Maaaaaaaan, has this post been a long time in coming. A few years ago, LPer supergreatfriend was doing a series on the then-imminent closure of the Wii Shop, spotlighting games in danger of being lost (at least in terms of easy commercial access) once the shop went down. I got to this part in his coverage of the Virtual Console release of Ys Book I & II, and...well, take a look yourself, if you've played Lunar: The Silver Star. Don't a few things seem...familiar?

I then (eventually) set to playing Ys Book I & II and found the parallels with The Silver Star went further than attract mode visuals. Places and characters; artistic approaches; design elements; shot compositions in other cutscenes: Kei Shigema repurposed vast and significant tracts of the Ys property to create Lunar. He often did so to greater effect than Ys - Book I & II's story is extremely rudimentary - but the debt is undeniable and heavy.

Below lies my chronicle of the major...influences. Assembling this document heavily involved my continual nemesis, working with images, so it took freaking forever after my initial playthroughs. I snatched a number of screenshots from Valis77's TSS and EB longplays. I may have gotten a couple images from random Tumblrs mixed in here; mea culpa.

A couple years ago, I started a run through the first Lunar game, The Silver Star on Sega CD, with the intention of looking back on it after all these years. That project fell by the wayside, leaving Alex and Nash stranded around Lann. I did, however, take a bunch of screenshots from that first part of the game - which the emulator saved as Targa files, for some reason. (I have converted them to gifs for our convenience.)

Anyhow, in the course of discussing Lunar Week, pandorkful mentioned that it was hard to find actual TSS quotes instead of stuff from SSS misattributed to it. So I give you: a bunch of TSS screenshots! In the wild! With commentary! From the first part of the game exclusively, but some are better than none.

There was a period of time in the early '90s, with the spread of Starbucks and coffeehouse culture, that the idea of a coffeehouse and specialty coffees was considered inherently hilarious. (See: So I Married an Axe Murderer.) Coffee? From anything but the office Mr. Coffee with Sweet 'n' Low and Coffee-Mate? It'll never catch on! I mean, with foam? In non-standard mug sizes?? OMG! This skepticism is completely forgotten today, but it was rampant when TSS came out, as demonstrated by this bit about the barkeep turning his pub into a coffeehouse (can you believe it?).

CLIENT 1:

Client: Thanks for your interest in our finance translation project! You just have to sign this contract.
Me: What's this clause stating you have the right to come to my premises and search my house and belongings?
Client: Wait, what clause?
Me: This one right here.
Client: Wow, I never noticed any of that! Let me ask legal about this.

Client: OK, I got back from legal, and oh, that clause just means we have to install a spyware program on your computer to search all your files, including those on which you're working for other clients, regardless of any preexisting confidentiality agreements you have with them! We need this to comply with EU privacy laws. This is definitely about safeguarding privacy. Here's a sales pitch on how handing over every single piece of personally-identifying information in your possession to, um, identify vulnerabilities, or something, can actually improve your security!
Don't worry about the in-house inspection clause! It's meant more for corporate subcontractors and will never be invoked with you probably maybe!

CLIENT 2:

Client on Thursday: Thanks for your interest in this medical project! Sign up for a timeslot so we can meet over Zoom to discuss project details over videoconferencing instead of email for some reason!
Me on Thursday: I'm available Tuesday morning, but I'm afraid I can't install the Zoom client due to security reasons. Like, actual security reasons, not alleged EU stuff. Can we meet on Skype or Teams instead?
Client on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday:

Me on Tuesday morning: Hi there! Just reaffirming if we could meet on Skype or Teams. I can send you a call link.
(meeting time passes)
Client, somewhat later Tuesday morning: Sure, Skype would be great! Can we try this again tomorrow morning? Send me a link!
Me: Sure.

