references to violence, that sort of thing. I still have no idea why anyone would want to produce such a thing in this day and age, much less play it, but hey, I'm not going to tell anyone what to do with their free time.

But I can tell you a bit about what we did with the game. As cccmar noted, it's a game with an extremely large amount of Japanese culture ingrained, which is localized to various degrees in our translation -- I think we generally erred toward just presenting the material as-is, while localizing a few things that were pretty much impossible to translate. For instance, the main antagonist of the game is the "Dark Iromono Emperor" who wants to take over the world using "iromono", a branch of Japanese comedy sufficiently obscure that I can't even turn up a decent article about it in English. Since no one is going to know what the hell "iromono" is, we ended up localizing this guy as the "Kooky King" running the "Kooky Kompany".

But for the most part, we left references to Japanese culture intact, because there's really only so much you can do without redesigning the game outright. It's a Japanese game set in Japan that has you fighting off nurikabe ( and people dressed as the "Four Symbols" (, and has a heavy emphasis on referential comedy. Even the title of the game is a reference to the novel Nansou Satomi Hakkenden ( -- it's literally something like "Eight Idol Dogs", but that's completely misleading because it has nothing to do with literal dogs; it's just invoking this idea of "a group of eight legendary people", which is why we didn't change it. (Though my suggestion for a localized title was "Idol Octavian", which I still think is kind of cool...)

While there's a case to be made for a "heavy-duty" localization that tries to turn all this into something more palatable to the average Westerner, I have no idea why anyone would want to tie that in to atrocious censorship practices from 30 years ago. It's a bizarre choice that frankly ruins any positive impression I might have otherwise had of the project.

And I feel bad saying this, because Polinym is clearly in earnest about things, but it's pretty apparent that that patch has a lot of "first hack syndrome" stuff going on. Someone linked me to a video of Polinym's version of the first insert song in the game (, and the "translation" here is very obviously limited to the length of the original Japanese strings, with painful results. Compare to our translation (, which doesn't have this limitation. My own hacking and editing work is certainly not perfect -- why I was so obsessed with hyphen-breaking every single line wherever possible, I don't know -- but it at least doesn't have such cumbersome restrictions.

Sorry if this comes across as harsh, because I don't mean to be super critical, but while I think the basic concept behind the other patch isn't terrible, the execution just leaves me shaking my head. Some of that is simply down to lack of technical experience, and that's fine -- everyone's got to start somewhere. For my deeper complaints about the translation philosophy... well, I don't expect you to change your mind on my account, but "replicating 1990s censorship" is really just not a great goal to have. And it's going to result in a lot of problems for you if you ever find yourself working on a game that features homosexuality, transexuality, or the like.

But good luck anyways, Polinym. I applaud anyone willing to put in the effort to learn to hack and translate, even if I don't agree with the results.
Title: Re: Translations: Woolsey Fan Company "Spring Cleaning" Update
Post by: Polinym on April 14, 2020, 10:44:46 pm
I do my censorship for three reasons:

For one, it's personal. I'm running into content constantly that I find annoying, insulting, or that I flat out disagree with in games. Very often I have to put up with things like Zanza in Xenoblade in order to enjoy the rest of the game which is absolutely amazing otherwise. Another example which came up more recently was with Persona 5 where
the game stops being amazing and ends with the final boss being what I call "Mecha-Sephiroth" who is very insulting to me in ways I won't go into here. Especially the significance of the "final blow" moment in regards to what implications there are for what the game was trying to say.
I'll always take out or carefully get around content I personally disagree with.

The second reason is that I try to remove content that may turn away some players. My goal is to appeal to as many players as possible and maximize their enjoyment of the game. Naturally, I had to take away some things or slightly alter details to make a more comfortable experience. Kary Cristil comes to mind... Liam was also a big debate, but in the end, I went with what'd be the least confusing for players. I still have half a mind to go back, add the ponytail from the cover art in and go with "Lia" instead.

