![Shining Wisdom Logo](http://www.segasaturnshiro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Shining-Wisdom-Logo.png)\r\n\r\nSay what you will about the quality and quantity of the two western Saturn game libraries, but it is widely accepted that the Japanese library is vastly superior, both in terms of content and scope. Just in sheer volume of games released, the Saturn\u2019s Japanese library boasts an impressive 1,200+ titles, compared to the North American and European libraries\u2019 ~250. Yes, many of the Japanese games are clearly not suitable to a Western audience: \u2018Midnight Love with River Alligator Takeshi, POW!\u2019, for example, would never have been a hot seller here, and for good reason \u2013 I completely made that title up! But for every batch of crazy, over the top Japan-only titles, there is always a gem hidden in there - an amazing, awesome, and utterly classic title that, criminally, never saw the light of day over here.\r\n\r\nIt would surprise some folks to learn, then, that there was a game which received TWO official, separate (and quite different!) English translations. Which game, you ask? Why, it was none other than the oft-maligned but very-cool-indeed Shining Wisdom! Following the success of the Shining series on the Genesis / MegaDrive, SEGA was keen on continuing the franchise in the West on the Saturn, and Shining Wisdom was the first entry in the series for our 32-bit bad boy. Working Designs picked up the game for localization in North America, whilst SEGA Europe did the deed themselves for the European market. As you can imagine, the translations were quite different.\r\n\r\nWhich is best? Well, that depends on your point of view. Both have their merits and their faults. If you\u2019ve played any of Working Designs\u2019 translated games, you know exactly what to expect. Working Designs took many liberties with their translations to make them appealing to the western market, and in the process, infused each game with various pop-culture references. As you can imagine, some of these liberties and pop culture references have stood the test of time better than others, and yet the amount of charm this sort of translation adds to the games is undeniable. If I could coin a term here: Working Designs\u2019 translations are best thought of as translocalizations. As for SEGA\u2019s own effort for the European market, it is much more of a straightforward translation.\r\n\r\nIn terms of continuity in the series, the SEGA translation is the more accurate of the two. SEGA was able to continue to use the proper names in the series as they were used in the Genesis / MegaDrive games, which is a big deal for fans of the series. For example, the land of Parmecia is correctly named in the EU Shining Wisdom, as per the Genesis / MegaDrive games, but it is translated as Palacia in NA Shining Wisdom. Several heroes and villains from prior Shining games either make a cameo appearance or are otherwise referenced in Shining Wisdom: MegaDrive players will recognize Sarah and Kazin, as well as read about Bowie and Zeon, but Genesis players have Parn and Salah, and Puck and Zhaion. The main villain in the game is the Giant in the EU game and simply the Dark Titan in the NA game. (For completion\u2019s sake: the full, but seldom used in-game names of the villain are The Giant Seega (awkward but accurate European name) and The Dark Titan Zagalt (much more menacing but completely made up North American name). Other important characters are also named differently \u2013 for example, Sir Kaipa in the EU game, and Sir Kaizel in the NA game. Potato, potahto\u2026 some players prefer the more accurate but certainly somewhat foreign names, whilst others prefer the Americanized versions. Please note \u2013 the missed name translations are not due to Working Designs\u2019 ineptitude. SEGA holds the rights to the names and, in a classic \u201890s SEGA management move, did not permit Working Designs to use them. This forced Working Designs to use facsimiles that were as close as possible without triggering the lawsuit alert. The exact same situation occurred with the Magic Knight Rayearth translation. \r\n\r\n![The European translation](http://www.segasaturnshiro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/00000167r.jpg)\r\n\r\nThe European translation is also extremely faithful to the original in terms of the script text, whereas the North American game is far more localized. This manifests primarily in the speech of NPCs and minor characters \u2013 for instance, when visiting the magicians\u2019 house, Mars approaches one of the spell casters just as she briefly sets the table on fire. If you are playing the SEGA translation, the witch proclaims that \u2018If you have the power of the Fire Djinn, it\u2019s easy to do these things.\u2019 whilst in the Working Designs game this becomes \u2018who needs an EZ Bake oven when you have the power of the Fire Elemental??\u2019. Two things here: first, this shows the SEGA translation sticking very closely to the original Japanese text (faithful yet arguably bland in places) while Working Designs takes their liberties by injecting pop culture (deviates from original, yet humorous at times). And yes \u2013 there are players in both camps in terms of which is the \u2018better\u2019 way to translate a game. Shining Wisdom just happens to be the one example on the Saturn where we see both methods, officially. The second aspect here is the naming conventions \u2013 \u2018Djinn\u2019 is the Japanese name for \u2018spirit\u2019. Working Designs opted for the much more English-friendly \u2018Fire Elemental\u2019. Same thing in the end, but purists surely bemoan the change.\r\n\r\n![The Working Designs translation](http://www.segasaturnshiro.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/00000170r.jpg)\r\n\r\nThe Working Designs translation sometimes works wonderfully to add an appropriate amount of drama to otherwise bland lines \u2013 for example, when Mars\u2019 grandmother scolds her husband as he lies in a heap after attempting his Acceleration Technique. In the European version, she says \u201cDarling, what are you doing? You\u2019re not as tough as you once were so be careful.\u201d. In the North American version, this becomes \u201cOh Ebinezer! You crazy nincompoop! What in Hades are you trying to prove now?! I mean, honestly! You\u2019re not the spring chicken I married anymore!\u201d Both lines convey the original message of the scene; the European line is very faithful to the original text whilst the Working Designs line is more faithful to the dramatic sentiment of the moment.\r\n\r\nA brief comment to those that hold strong opinions one way or the other on these two translations: ultimately, both are very competent, and both convey the original plot well. It should be noted that Working Designs kept the humor and pop references out of the primary story arc and away from the main characters \u2013 in major plot scenes, the translation is appropriately serious, which helps make the humor during lighter scenes more welcome. Also, one must think back to the mid 1990s \u2013 Japanese culture was nowhere near as prolific or mainstream in the West as it is today, so from a target market perspective, it\u2019s hard to fault Working Designs for doing what they did. And in seriousness, many (though not all) of the re-namings of characters were wholly appropriate. Sir Kaizel just sounds more suitable than Sir Kaipa.\r\n\r\nWorking Designs would translocalize a total of six Saturn games for North American consumption. Of those six, only three also saw release in Europe (Shining Wisdom, Dragon Force, and SEGA Ages), and all three were handled differently. Shining Wisdom was separately translated for the two markets, Dragon Force was licensed from SEGA of Japan, translated exclusively by Working Designs and then licensed back to SEGA Europe, and SEGA Ages was first compiled by SEGA Europe and then licensed to Working Designs. Ahh\u2026 the wild west frontier of 32-bit gaming! \r\n\r\nNo matter which translation of Shining Wisdom you play, you\u2019re guaranteed to have a good time. Aside from perhaps extreme sentiment regarding translations in general, there is no reason to track down one version over the other \u2013 both translations are competent and enjoyable. Conversely, aside from massive love for the game, or perhaps even novelty, there is no need to play the two versions separately (and yes, the save files are interchangeable across all versions). The game itself is great, despite some of the negative comments surrounding it \u2013 and the soundtrack in particular is surprisingly good! So, the next time you lament missing out on the myriad of excellent Japan-only Saturn games, take solace in the fact for this title at least, we received not one, but TWO solid official English translations to counterbalance all the titles that were never officially localized.