Monday, January 16, 2012

It seems Rhythm Heaven Fever's North American localization won't be completely terrible

I've watched more gameplay videos of the Japanese version of Rhythm Heaven Fever--called Minna no Rhythm Tengoku, or Everybody's Rhythm Heaven--than I'd like to admit. As a result, I've already come to love quite a few of this wacky Wii release's mini-games.

The mini-game I'm most in love with at the moment: The one many people are calling "Wrestler Interview." Here's a video of the Japanese version, in case you've yet to see it:

Given my propensity to worry about things that are completely pointless (not to mention beyond my control), I've been fretting for the last few months as to how this mini-game's vocal track will sound after it's been translated into English and re-recorded by an American voice actor. (Rhythm Heaven Fever will hit store shelves in North America on Feb. 13, by the way. Unfortunately, the European version of the game, which will be called Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise, is still without a firm release date.)

Well, I can stop worrying. Someone just uploaded to YouTube the localized (for North American audiences) version of this mini-game, which apparently will be called, "Ringside." Here it is:

Although I can't say I find the English vocals to be as cute or as energetic as those that appear in the Japanese version, I also can't say I find them completely terrible. What do all of you think?

In related news: The fabulously altered version of this mini-game that can be viewed here and that features a Brazilian "male escort" named Ricardo Milos continues to bring a smile to my face more than three months after it was first appeared on YouTube.

Pre-order: Rhythm Heaven Fever

(Via, by way of


Retr0gamer said...

I like it, it keeps the nonsenical craziness of the japanese original. At least it isn't changed as much as the song in the PSP version of Gitaroo Man as to put me off. Nintendos localisation team are probably the best around and this is further proof of that.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Retr0gamer: Yes, it's definitely appealingly nonsensical (the English translation). I wish I knew what words are being spoken in the Japanese version. Maybe I'll have to do some digging...

Anyway, as much as I'm OK with the English voices, I can't help but wish NOA would include the Japanese tracks in the game, too. I know why they won't do that, though -- it could confuse some gamers, etc.

Oh, well, I'm going to get and enjoy this one regardless.

As for Gitaroo Man: I've never played it! Read many great things about it, though. Have you played both the PS2 and PSP versions, BTW? If so, which one do you prefer?

Viewtiful_Justin said...

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that I like the English vocals better, actually. I find them less...tinny...less...squeaky? I dunno. She seems to have more personality in the English one.

Bryan Ochalla said...

No need to go out on a limb, Justin -- I won't banish you from this blog for disagreeing with my love of the Japanese version's vocals :)

Actually, I agree with you that the girl in the English version has some personality. I really like that they had her change her inflection each time she said the "wubbadubbadubbda is that true?" line.

The vocal take that I'm not as fond of is that of the photographers. They seem less ... frantic in the NA version. Still, that's hardly much to complain about!

Retr0gamer said...

Gitaroo Man is fantastic you should definitely pick it up. I've played both the PSP and PS2 version. I prefer the PS2 version since I think the J-pop song is better with japanese vocals and the controls are better. However the PSP version is much easier to find since so if you have to go PSP it's still one of the best rhythm games ever made other than those two minor niggles.

I have fond memories of that j-pop song in gitaroo man. My brother used to be a big stoner and when he would come home baked out of his head I'd put on the stage with the j-pop song. He couldn't handle it and get really scared of it. I can be cruel sometimes :)

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ha! I love that story about freaking out your brother, Retr0gamer :) Also, thanks for the info you shared about the PS2 and PSP versions of the game. I'm really going to have to check out at least one of them sooner rather than later, as I absolutely love weird music games :)

Unknown said...

Wow, I'm really surprised by what a good job they did with the localization! I went out on a limb and listened to the English version first, and then the Japanese. If I started with the Japanese, I probably would've had higher expectations.

I saw you're wondering about the Japanese version ;) The "nonsense" part before "is that true?" in the English is pretty much what they're saying in Japanese. His answers also consist of "yup," once again very close to the English version. They took a a bit of liberty for "whoa, you go big guy!" which is more along the lines of just "wow, that's/you're amazing!" in Japanese. Similarly with when they ask for a picture, the Japanese says "look this way" (a common thing to say when taking photos), so it's a tad different, but all in all they did a great job of both maintaining the original meaning and keeping it to the beat, which is a feat in and of itself!

