This Upcoming Book will Show You a Side of Zelda You Never Saw

This Upcoming Book will Show You a Side of Zelda You Never Saw

The differences between the Japanese and American versions of The Legend of Zelda are surprising. And Clyde Mandelin's book will show you why.

If you've even dipped a toe into the fan localization scene, it's likely you've seen the name "Clyde Mandelin"—or at the very least, his online handle, "Tomato."

For more than a decade, Mandelin's been a key figure in this small-but-important subculture, as well as the EarthBound community. In fact, he headed up the Mother 3 fan localization released back in 2008, and has been responsible for several other notable projects, like Bahamut Lagoon, Live a Live, Star Ocean, and Wonder Project J. While his work in the fan scene has slowed down due to professional obligations, Mandelin maintains a great blog called Legends of Localization, which seeks to explain the often inexplicable choices localizers make when reshaping a game's script for an American audience. If you've ever wanted to know why that soldier in Bionic Commando calls you a "nerd" or how the Japanese version of Banjo-Kazooie handled Gruntilda's storybook rhymes, Mandelin's your guy.

He's taken on much more ambitious projects than these bite-size oddities, though: Mandelin has examined the entirety of a single game's localization as early as the late '90s with his in-depth look at the many, many differences between Mother 2 and EarthBound. The Legends of Localization site contains a handful of these extensive analyses, and soon, Mandelin's look at the original Legend of Zelda's localization will soon enter book form thanks to Fangamer.

Given the relative sparseness of The Legend of Zelda's dialogue, you might think there's not much worth noting. But Mandelin's exploration pays attention to the closest detail—from the packaging to the instruction booklet—and reveals things you've likely never known. Seriously, even if The Legend of Zelda is your life, prepare to be surprised by the many, tiny nuances that didn't make the cut for its 1987 English-language release. If anything, it's nice to know what the game's army of bearded, old hint givers were supposed to be saying.

While the book hasn't been released yet, you can sign up to have Fangamer let you know when pre-orders are available. A recent post on the Legends of Localization Facebook page shows that the contents of the book have already been sent to the printing company, so it can't be too far off.

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