Released nearly four years ago in August 2008, Captain Rainbow is one of the most original and creative games on Wii. But it was never released outside of Japan, despite significant demand from fans.
Why is so sought after? It may be the most significant Nintendo crossover game outside of Smash Bros. The character of Captain Rainbow is a failed superhero who finds himself stranded on Mimin Island, where other washed up heroes have found themselves. The twist – all of the residents are failed Nintendo stars who have let themselves go. Punch-Out!!’s Little Mac, the soldiers from Famicom Wars, the boss from Miyamoto’s least successful game Devil World and many more misfits are all here and interact with each other in the oddest ways.
Written and developed by Chibi-Robo creator Skip Ltd, Captain Rainbow features an unparalleled level of humour… Which is one of the reasons it was never officially translated. One joke, involving Super Mario Bros 2’s Birdo, gender confusion and a certain battery powered bedroom accessory made this the most unlikely of Wii games to ever be translated. It’s amazing that Nintendo of Japan ever published the game to begin with.
Now, after years in the making, a fan translation of Captain Rainbow is nearing release and, best of all, will play on any unmodified Wii, courtesy of a free patch to be used on an SD card in conjunction with an original copy of the game.
The translation and patch are developed by Kirameki, who kindly agreed to speak to games™ about the localisation.
Why did you decide to translate Captain Rainbow of all games?
We became Skip fans with the Chibi-Robo series. After playing the GameCube episode, and importing Park Patrol, we also played and translated the wonderful Giftpia, and Captain Rainbow was the obvious next step.
What have been some of the unique challenges involved in translating this game in particular?
Certainly, it must have been Hikari’s speech. She talks in Kansai dialect (Kansaiben) which is a trademark for funny characters in Japanese, but it’s pretty hard to find Kansai-ben to standard Japanese dictionaries online! So yeah, it was a bit of a challenge sometimes. Also the fact that, for once, we didn’t translate the dialogues “in-game” like we did before, but using pieces of data coming from different scenarios, so they were lacking of continuity most of the time! But well, that’s what beta playing is for, right? Besides, as English is not our native language, obviously we had some problems with making the dialogue sound… you know, not so stiff. Like for example Mappo’s or Takamaru’s speech. But, again, that’s what English editors are for.
Did you have to significantly change anything in the script to have it culturally make sense to a western audience?
Nope, not really, except for some traditional Japanese terms that may have a reasonable counterpart in the target language (o-bentou which turned into: lunchbox, onigiri: rice ball, and so on; we were forced to leave ‘onigiri’ in italian for example), and for some jokes or pun that had to get localized. Particularly, Mimin Island has a rich – and equally weird – fauna, whose specimens’ names are often a pun on some other common animal name.
There are lots of references to obscure game characters in Captain Rainbow. Did you have to research a lot of those games?
Not that much, in fact. Some of them didn’t talk in their original games, and very few of them (well, just Drake Redcrest) had a previous official localization we could base ours on. Minor details were researched though, like the name of a monster in Devil World (which is Devil’s original game), called Medaman.
How confident are you that you’ll meet your predicted Christmas release?
We have more or less 6-7 months until then, and we think there’s plenty of time to make everything work. Of course, no one is payed for this work and everyone has some busy weeks every now and then, so we have no guarantees. But if no major problems occur, we should have enough time to complete everything before that date.
Fore more information on the Captain Rainbow fan translation see the Kirameki website. For more info on Captain Rainbow itself, see games™ issue 76, which features an import review of the game and a feature detailing its forgotten Nintendo heroes.