Me on Wednesday morning: Hi there! Here's the link! Let me know if there are any issues!
Client:

Me, a half-hour after the meeting time, over phone: Hi, Client; since teleconferencing doesn't seem to be working, maybe we could do this old-school? I'm leaving a message at the extension in your email sig. Here's my phone number.
Client:

CLIENT 3:

Client: Hello, trustworthy subcontractor with whom we have a previous working relationship! We've developed sudden amnesia and have decided we have no idea who you are or if we can trust you with our files! We need you to fill out this booklet with the complete details of every single job you've completed in your career. Be sure to include the date, character count, detailed subject matter, title and journal of publication if applicable, and current contact info for your supervisor on every single job! It won't take too long! There are only literally over 50 categories! We need this to comply with EU privacy laws.
Client: We mean, ISO standards. We need this to comply with ISO standards. Everyone's doing it!
Me: You are off your rocker.

CLIENT 4:

Client: Hey, can you lower your rate for this gaming project?
Me: Well, it's the off season. I can give a discount for just this one project, sure.
Client: Hmmm. Can you go even lower?
Me: Sorry, but no. That's a significant discount as it is.
Client: OK. Take these tests, which consist of text from Yu-Gi-Oh cards whose commercial translations can be easily looked up online, material we absolutely should not be using to test a prospective translator's skills. We're in a hurry, so can you rush them, by the way?
Me: Well, OK.
Client (through second rep): Also, we need this sample of text from the game to be translated. This has to be rushed!
Me: Sure.
Second Rep: Hold on, I actually need you to format your test into this Excel file. Can you do that? We're on a tight deadline! We're looking to start work in a couple days!
Me: All right.
First Rep: Also, could you fill in this lengthy form on our site regarding your professional background?
Me: *sigh* You know I'm not giving up my bank info until we get a little more concrete on this collaboration, right?

Me, a couple days later: Hey, First Rep, is there any news on that project? I was told you needed to start very, very soon. By the way, I also took a test for Second Rep. Were you and Second Rep on the same page?
First Rep: Oh, you were never in contention for that project!
Second Rep: That's right! You're way too expensive! We could never, ever afford you! Whatever gave you the idea that we were considering you for this project?
First Rep: Instead, we're going to be representing you to other clients, provided you pass our strenuous Yu-Gi-Oh-based test that, incidentally, takes us 20 days to grade! By the way, we're setting your standard going rate at that one-time discount rate you quoted.
Me: You're absolutely not doing any of that. I'm erasing all the info I posted on your website. Also, I think the translators' association would like to hear of the misrepresentation taking place during your onboarding.
Translators' Association: No, we wouldn't! Despite time-consuming tests being standard onboarding practice in this industry, we don't consider misrepresentation to be possible if you haven't been paid! It's not work if you're not paid, remember! Long, long tests aren't actually work, and they're also a Get out of Jail Free card for any lies the client tells you! We see nothing but thoroughly upstanding behavior here!

CLIENT 5:

Client: Hey, remember when we tried to neg you via a bad comedy routine in a public email chain during our onboarding process and thought, erroneously, you would take it because we're a shitty game-translating company dependent on grinding down starry-eyed 22-year-olds with no experience in the industry who will accept any treatment just to work in gaming? Also, remember when we blamed you for pointing out a big formatting problem we didn't understand because we demonstrably never, ever looked at the game we were retranslating, even though we were paid to do so, then when confronting that problem became unavoidable, attempted to claim you were the only one intent on ignoring the problem you identified? Then you quit for some reason. Anyhow, we need your help on another project.
Me: Man, you must be in a jam if you're coming to me after how we parted. While anyone with a brain cell would tell you to shove off after the above synopsis, I will be a complete idiot and agree to help you out this once. Maybe your previous missteps were due to immaturity instead of malice. Maybe reapproaching me is a sign you've grown and want to make amends. Also, maybe I've had a lobotomy.

