Learn of its glorious history, children! The date: April 26, 1999. A lonely unknown boy named Spinner 8 was pissed off at a bitchy little asshole prick named Amalgam. I mean, REALLY pissed off. In an effort to keep his mind occupied on something else, this boy announced to #dragonquest on EFNet that he would make his very own translation news site, to make the others quiver where they stand! And after almost a year of scouring the net for translation patches, writing up reviews for every individual translation effort, making reviews and screenshots for all complete translations, bugging romhackers and translators for reflections on their project experiences, and (mostly) sitting on his ass doing something else instead, The Whirlpool opened, on March 31, 2000. Little did anyone know that this little site would one day shape the very destiny of the universe!
-- From the site's "about" page.
The Whirlpool is a ROM hacking / translation based website which aims to be a repository of all translation patches which have been released, and to provide information about each game which has a translation effort either in progress or finished. In general, it does it's job very well, and is a very good source of information (asking on almost any emulation forum "Is there a translation of XXX?" will get you recommended to check out The Whirlpool.
Suffice to say, if you've read the extract above, you'll have noticed that Spinner 8, the co-owner and founder of the site, has a "interesting" sense of humour. Random phrases such as "The only site endorsed by Donut eating Rom Hackers" head up each page. However, this does provide a much needed burst of comedy into the ROMhacking scene, especially with such random things as pictures of the Lavos Spawn from Chrono Trigger wearing a pink bow, with a notice "I adopted my Lavos Spawn from Luna's Lavos Spawn adoption agency". However, if that kind of random humour puts you off, you'll be pleased to know the site offers a clear, readable design, and a heck of a lot of content.
Every game which is known to have a translation in progress is listed in the database, organised by system and then by game name. It's very easy to find whatever game you are looking for, and because the site has quite a few staff, all with their fingers on the pulse of the scene, you'd be hard pressed to find something which isn't updated. I certainly never have. For each game, all patches that have been released (even if they are just betas) are hosted, along with readmes so you can see at a glance who made the patch. All games with completed patches have reviews and screenshots... well, most. I hear that the site was completely complete at the start, but some more recently translated games suffer from an attack of the evil "review coming soon" banner. However, it's not all bad, because if the patches are there (sorted into complete, incomplete, and dead) then the site has served it's purpose.
The site is currently staffed by:
- Spinner 8: Founder, co-owner, and all round kerrrazy guy. Often to be found being referred to as SUUUPPPPPPPPPPIIINNNNNNNNAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!
- (wraith): Other co-owner. Apparently, the "resident God of The Whirlpool", so I guess we know not to mess with him then. Suspected of indulging in translated Phantasy Star and Ys games.
- Gideon Zhi: Yes, he of Aeon Genesis Translation. As well as making huge amounts of quality patches, taking on a new project every day, and being a nice guy, he also posts news and does other things on the site.
- TheFreak: from Some Good Shit Translations, which is unfortunately looking like it's dead, or at least in a heavy coma. However, he is on the staff page both there and here, hence I mention him here.
- Sliver X: A person who I must confess I don't know too much about, and the blatantly made up biography on the staff page doesn't help. No doubt he does some news posting / site updating type stuff.
They may be a motley crew, but they get the job done. The site is easily the most up to date place of it's kind that I've ever heard of. And it's not all translations.. reflections (docs written by people who made the translations once they are released) and much more is included. There are some pretty entertaining interviews with many famous hackers, such as Neill Corlett and satsu. Although if you want to talk to satsu, and you're reading this on E2, you're a lot closer to him than you think...
Also of note is the "hacks" section of the site. Unlike many other similar places, where any idiot messing around with code can get a hack included ("Five minutes on Nesticle and I give you... Nude Mario!!"), The Whirlpool decided to have strict quality control. Which means that for all the time The Whirlpool has been around, only 5 hacks have been found to be up to the grade. Still, if you're interested, at least you know they are good hacks..
If you want a patch, or to know whether a game has a translation in progress, then The Whirlpool is definitely the place to be. Check it out if you're at all interested in the scene.
Far too much time on emulation boards and rooms.