When most Nintendo fans think of Eiji Aonuma, they think “Zelda.” After all, he’s either been directing or producing the series since Ocarina of Time, and has become the face of the franchise in recent years. He did have a history at Nintendo before he took up this prominent Zelda role, however, working as the sprite designer on NES Open Tournament Golf in 1991 and later being given the chance to direct his first game in 1996: Marvelous: Mōhitotsu no Takarajima.

The game, which translates to Marvelous: Another Treasure Island, follows the adventures of a trio of young boys as they explore an island in search of treasure. While its sprites are undeniably similar to the ones found in A Link to the Past, the game doesn’t focus as much on action and is instead structured more like an adventure game. The boys, Deon, Jack and Max, have to solve puzzles, use unique abilities, and split up to uncover the island’s mysteries.

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The game was never released in the West, likely due to the fact the Nintendo 64 was already hitting store shelves at the time, so it remained untranslated for well over a decade. Thankfully, a ROM Hacker by the name of Tashi took it upon themselves to translate this curious piece of Nintendo history, and released an initial patch in 2012, with most of the game’s dialogue translated.

It wasn’t until now, almost 20 years after the game’s initial release, that Nintendo fans can play through the entire game in English, even down to the title screen. This is all thanks to the efforts of another ROM hacker, DackR, who took over the translation project in early 2015. You can check out their efforts here, although you’ll have to hunt down the game’s ROM independently.

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Fan translations are one of the best examples of the sheer devotion some people and communities have towards their favorite games and franchises. One of the biggest and most recent examples is Mother 3; after years of silence from Nintendo of America and Europe, the series fansite starmen.net banded together with professional translator Clyde “Tomato” Mandelin to create a complete English language version of the Earthbound followup.

It just goes to show that even if video games don’t get translated or published in the West, we can always hold out hope some dedicated fans will help us experience these missing parts of gaming history.

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Written by Tom Brown

Always excited to see something a little bit different, Tom is ready to report on games of all shapes and sizes, whether they be wonderful or weird (or, better yet, both.) Rest assured, if Nintendo ever announces Elite Beat Agents 2, he’ll be there.

Tom Brown

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