Hedgehogs are plentiful throughout Israel, and yet somehow no one bothered to translate Sonic the Hedgehog into Hebrew until now. 26 years after the release of the classic title, a group of ROM hackers have taken it upon themselves to correct this oversight.
Thanks to a hacker known as Baraksha, the debut of Sonic, Sega's spiky-haired, blue-coated mascot, is fully playable in the revived language. In the patch, all of the original English text has been replaced by Hebrew characters, even the iconic Sega logo from the splash screen.
This Hebrew-ified version of Sonic the Hedgehog is something of a first. Not many games get translated into Hebrew. Currently on the ROMhacking.net, some 28 different languages have been hacked into various games, including Arabic, Italian, and Tagalog. But this project is the only Hebrew translation in the database.
The fan translation scene is a niche community in gaming, originally composed of super-fans who were upset that English-speaking players got subpar translations of Japanese role-playing games, like Final Fantasy 3. Lately, a subset of international players have begun translating retro games into their native tongues as well.
Of course, players don't need to read anything to run through loops and collect rings. A lot of these retro translation projects are largely a vanity thing. Still, it's fascinating to think that you can defeat Dr. Robotnik in Hebrew.