I cannot wait to pick this up... Come to think of it I forgot to include it on the list of games I'm looking forward to in 2012!

Oh, so Shaun wanted me to ask you, have you gotten all the gold medals in the DS version, Bryan? He's stuck on getting 2 or 3 that he just can't seem to get gold on. Poor guy (I love the game but I honestly can't be bothered to get perfect scores, I'm so bad at rhythm)!

shidoshi said...

For me, unfortunately, this is one of those times that Nintendo of America just can't satisfy me. *laughs* I appreciate them trying to make an effort, but even when they try, they just can't seem to capture that same spirt as the Japanese side. The vocals in the above clip aren't bad, but they don't have the emotion (for me) that the Japanese clip does.

(Plus, "Whoa, you go big guy" sounds off to me when I understand the meaning of the Japanese, which is more, "Wow, that's amazing.")

I appreciate that they're bringing these games over, but I myself can't stop preferring the original Japanese versions. (Plus, I also have a certain loyalty to the Japanese versions, due to having a friend on the staff.)

That said, I DID think some of the English-language songs in the DS Rhythm Heaven were very well translated. (Unfortunately, others weren't. At all.)

shidoshi said...

Wait... I entered my Google account info. Why am I "Unknown" above? *cries*

Kaze said...

Yay, Rhythm Heaven!! The wrestler interview is my favorite mini-game in the Wii version too! I prefer the original Japanese version but I usually do like 90% of the time. lol The English version though is basically the same. I'll spare you having to dig around for a translation! :D

- Reporter: (Gibberish) desuka? [(Gibberish) right? {Signifying a question}]
-Wrestler: Ee. [Yeah.]
-Reporter: Eee, sugoi desune! [Wow, that's amazing!]
-Photographers: Kochi mitte!! [Look over here!!]

I'm a Gitaroo Man fan too! I've only played the PS2 one though. My fave song is "Flyn' to Your Heart" from the second stage!

Kaze said...

Whoops!!! Just noticed I'm the third person to translate for you! Sorry! lol

Unknown said...

I think we were all writing it at about the same time, hahaha :D

Shidoshi (heya!), how is your friend involved in the game?

shidoshi said...

She's part of the team behind WarioWare / Rhythm Tengoku, her first game being WarioWare Touched. She does artwork, game planning, and various other things. For example, in the original Rhythm Heaven GBA, she was the "Pa-pa-pa-punch!" voice, and the voice in one of the mini games.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Shidoshi! I think this is the first time you've commented here. Yay! Is it weird that such an occurrence just made my day? :)

Anyway, as to your comments about the English translation and vocals that appear in the second Rhythm Heaven Fever vid: I agree with you for the most part. I don't understand Japanese, of course, but even then I've always thought the original vocals in all of the Rhythm Tengoku games are a better "fit," for lack of a better word, than their English counterparts.

That said, I'm going to buy the NA version of this game simply to support Nintendo's efforts to release it outside of Japan. As far as I'm aware, the DS version didn't sell all at well in NA, and I worry that if this one bombs they won't bring any future iterations (and you know more sequels will be made, hopefully for the 3DS and/or Wii U) to our shores.

Of course, I'm planning to support the Japanese release eventually, too. In fact, as soon as I can find a copy of the Japanese version for $50 or less, I'm buying it. (As of now, the only copies I can find on line are $70 or more, which is just too rich for my blood.)

Finally, I'm jealous that you know someone who helped make the game! Did she help make the original and the DS sequel, too?

Bryan Ochalla said...

One more thing, shidoshi: Sorry Blogger failed to properly ID you. And thanks for commenting :)

Oh, and as for your comments about the quality of the DS version's translation (into English): Although it may be true that the words were translated well enough, I can't say as much for the vocals :(

I absolutely love the vocals used in the Japanese version, but the English version's vocals are like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Anne: Sorry I responded to shidoshi first. Also, thank you for the translation! I was hoping you'd respond to that portion of the post :)

Translation and localization of this kind of game always intrigues me. It's hard enough to localize a game, I'm sure, but to localize music/rhythm games must be especially difficult.