The third reason is... authenticity, and of course, "for teh luls". I wanted my localized games to look and feel like real Nintendo games, not like a fan translation you downloaded off the internet. Sabrina having a bit of blood come from a sword wound in the head was not something that bothered me paticulary, but removing it was what Nintendo would've done. I also had no issue with the Pistol in the game, but after some consideration from a certain unnamed idol uberfan's rant, I decided to finally make it a "blaster" instead. After all, if 4Kids taught us anything, it's that a weapon becomes "less violent" when it's a laser version of iteslf (or a pointed finger). :P

It's also funny. Onigiri become jelly-filled donuts and what not. The only thing I don't do is omit the words "death", "kill", and "die".

I did't even realize that "Iromono" was actually a reference to something! I thought it was just a name! I localized him as the Pop Czar Feld, to give his name the same "wacky, strange" feeling. Czar also sounds very similar to the word "star", which sets up a humorous contrast. I also make puns with the word, like "Feld's Czarmy", and his mighty "Czword". It also works that Sabrina
becomes the Pop "Czarina"
, with the same joke.
I also love finding ways to sneak in references to things, in case you hadn't noticed. I figure it's okay to use reference names because the intended audience was probably children and children won't get them. Or maybe I just can't help it! >:]
Oh yes, and Dark Lord Iromono's Four Heavenly Kings became Feld's Four Friends, because I couldn't help myself! :D

Like you said, no one would know what Iromono is. Very few people are going to get the ideas of Japanese idol culture, or what Yokai are. All of the random pop culture references are going to be lost or meaningless to a majority of the game's audience. I believe that people who will appreciate that content ought to be playing the Japanese version instead.

If you try to make this game into English and try as hard as possible to change nothing, you're going to end up with a product that's 70% of the original. My goal is to try and bring the product back up to a 100%, whatever that takes. The original author(s?) of this game's text had a voice. When you translate the text, that voice is lost. It's my job to try and bring a voice back to the text, not so the players understand what is being said, but enjoy what is being said. My primary loyalty is first to the player, not the original script. I try to think, "Is the player going to enjoy having these characters begin every sentence with the same phrase? Or should I use that space to to convey the character's personality as well as the line's intended meaning?" In this same regard, I also try to improve the game if it is in my ability so as to give players the optimal experience. That means graphical enhancements where necessary (LaSalle Ishii's Childs Quest, as I've read, was widely regarded as having terrible graphics, which I tried to alleviate), removing frustration, and making sure the player can understand without needing to Google anything.

Another factor that goes into how I localize games now is what the game's purpose is. I have to decide: Why will people play this game? Pop Star Debut (アイドル八犬伝), is a game driven by its plot and its characters. Japan is just a setting; the enjoyment doesn't hinge on taking place in Japan. Random players aren't going to stumble upon this game and go, "Gee, what a kakkoi game about idols and Japan. I'm going to learn about Japanese culture by playing this". Regardless of the names, some jokes, and the locations, it's still a silly parody game about a young girl with dreams. While "idol culture" is a thing in Japan, it's not something the average American flipping through games on a list is ever going to have heard of. However, we do have stories about young girls with aspirations of becoming pop stars/singers. I simply related the basic Japanese plot into a much more familiar plot. By chaning all Japanese names to names more natural-sounding in English, this allows the players to not be deterred by the culture barrier and focus on the "star" of the game: the humor and plot.

I don't make translations for other translators: I make translations for people who don't translate themselves. To me, a game is well localized when you don't even realise it was localized at all.

All of this to say why I do what I do. Hopefully you can understand now.

Oh yes, and I definitely think you should've gone with "Idol Octavian", so the title will at least be in English.
Oh,  and also, capitalize the "i" in idol, but that's just a personal pet-peeve of mine. :P
I also considered "Pop Star Dreams", "Pop Star Hero", and "Pop Star Odyssey", until deciding to go with something that ties it to a certain other Natsume game about another girl with dreams...
Hint: check the end of the trailer.

Also, if you know a way I can easily fit in some real lyrics to the songs, please let me know! I'm well aware the songs are crap here, as space was the biggest issue I had.
Oh, and check out the song during the biker fight, heh heh heh...
. "Nova Girl" needs real lyrics, not just "La la la!"

One last thing while I'm spilling my guts! If you won't play it, at least watch the rest of my playthrough of the translaton, even if you skip around! You might be surprised at what I secretly changed, managed to discreetly reference, or mistranslated because of my lower-level Japanese skills!