A Letter of Mana

I didn’t intend for this to be a Secret of Mana month, but the series bobbed to the surface with Square Enix’s newly launched Switch collection of the first three titles. It brings back childhood memories of questing through Final Fantasy Adventure (aka Seiken Densetsu) on the Game Boy, sitting entranced by Secret of Mana (aka Seiken Densetsu 2) on the Super NES, and then watching in frustration and despair as Square never translated Seiken Densetsu 3.

Yes, it’s happening again. Seiken Densetsu Collection is Japan-only as far as anyone knows, as Square Enix has announced no plans to localize it. This would be a good opportunity to fatten up the Switch library and finally bring over an English version of Seiken Densetsu 3, but their silence says a lot.

You might contend that Seiken Densetsu 3 isn’t worth the trouble. I disagree. True, its lineup of six selectable characters fragments the story, and the gameplay exacerbates a lot of Secret of Mana’s annoyances: unconvincing hit detection, cheap bosses, and so forth. But it’s a gorgeous game with that undeniable 16-bit Squaresoft grandeur to it. I don’t like it nearly as much as Secret of Mana, but I’d like to play an officially translated version of Seiken Densetsu 3 on the Switch.

So I’ll do what I did back in 1995: I’ll write Square Enix a letter.

Well, that’s my letter. It might be just as ineffective as all my letters were back in 1995, but I like to recall a time when I honestly believed that I’d sway a company into localizing a complex and potentially unprofitable game for the dwindling Super NES market just because I’d put something into an envelope and mailed it.

You were delusional, younger me, but you were earnest. I owe to you to write a letter about Seiken Densetsu 3 once again.

And if Square Enix does nothing, I probably owe it to you to play through the fan-translated version that I periodically start and never finish.

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