Near the beginning of the game, an NPC says this dialogue, explaining some controls:

This seems to defy all conventions of building a complete sentence, which seems strange since it's supposed to be dialogue. It seems more like the first line is a heading of some sort, while the last two lines are three disjointed phrases:

"[A] while Z-targeting and moving. Left or right, a sideways jump; backwards, a backflip; forward, an invincible roll attack!"

Is this supposed to sound like natural speaking in Japanese? How might the sentence be parsed, and are there any unspoken phrases that might make it more clear ([A]を押すと in the top line)?

  • Surely there is something omitted in the first line but I cannot say what is it as I'm not familiar with that use of the language (could be [A]を押して). 2nd and 3rd line are easy to understand as conditionals. They are of the form: A & B, meaning if A then B. Since you got the meaning right I wouldn't bother parsing a reasonably ungrammatical sentence. Sometimes it's just the way it is.
    – 0149234
    Jul 12 at 0:51

1 Answer 1

  • Does this sound like natural speaking (Do we actually speak like that?) --- Probably not
  • Is this part unnatural or confusing? --- No

This is where we learn controls within a game, so the players are ready to accept the conversation as such. I can agree that it wouldn't be how the guy speaks in real life, but the idea never occurred to me. We sort of read them like instructions, unlike listening to conversations here.

(Speaking about controls and button bindings is already somewhat meta: he's speaking about something outside of the game world. Here it's more like we're reading instructions from Nintendo rather than Link listening to the guy. But the Nintendo went ahead and made it look like conversation, so that we could bathe in the world.)

I parse them like this:

  • Z注目しながら移動中にA (Keeping Z注目, {Press} A button while moving:)
    • 左右で横っ飛び ({moving} left or right: side-jumps )
    • 後ろでバック宙 ({moving} backwards: back jumps)
    • 前で無敵の回転アタック (forwards: ...)
  • だ.

The first line is the instruction and the latter 2 lines explains what happens depending of the direction the player is moving, and there's no confusion here. I do think there should have been an effort to cut up the length of the instructions for better readability.

To make it look like a sentence, I'd write something along the line of

  • Z注目しながら移動中に A [を押すと]/[で],左右で横っ飛び,後ろでバック宙,前で無敵の回転アタックになる.

If I were watching the novice player play and telling him how to move the character, I could say

  • Z注目しながら移動中に A! ... Player does so ... そうそう,それで左右に動いてたら横っ飛びで… player does so...

押すと is certainly omitted here, but it's the same as 「Wで前進」.It's probably much less significant than dropping pressing in English, because Japanese is less focused on verbs.

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