Localising 'Takahashi Meijin no Bug-tte Honey' into "Honey Bee in Toycomland" seems fine. That's also what other sources seem to use for the show too:
Perhaps a combination - Honey Bee on Adventure Island, maybe?
Anyway, I have another update! They're coming thick and fast these days, I know.
First, Dragon Warrior/Quest. It was a request rather than by my own volition, but I have tried to get the logo from the Japanese version into the US version. It's been surprisingly difficult, due to the different way the US version's title works.
First problem is the background, which is black in the US but a dark blue in Japan. There's an instruction in the ROM to set the background colour, which is constantly referred to by the game, but changing it here changes it throughout the whole game. Playing the game with a blue background is certainly not right, but making it ONLY be blue on the title screen will require extra work.
Second problem is the dragon who pokes his head out of the logo. In the US version they cut off four tiles from his neck, but the routine to add sprites has empty space right next to it, so it would be a piece of cake to add instructions for four more sprites. The reason I can't do it? The sprite bank is full!
There's just no room for four more tiles, they really packed everything in. There may be four tiles free on the background bank, but unless I'm using 8x16 sprites (which I'm not) I can't access them.
I can think of only two ways of solving the second problem. One, which I don't think is even possible, is to have the four tiles in another bank, load them into RAM, then force them into the PPU RAM. I don't think the CPU can even do that, and I could be wrong but I figured that $0000 to $1FFF was read only anyway. Second option is to make four new BG tiles which mix the original background and the sprite, and stick them on screen. That's at least possible, but seems like more work than necessary just for a little bit more dragon neck.
Unless anyone's got any bright ideas, this title screen isn't going to look perfect.
Meanwhile, I've done a more successful title screen: that of Magnum Kiki Ippatsu - Empire City - 1931. Released in the arcades as simply Empire City: 1931, the Famicom release never made it to the States. No idea why, though, because a) it's in English apart from the title screen, b) is set in the US. But hey, now it's done, and I think it looks quite smart:
It's a copy-paste job from the arcade game, in case you're interested.
So what next? I've had a look at Family Trainer 5 - Meiro Daisakusen, and first I should say thank you to Pluvius for his research into many of these games: I neglected to look at it when I was doing a couple of them, but the information is very helpful.
So, FT5. It looks pretty straightforward, actually. My only concern is how to actually PLAY the game! It uses the Power Pad, with 16 buttons, and I think you have to tap two (like you're running) and different buttons make you run on different parts of the screen. It's very confusing, though. Might need to find some instructions.
What else? Hmm, not sure. I've put Pro Yakyuu - Family Stadium '87 onto a pile labelled "only do when I have nothing else to do".
Oh wait, now I remember: I started looking at the Famicom Disk System!
So as you probably know, it came out in 1986, a year that we've almost completed in terms of cartridge games, and I've made a list of games for that year. This list is different to my regular list: in that one, I removed games if they were released outside Japan in more or less the same way, or didn't need translation. In this list, due to there being fewer games and being disks rather than cartridges, I've included all of them, though some will say "N/A" when there's no Japanese in them. I used the information from famicomworld.com, and the names from TOSEC (No-Intro doesn't have everything, and GoodTools doesn't exist).
Name (TOSEC) Translated?
Adian no Tsue No
Akumajou Dracula Localised - Castlevania
All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. No
Dead Zone No
Deep Dungeon Yes - KingMike
Family Computer Othello Localised
Gall Force - Eternal Story Yes - Gil Galad
Ginga Denshou - Galaxy Odyssey Yes - Chris M. Covell
Hikari Shinwa - Palutena no Kagami No
I am a Teacher - Super Mario Seta No
I am a Teacher - Teami no Kiso No
Kieta Princess No
Knight Lore No
Koneko Monogatari - The Adventures of Chatran No
Mahjong Yes - Psyklax
Metroid Yes - AlanMidas & Localised
Moero TwinBee - Cinnamon Hakase wo Sukue! No
Monitor Puzzle, The - Kineko - Kinetic Connection No
Namida no Soukoban Special Yes - KingMike
Nazo no Kabe - Block Kuzushi No
Nazo no Murasamejou Yes - Spinner 8
Professional Mahjong Gokuu No
Puroresu - Famicom Wrestling Association Localised - Pro Wrestling
Suishou no Ryuu Yes - Mute
Super Mario Bros. Localised
Super Mario Bros. 2 N/A
Zelda no Densetsu - The Hyrule Fantasy Yes - Jordiway73 & Localised - Legend of Zelda, The
Regarding the hacking of these games, there's a lot of confusion out there about versions, and the reality is that CRCs are completely unreliable for this system. I studied the headers in FDS files - not the pointless emulator ones, but the ones on the original disks - and there are two reasons you could get two virtually identical files with different CRCs.
First, the date of production is included in the header. I saw Zelda in the TOSEC set and the No-Intro set had different production dates, but were otherwise identical. Thus, a patch for Zelda will work for either. The production date is obviously because disks are produced blank then written to, unlike ROMs which come out of the factory on chips.
Second, and most notoriously, save games. It seems like the ability to save was such a novel feature that almost every game I tried had it. Naturally, this means you can get two identical games which have different save games on them, or occasionally they're blank (but that seems rare). Thankfully with FDS Explorer you can look at the files on the disk - another difference with disks, having files rather than just big blocks of data on ROM - and find the last one which has save data, then figure out a way to render it blank.
I think that anyone making translations and hacks for FDS games really should include the save game blanking in their patch, so that anyone patching the game will have a nice clean disk. Sometimes it's easier said than done, but there's a forum post on nesdev.com called "Purifying FDS Disk Dumps" that goes through some of the more notable games. I'm sure it's possible to figure it out though.
Incidentally, I noticed that Mahjong was released on opening day, along with a bunch of other games previously already available on Famicom cartridge, so I decided to port my translation over.
It was very easy, since the ROM version and the disk version are almost identical, with some minor byte differences here and there. I just compared the three (disk, ROM, my translation) and pasted in what was necessary, and ta da! I don't know if anyone REALLY wants a patch for Mahjong on FDS, given that they can just play the ROM version (if they want to play at all), but it was a fun experiment.
Phew, this post is way too long, but I had a lot to talk about.
Any thoughts about the list? Or thoughts about anything else?
EDIT: and no sooner have I posted the list that I've noticed something.
Moero TwinBee - Cinnamon Hakase wo Sukue! was eventually re-released on cartridge in 1993, and that version was translated by MrRichard999. The game was ALSO released in 1987 in the US as Stinger. So, FDS, then US cut-down version, then Famicom ROM, then English translation. I guess I should tick it off the list, unless there are real differences between the FDS and ROM versions.