Episode 011 – Secret of Mana (1993)
This week in Your Parents Basement, we are playing one of the highest-rated RPGs of the 16-bit era, Square’s Secret of Mana! Follow along as we lavish praise on the fighting system and music, and do our best to overlook the truncated dialogue in the fight against ebbing mana.
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- 0:00 – The intro, which features music from the flying portions of the game.
- 47:40 – Emails. More dark thoughts from Butterscoot.
- 54:00 – Snifferoo.
– We don’t get into heavy story spoilers for Secret of Mana, since the iOS and Droid versions are still good, and thus, hopefully some of you will be interested enough to give it a try. Basically, any story aspect we talk about comes up within the first five hours (about 10 percent) of the game. However, it should be said that at one point, you do get to save Santa.
– We somewhat on the development history of this game, which is pretty interesting and has been written about several times. In addition to the always-reliable Wikipedia, 1-Up has a column about how the series actually began in 1987.
– As far as the translation specifically, Wikipedia has a transcript of a September 1994 interview with Ted Woolsey, the poor bastard who had to do all of Secret of Mana in 30 days. In the 1990s, he was a controversial figure because his translations really morphed the intent of some text and plot, but opinion has softened on him over the years as people have become aware of the programming and time limitations he faced. He did the translation work on Mana, Final Fantasy 3, Breath of Fire and Chrono Trigger. He has his own page on TV Tropes, Woolseyism, and now works for Microsoft.
– On the show, I (Steve) said that I thought I could probably work my way through this game in 10 hours or so. Well, on YouTube, there is a speed run done in about 3 hours. Ye gads.
– Also on the show, as usual, we talk about how much the game costs now. As mentioned several times, the iOS version is well-reviewed, removes some translation errors and only costs about $10. On eBay, loose carts go for about $30 to $70, and complete packages (game, box, map and manual) go for around $100 to $200, depending on condition. There are also tons of Secret of Mana 2 carts on eBay in the $45 to $60 range. These are not official though; they’re simply the fan translation dumped on to a cart. They’re still playable on your SNES, though.
– We talk briefly about Secret of Evermore, which plays a bit like Mana, but is otherwise completely unrelated. We might cover it more in-depth on another show. Via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, Super-NES.com has a great interview with Brian Fehdrau, the lead programmer for Evermore.
– Hat tip to co-host Todd Brisket, who found this story about the newest boss additions to the Japanese-only Vita game, Rise of Mana.