Naming System Weirdness

Site reader Andrew sent me in some information regarding Secret of Mana's character naming system and the explanation for why Elman says, "gogogogogogogogogogogo" when the Girl's name has not yet been input by the user:

On your Secret of Mana page, you mentioned something I had never found before in the game. Specifically, that scene where, because the girl's name was not entered yet, her father says "go" 11 times. Yes, there is a reason I specifically point out the number of times "go" appears.

(Click for Full-Sized Image)

While playing the game today, I decided I simply couldn't take anymore the fact that my characters' names had to be in all upper-case, so I went into my hex editor and made the changes (thanks to the table file here: I also took note of something interesting: FF = "go." I had a feeling that was the case, seeing how, in the Japanese version, it's all spaces instead of "go."

Later on, I got the girl, and now we get to the explanation of why "go" is presented 11 times. Technically, a character's name CAN be 11 characters long! (FO's Note: Actually, Andrew discovered the maximum characters is 12.)

It shows up perfectly in the status menu and the messages... well, there is a minor problem with the messages.

Because the text is aligned with only 6-letter names in mind, if you make the name longer than 6 letters, you'll get annoying problems with the text getting out of alignment, skipping paragraphs before you're ready and such.

The way it's set up is they've set up enough space for 12-lettered names. Every other game I've edited have only just enough space for the max amount of letters (which makes sense, why waste valuable space?).

But I find it very interesting that, not only is there enough space for 12-lettered names, but it's set up so that it doesn't "spill over" into the other names. Some games I've edited, there's no "end blocker" so that, if there's no "space" between the names, it'll display both names as though they're one. I assumed that was the case here, but no: they actually coded in the "end blocker" at 12-lettered names. It leads me to wonder: did they initially plan to have 12-lettered names? Considering how 12-lettered names fit PERFECTLY into everything, it makes me wonder...

FO's Note: I asked Andrew how many letters the Japanese version allowed for names, wondering if maybe the 12-letter thing was held over from the Japanese version. This was his response:

(Click for Full-Sized Images)

The Japanese version only allows 6 as well, even though the name window is slightly smaller.

That's another thing that bugs me: notice how many letters you have available in the Japanese version, yet the English version is cropped to only allow capital letters. If they were code-savvy enough to do cropping, why the heck didn't they crop it in a way to include lower-case letters? And they can't say "because we had to fit in the instructions below the name entry" because there's PLENTY of space for the lower-case letters. I guess all-capital-lettered names was the style at the time...

Anyway, the only explanation that makes sense to me why they deliberately coded it to allow 12 letters (because of how it's set up, it's clearly not accidental) is, they were originally going to allow 12 letters for the name (the CD version, perhaps?), then changed their minds, but never bothered to change the code completely.

I also included the Japanese version screenshot of "girl's father can't say her name" scene.

Elman's name is the same in the Japanese version (though, you probably know that from the screenshot), same with Dyluck, Jema, Luka... but Elliott and Timothy are called Bob and Ness. Feels like that's in reference to something I can't recall...



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