As such, I can't help but give some slack to the folks at NOA. They're placed in a tough position when tasked with localizing a game like this for English-speaking audiences, and for the most part I think they do a pretty good job.

That said, I wonder if they involve the folks who made the original (Japanese) version when while doing their translation/localization work? It seems that would help make the end result a truer reflection of the original, IMO.

As for Shaun's question: I haven't played the DS version in some time, but I'm sure I got perfects/golds on all of the minigames/stages.

Which ones is he stuck on, if you don't mind me asking?

Bryan Ochalla said...

Kaze: Thank you kindly for your translation assistance :)

I have to say, by the way, that one thing I prefer about the Japanese version of the wrestler minigame is that the gibberish sounds kind of like a DJ scratching s record. I wonder why the folks in charge of the NA release didn't stick with something like that -- as long as the Japanese is gibberish, too?

Anyway, I'm guessing you've played the previous Rhythm Tengoku games, too, Kaze? If so, which one is your favorite?

Bryan Ochalla said...

Shidoshi: Again, I'm jealous of your friend for being part of the staff that makes these great games (and jealous of you for knowing her). And she was the "pa-pa-pa-punch" voice? Ahhhhh! My geeky head just exploded :)

Unknown said...

Aw, it's okay... Shidoshi is way cooler than I, anyway ;)

Whoops, you're right... I think I meant "perfect" instead of "gold." Anyway, the highest possible score.

I loaded it up just now, and it looks like he still hasn't gotten... Moai Doo-Wop 2, Remix 10, Rhythm Rally 2, and Remix 8. Those Moai ones in particular always seem to give him a hard time. I've tried to help, but honestly I'm hopeless! haha

Unknown said...

Shidoshi, that is so awesome!! I love the art style in the WarioWare/Rhythm Tengoku games. Like Bryan, my little nerd heart may have just burst with joy!

Bryan Ochalla said...

No way, Anne -- I think you're very cool :) I was just shocked shidoshi commented here, that's all.

Anyway, as for the stages your husband is having problems with: Man, I guess I'm going to have to load up the game tonight in order to remember which ones they are. Well, other than Moai Doo-Wop 2 and Rhythm Rally 2, I mean. I remember them.

I will say that the moai and rhythm rally ones were among the toughest for me, too. And the later remix stages are always tough!

I seem to remember the timing on the moai and rhythm rally stages being really tough, BTW -- in that they almost seemed "off." Maybe Shaun should try tapping just before he'd normally tap, for instance?

I'll give them a go tonight/tomorrow and see if I can be of any further assistance, OK?

Bryan Ochalla said...

I agree, Anne -- the art style in the Rhythm Tengoku and WarioWare games is AMAZING :)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the suggestion, I'll tell Shaun to try that :) Please don't worry about going out of your way, unfortunately it's kind of hard to help someone out with something like a rhythm game. Too bad it weren't an RPG! ;)

Bryan Ochalla said...

You're welcome, Anne! And you're right, it's hard to help someone with a rhythm game. Still, I'll try!

Zigfried said...

I'm ok with the English version, but I definitely like the Japanese one a whole lot better. I'm posting these thoughts at my blog right now, but I may as well post it here too ;)

Female Japanese interviewers use a pandering style (asking fluff questions and repeatedly saying things like "sugoi desu ne" as though they're constantly impressed by the subject's responses), so the mini-game comes off as a cute mockery of Japanese celebrity reporting. Meanwhile, the English version has the interviewer saying "whoa, you go, big guy"... I've never heard anyone actually say that in an interview.

So the joke is lost, although it still has the heatin' beatin' groove. I don't think there's any way they could have saved the joke, since entertainment reporting is so different between the two countries, but yeah.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Zigfried! Based on what you said about female Japanese interviewers, it seems NOA was more than a bit handcuffed when localizing the text. Given that the girl in the game is interviewing a wrestler, I can understand why they went with the line they went with, but I have a feeling something a bit closer to the line used in the Japanese version may have worked, too.

coolpowers said...


Bryan Ochalla said...

Ah, thanks for that reminder of the DS iteration, coolpowers :) I quite like that mini-game, actually -- even with the English lyrics and vocals :)

coolpowers said...

It's one of my favorites, but she just sounds bored in the translation. It looks like the Wii translation does much better in that regard.