Over the years, there have been many fictional languages and scripts used in Nintendo games. These include the various versions of the Hylian language from the Legend of Zelda series, the Sheikah and Zonai text from Breath of the Wild and Tears of the Kingdom, as well as the Shroob language from Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time.
And for the most part, the fans have usually always managed to translate them easily enough. Hylian is now understood enough that at least one site has developed an entire course for it, the Sheikah text has been deciphered enough to create fonts and references pages, and various others at least have some sort of reference available online.
Yet despite this, one language always seemed to resist translation efforts. That being, the mysterious ‘Dolphic’ language displayed on signs and banners throughout Super Mario Sunshine’s Isle Delfino. Regardless of what fans tried, this language seemed to evade their efforts at translating it, with most attempts to understand these mysterious glyphs falling apart early on.
But now the mystery has been solved. Now, after 22 years, we finally have a translation for this mysterious language.
And it’s all thanks to a YouTuber known as 2CPhoenix. Here’s his video where he delves into how the language works, and how he managed to translate every sign, logo and banner in the game:
It’s a fascinating watch, and one which shows just how much work went into the worldbuilding for this game. For instance, the pirate ship ride in Pinna Park is labelled ‘Viking’, just as it is in the brochure. While the banner atop Noki Village actually says ‘Mare Village’, fitting in with the Japanese name for the Noki species.
It also explains why previous efforts have been so fruitless too. Since well, here’s the thing.
That mysterious sign text everyone struggled with for years?
It doesn’t actually say anything meaningful. It’s simply a bunch of random characters placed in seemingly illogical ways, rather than any sort of message about the game or area.
So yeah, if you’ve ever struggled to understand the sign texture and wondered why you could never make sense of it… there’s your answer. The developers never actually wrote anything meaningful there to begin with, and seemingly just used the space to test out their new font.
Either way, that’s the mysterious Dolphic language and how it was decoded after 22 years. Thanks to 2CPhoenix for the amazing work here, and thanks to social media for bringing this topic to our attention. We’re definitely gonna be checking out your future videos here at Gaming Reinvented, and we hope that others here do the same.