Client: Hey, we're going to try negging you in a public email chain again by sending out a set of guidelines on what not to do in translation that's populated solely with examples from your work! We think this will inspire you to form a closer working relationship with us, as we believe your ego and professional self-confidence are contingent solely on our approval! This despite the fact that negging didn't work the first time! We didn't learn our lesson, either.
Me: Wow! I guess you weren't in a jam after if you have so much energy to devote to complete high-school bullshit! Allow me to call you on that bullshit to your face, with complete reciprocation of the professionalism you've shown me! Would the other translators in your email chain care for a brief account of the debacle that led me to quit the first time, plus details on how your standards for payment and workplace conduct are completely inadequate compared to other gaming translation companies? I can make it extra-bitchy!
Should I have made that email private? Oh, well.

Not great, Dave!

  • I got stuff to do for Lunar Week (starting on the 20th, this Sunday). I got stuff to write; I got stuff to scan; I got stuff to grab imagewise from emulators and LPs. I hate working with images. I love posting images; I love the posts that result from images; being able to put together reasonably good-looking picture-page stuff like the Phantasmagoria review or even the post on Psycho Dream is one of the joys of having this blog. Obtaining and refining images, though, has always been a problem and a pain in the neck for me. I've never been good at it, and one of the posts I want to put up for Lunar Week involves wrangling images from several sources. (Animated gifs would be more illustrative of a number of points, but that's way beyond my skillset.)
    I'm using Lunar Week to get a number of Lunar-related things out the door that have been shuffling around in the vestibule for too long. And despite complaining, I have made progress, even with the imaging projects! I've scanned pages from a doujinshi, and I've also scanned the complete run of Shining Forth, the RPG zine mentioned here I loved in the 16-bit era. Of course, image cropping & processing awaits. And then the other imaging projects. And then the writing. Only some of which is done. (There were also loose ends on a long-undone Lunar translation project I wanted to tie up for Lunar Week, and, oh, man. I have been supremely irresponsible with that project to a point that makes me extremely disappointed in myself.)
  • I gotta play The Quarry before I get spoiled on it. I'm getting a physical copy on PS4 to avoid potential performance/response-time issues on my laptop and to have a little bit of resale security in case Supermassive pulls another wolf incident, but I have to wait for a special order to come in, as no one reputable in my area had it in stock. I'm currently watching other shows by two streamers who are playing it, and while I'm being careful to avoid chats, prestream shows, etc., I'm on Overbeck-level borrowed time. Even watching unrelated YouTube videos is getting perilous, with all the thumbnails on the side promising EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THE QUARRY. The rush seems ridiculous - it's literally a few days old, and it's a miracle I've so far avoided being informed of every single development and branch in every plot beat.
  • Then I gotta play the sequel to A.I.: The Somnium Files, which releases in a few days, and you can just copy everything above with the difficulties on that.
  • I gotta knock out Live-a-Live before the - remake? remaster? I don't know what you'd call whatever Square does to its 16-bit titles nowadays; it's not extensive enough for the former and not enough, you know, in the positive direction for the latter - comes out. I have a couple pieces I'd like to write up and get out before the game debuts officially in the West.
  • There's also something I want to write up that's time-sensitive about a professional translation in which I was involved. Lotta writing going on. Lotta playing not going on.
  • As for watching: I tried watching Stranger Things, and I got all of one episode in. It wasn't because of the quality of the program; I just have limited time to watch programs with undivided attention anymore. Lots of my video watching consists of stream that can go on in the background as a supplemental diversion while I'm doing something hobby- or work-related.
  • I've also spent a good deal of time collecting documentation and evidence on an Ongoing Local Problem for allegedly interested authorities. If past patterns hold, all this time expenditure will result in absolutely nothing, but I have to try. I also wanted to enjoy the May weather and flowers a bit; Maine has many problems, but it does look glorious in the two weeks of spring it gets. (That said, temperate weather has lasted a bit longer this year - all the way from May into mid-June! - so fingers crossed this continues.) I also had a sudden medical issue that for which I had to track down specialist treatment and am in line, I guess, to have examined, though my phone isn't exactly ringing off its hook. I'm in the middle of reading six books. I'm translating a Clock Tower novel and have 130 pages to go.

So, with all this, I decided to expend more time by complaining here about the state of affairs. Thank you for entertaining my first-world problems.

ETA: Now I gotta play something for work.