Friday, April 21, 2006

General RPGs' Thunder Spells

Today, I shall be ranting on something which has bugged me for a long time, probably way more than it should as it really is pretty trivial. Today will probably be both short and not entirely funny, so, sorry in advance.

Now, it is very common in RPGs to have magic attacks based on elements, such as Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water (but not Heart; sorry Ma-Ti). One element very commonly added to an RPG's mix is the element of Electricity, usually most focused on its lightning aspect.

The standard spells for this element vary from game to game, with some being Lightning (such as in Chrono Trigger) and others being Bolt (as in Final Fantasy 6). However, there's one other very common name for these spells: Thunder.

This makes no sense whatever. Thunder refers to the SOUND made in a storm when lightning discharges. In itself, it has NOTHING to do with the electric discharge itself. A spell called Thunder, or Thundara, or Thundaga, or whatever dismally dumb name the FF series wants to give to Bolt 1, 2, and 3 these days, should do nothing but make a big booming sound. A spell using LIGHTNING should be NAMED as such, because that makes SENSE. Bolt is fine, as the term is "bolt of lightning," so it's not like the name couldn't be shortened to fit a smaller text space and still make sense. But for heaven's sake, thunder refers to something completely and totally different from lightning!

Who the hell is translating these games? Or, if it's a correct translation, who the hell is naming the spells to begin with? It's not a difficult concept to grasp. I mean, I think that the last time I got thunder and lightning confused, I might have been 6 years old, tops. Are the translators/developers for Kingdom Hearts and the Final Fantasies taking their work home and letting their kids handle some of the script, or what? Not to say that SquareEnix is the only company that commits this idiocy; there are plenty of other companies' games you find it in--off the top of my head, I know it occurs in Phantom Brave, and I'm sure with an extra couple minutes I could add at least 3 or 4 more examples. It is, frankly, just plain dumb.

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