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A game hacking anecdote

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A game hacking anecdote

Postby furrykef » Mon 08.17.2009 12:37 pm

I've recently made a script dump of Zelda no Densetsu: Kamigami no Triforce. (That's "A Link to the Past" in the U.S.) A "script dump" is basically a (hopefully!) complete list of all text in the game, extracted from the game data itself. Now, part of the process of making a dump is decoding the game's text, because virtually all old-school console games have text in a custom format that isn't easy to read on a computer. So you need to convert it, but before you can convert it, you need to decode it in order to find out how to convert it, right?

So, in order to decode the text, what I did was I kept changing this one small bit of text in the game and watched what the game did when I made those changes. It's actually a pretty simple (if laborious) process once you understand what's involved. Now, unbeknownst to me, changing this one bit of text screwed up the text in the rest of the game. That generally didn't affect me, since I was only editing that one block of text and that was working fine, so I didn't notice this.

So one time I was reading part of my partially-completed script dump, and I found this text:

はるか昔 山と森にかこまれた
美しき ハイラルの大地…

I thought, "Hey, this looks like it's from the game's intro." So I booted up the game and watched the intro. Only, it didn't come up. Well, not properly. There were no pictures, the text was an alarming red instead of white, and it was clearly the wrong text, although I couldn't actually read it without a bit of help from a dictionary. When I figured out what it said, though, it was quite a big surprise, because this is what it said:

やい、よくも長いネムリから
めざめさせて くれたなっ!
 … どうも ありがとう。

Quite an ominous message to just pop up like that while hacking the game, isn't it? :mrgreen:

- Kef
Founder of Learning Languages Through Video Games.
Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
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Re: A game hacking anecdote

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Mon 08.17.2009 9:01 pm

What's it mean exactly? I wasn't able to figure out all of it. Something about "How dare (you)..."

Although, I'd say that's pretty ominous in and of itself :P
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Re: A game hacking anecdote

Postby furrykef » Mon 08.17.2009 9:24 pm

I'd prefer that people try to work it out themselves, but you've already given it a shot, so I'll put the answer in a spoiler:

It says:
Spoiler:
Yai! How dare you wake me from my slumber! ... Thank you.


It breaks down like this:

Spoiler:
よくも = how dare you
長い (ながい) = long
ネムリ (眠り) = sleep
から = from
めざめ (目覚め) = waking
させて = causative -te form of する, so basically "to make someone do"; hence めざめさせる means "make me wake up"
くれた = this usually means "gave the favor of", but I'm not sure if that's quite right in this context


Any help on the precise meaning of くれた here would be appreciated, but it doesn't really hinder the understanding of the expression in any case. :)

- Kef
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Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
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Re: A game hacking anecdote

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Mon 08.17.2009 10:37 pm

My overall interpretation of it was close to that, but not close enough that I was able to make sense of it in my head.

Spoiler:
「やい」 and 「ネムリ」
In particular threw me off.

Any particular reason you were getting a text dump? At least you picked one of the greatest games of all time!
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Re: A game hacking anecdote

Postby furrykef » Mon 08.17.2009 11:11 pm

It's 'cause I'm setting up a website called Learning Languages Through Video Games, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a video game equivalent of resources such as Basic Japanese Through Comics. :) I don't have it ready yet, though. When I do, I'll post a thread about it here somewhere.

The idea here is I provide the complete text of the game, and then we -- "we" being the entire community, since this will be a wiki -- analyze all of the game's text to make it easier to digest for language learners. Then you can make flash cards out of the sentences and put them in a flash card program such as Anki, then study the heck out of them, and finally play through the game in the original language, fully understanding what it says. :)

- Kef
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Also see my lang-8 journal, where you can help me practice Japanese (and Spanish, and Italian!)
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Re: A game hacking anecdote

Postby lonelytraveler8 » Tue 08.18.2009 8:22 am

That's interesting. Playing through one of my favorite classics in the original Japanese is one of the goals I hope to reach, so I definitely like the idea.
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