Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Feb 082021
 

When you read the title I’a I’a Cofflhu Fhtagnyaa, you probably think one of two things: either “What is that nonsense supposed to mean?” or “Is that some sort of coffee Cthulhu joke?”

Yep, it’s a play on “coffee” and the “Cthulhu fhtagn” chant.

I’a I’a Cofflhu Fhtagnyaa follows a young man named Skar (or possibly Ska or Scar) who takes a job working a strange coffee shop recently taken over by a woman named Nako (or maybe Naiko). He meets two friends of hers and soon learns that something about this coffee shop is very strange…

…because the three girls are actually incarnations of Nyarlathotep, Hastur, and Cthulhu.

They’re fairly benevolent despite being eldritch abominations, which might be explained by there actually being more than one Cthulhu, etc., but since it also uses “Cthulhu” as a general term for all three, I’m not positive about that. You get a chance to back out for an early ending, but if you choose to stay on at the coffee shop, another choice will put you on the path of romancing one of these three entities.

When I saw this weird Cthulhu romance game pop up on Steam, I had to check it out. Unfortunately, the English translation is bad.

Really bad.

I’ve read visual novels with translation issues before, but in this case I believe it was machine-translated, because the whole script feels more like it was run through Google Translate than actually translated by someone.

It actually adds some unintentional humor, but it also makes it challenging to read. In addition to the awkward lines, the translation routinely mixes up pronouns and even changes character names.

There are a few other issues as well, such as a lack of proper text-wrapping, an odd screenshot delay that resulted in most of my screenshots having blank dialogue boxes, and a problem with the settings where the voice volume slider and the sound effect volume slider are swapped.

All of this is a shame, because it actually has the potential to be good. It’s pretty funny at times (when I understood what the dialogue was trying to say), the routes themselves are distinct from one another and have some sweet moments, and I’d recommend it… if it was readable.

For now, I sadly suggest passing on I’a I’a Cofflhu Fhtagnyaa, but if it ever gets a proper translation, it will be worth a look!

Oh. And you have to like tentacles. That comes up a few times.

Share your thoughts on I’a I’a Cofflhu Fhtagnyaa in the comments!

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  6 Responses to “Celebrating All Things Romantic: I’a I’a Cofflhu Fhtagnyaa”

  1. Man, you’re really digging up some weird ones this year! It took me a good minute just to figure out the title. For a game with such a bad translation, the title does a pretty good job of selling what the game should be about! That “nyaa” at the end is inspired.
    Maybe you should reach out to see if they’d be willing to pay for a better-edited translation…?

    • Hahaha, yes, the title does indicate the subject matter fairly well. Partway through playing it, I also realized that the Cthulhu girl being the one who frequently calls the protagonist on his phone is probably an intentional play on The Call of Cthulhu.

      It doesn’t look like there’s any easy way to get in touch with the developers, and I saw someone already offered on the Steam forums to edit the script and didn’t get a response.

      I really think it needs to be re-translated, though, not just edited. I could follow a lot of it, but there were quite a few lines where I could only guess at what it was supposed to be.

  2. “named Skar (or possibly Ska or Scar) ”
    I was wondering at the start, readin’ that, how it’s unclear what the guy’s name is.

    And then by the end it’s obvious that the game has a disaster-quality script, and that explains a lot.

    (Mixing up pronouns is actually fairly progressive, Samantha!)

    • Yeah, the name mix-ups were a particularly odd part of the mistranslation, with the worst probably being when it randomly started calling Nako/Naiko “Nazi” instead, which really made me do a double-take at the line the first time it happened before I realized it was supposed to be her.

      (Not when the pronouns change randomly and also switch between first-person and third-person!)

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