Text Dumps

I am writing this blurb because a fair number of people either don't know that my text dumps exist, or don't know what they are useful for. Since text dumps are an integral textual tool for studying and learning about the Zelda universe, I feel this ignorance must be corrected.

What is a text dump?

A text dump is made by ripping all of a game's dialogue text from the game's ROM (a digital copy of a game cartridge or CD). This dialogue text must be formatted first before it is readable. Once this is done, the text dump has ALL of a game's text in readable, copy-pastable format. For more detailed information, see my Text Dumps FAQ.

Why is a text dump useful?

Dialogue quotes are inherently useful to any Zelda fan who wishes to understand the Zelda storyline and/or engage in debates about it. In debate, it is useless to say, "I think this character said this." You often need an exact quote so you do not stray from the original meaning.

Text dumps are more useful than quote FAQs. Quote FAQs give only the most important quotes in the game, and are open to typing error. Text dumps, however, have ALL the quotes in a game, EXACTLY as they appear in the game (assuming they were formatted correctly). Text dumps, therefore, allow one to find quotes that would normally be inaccessible to all but hardcore fans. One can easily search for all occurrences of a string, and be assured that all results in the game have been obtained.

Text dumps are also useful for translation comparisons. PAL (European) versions of the games are often released with all the languages contained in the same cartridge or disc. The different languages often all have their text in the exact same order and format. Thus, translation comparison tables can easily be constructed. These tables are invaluable to the hardcore Zelda fans who want to compare different translations.

Where are the text dumps and how can I download/view them?

The text dumps are located in my Emulation section, under Text Dumps. The files you want to get are the .txt and .html text dumps. It is intended that you download these files to your hard drive so you can peruse them at your leisure. I currently have translation tables for OoT and MM. These HTML files are so large that I have zipped them. You will need an unzipper like Winzip or Winace to unzip them. Don't look at any of the other files unless you are interested in how I dumped the text.

Are there any drawbacks to using text dumps?

There are a couple drawbacks. The most distressing one is the lack of order in the quotes. The quotes are not given in any specific order in the game's ROM code. Sometimes different parts of a quote are next to each other successively; sometimes they are scattered all over the dump. Sometimes quotes from one part of the game are in the same area; sometimes they are randomly distributed. So, it is usually only useful to search a text dump if you already know exactly what you want to look for. You have to know at least one word of the quote you need, or be searching for a specific word or string.

Another annoying drawback occurs in any kind of text dump or quote faq that preserves line breaks. If you're searching for a certain phrase, and it just so happens that the phrase in the game has a line break in it, you won't find it. All you can do is reduce the number of words in the phrase in hopes of finding that bit that occurs before the line break.

Sometimes text dumps are not formatted properly. This happens when the dumper (*me*) hasn't figured out completely how to translate the ROM code into readable text. Some quotes will have junk, or missing letters, or maybe even large parts of quotes missing. In the Oracle games, quotes from the different kinds of games (first quest, second quest) often run together. One has to sometimes confirm that the quote they have matches what is in the game.

Finally, another drawback to text dumps is their size. Since text dumps have all the text in the game, they tend to get rather large. Since translation comparison tables have all the game's text several times over, they can run into the megabyte range. For people with slow computers, this is not a good thing. All I can say is, there's nothing to be done about it; there's a lot of text in the games!