About the Fan Translation
An early fan translated RPG
As mentioned in the game review, Magic Knight Rayearth's completed fan translation was released March of 1999 by LNF Translations and RPGe. It was the second Super Nintendo RPG ever to be fan translated! The first was the Super Nintendo version of Final Fantasy V. Altogether, Magic Knight Rayearth was the 6th RPG ever to receive a fan translation.
How it started
Why was Magic Knight Rayearth the second Super Nintendo RPG to be translated? There were many other great RPGs that should've come first. Well, it was kind of a matter of convenience. The script for the game had already been extracted and was readily available for someone to volunteer to translate it. Also keep in mind that this was 1999, when ROM hacking was a new thing. Many Super Nintendo RPGs (especially the really good ones) weren't easy to hack into for an English translation.
In Lina`chan's words
This fan translation, of course, was a group effort. Although it was really “Lina`chan” who spearheaded the project. In her own words, this is how Magic Knight Rayearth was fan translated to English:
Ok. So here I am sitting in front of my computer enjoying playing your random RPG game, I really do not remember which one was ^^; Then! I stumble upon a site that had many Japanese games, I knew about them but hadn't really looked for them at all. I was happy playing Bubble and Bobble on Nesticle. But this day I wanted to give Japanese RPG's a try!
It was Summer 1998, I had just graduated from High School and returned from Anime Expo 98 *.* Excellent vacation, one month on Orange County/Anaheim, well anyways I decided to get a Japanese RPG and start playing! So.. lots of RPG games, which one to pick.. hmm? I kept scrolling down the page which I don't know if it works now or not ^^; It was SiTC. And it surprised me when I found a Magic Knight Rayearth RPG, I had already downloaded Seiken Densetsu 3, Sailor Moon RPG and Energy Breaker.
When I found the Magic Knight Rayearth RPG I almost jumped out of my seat and danced around the computer. So I download the game and start playing right away. Being a major Umi fan I am I got super really hyper and played most of the game up to where you get Selece (Celes), her mashin. Then, in my search for new games and stuff, I found about romhacking. I did know that you could hack the roms since I had already done a hehehe... hack to the poor Lufia 2 rom! It was sooo easy, changing the names of the characters to Bob and all those things, and the Dual Sword! The Sinistrals where the HentaiFans.. hahaha! Oh well ^^;; So I decided to do the same for Magic Knight Rayearth! And here is where all began!
It's night and I decided to find people to help me do a full translation work since what I knew about romhacking was quite limited by the time. I stumbled upon the #romhack page on Zophar's domain ^^ I got into the aforementioned channel and immediately asked for help, some of the people kindly helped me at first, those were Emperor Mog (mdw2) and through him I met other guys, like Professor something and Knight4J, really nice people.
Also while I was there I was told that someone had already started the Magic Knight Rayearth RPG translation process and that he had quite done a bit with it. It was also #romhack's founder, a channel that I had just stumbled in on the vast IRC world, his nick was Dibz. Dibz was nice enough to give me the dumped Magic Knight Rayearth script he had so I started to translate it immediately after I had a few of the translation done I started wondering how this would get to be inside the rom and all those things related to hacking.
The thing was that the project had been sort of abandoned by the former project leader, Dibz, because of some trouble with pointers. So I decided to get rid of that problem! Knowing 0 about romhacking and little programming experienced, I jumped into the whole hacking thing with nothing but some docs and a bunch of helpful friends to aid me. ^^; It took me about 3 months, practicing and toying with the game each day for an hour or so, for me to find out how the pointers worked!
Then I showed my work to my #romhack colleagues and they were all happy, just like I was. By this time Nuku-Nuku decided to take over the translation part as I continued discovering more and more things about the rom hacking. We had a large amount of text translated and some inserted manually by the time a guy popped into #romhack claiming that he knew all about Magic Knight Rayearth and that it was easy for him to do all the hacking. After much debating and umm suspiciousness we agreed to let LordTech take over the hacking part of the project, making the whole process even smoother. With Nuku and me working on the translation part and LordTech on the hacking, we managed to bring forth the translation after 4 months of its re-birth (when LordTech arrived) or 8 months (what Nuku and I spent.) ^^
From that moment, Lina`chan and her companions became history! A year later in 2000, Lina`chan and her group released the English fan translation for Tenchi Muyo RPG. Well, the official word was that they never 100% finished Tenchi Muyo RPG, but the game was fully playable in English. The same year they also helped DeJap Translations and Neill Corlett release the English fan translation for Seiken Densetsu 3. Lina`chan's last project was an attempt to translate Record of the Lodoss (SNES), but never finished it. She released her unfinished patch in December of 2000. That was a hot year for fan translations!
As one of the early pioneers in ROM hacking and fan translations, Lina`chan paved the way for more awesome fan translations.