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[Featurama] Import or Bust: Why is Japan Hoarding all the Good Stuff?


[Featurama] Import or Bust: Why is Japan Hoarding all the Good Stuff?


On eBay everyday…

I have taken a dive into the deep end and purchased a Super Famicom. Not because I felt like spending a gratuitous amount of money on myself or to re-cement the Japanese I’ve learned over the years, but because there are just games out there I would have absolutely missed out on had I not imported them myself. Not to mention that for a collector, you can find a complete original game –box and all– for a lot cheaper than a complete localized game. I understand not everyone has the time to learn a new language so he or she could play a game they may be potentially interested in, so here are some games that I strongly believe need a localization through either a special retail release or just good old digital purchase. From games I would personally like to see to games I know we all would love to get our dirty American hands on, (in no specific order) here we go!

Shin Megami Tensei:


A game that I wish I could call my own in every aspect. From the overly dark and sometimes disturbing tones affiliated with demons, God, the Devil, and everything in between to the abrupt, awkward, and sometimes just silly, Shin Megami Tensei for the Super Famicom has received everything but an official localization. There have been fully translated ROMs, petitions, and even an iOS version (albeit still in Japanese). I wish Atlus would do what they know fans want, and at least just give us a localized game on the Nintendo eShop. With Shin Megami Tensei IV almost guaranteed to come to American 3DS owners, this may just be a lost treasure, though the word “tensei” does mean “reincarnation”… but that’s probably just wishful thinking on my behalf.

Mother 1+3:


I don’t play when it comes to the Mother series. In fact, I can’t play when it comes to the Mother series. What has been called one of the best RPGs of all time, over here we have surely not seen that firsthand. Sure, we got the awe-inspiring Earthbound, but that was only a piece of the best pie ever tasted by RPG fans. Japan then teased us with a Mother 3 Game Boy Micro bundle, but we never got to see Ness’s origin or Lucas’s story. We never experienced the saga that is — in my mind — a game that could never be praised high enough. Its surprisingly dark tone, themes of growing up and having to be grown up in an ever-changing, scary reality hits me on a personal level.  Of course, I never had to deal with Giygas or Porky, but I would seriously contemplate it if it meant we would finally see localized versions of the game that I can truly call my favorite series of all time.

Monster Hunter 4:


This is another game that couldn’t have a bigger cult impact. The Monster Hunter series has always seen its share of success overseas, but it has only been semi-popular over here. Capcom seeks to change this with the franchise’s next main title in the Monster Hunter franchise. Titled Monster Hunter 4, the behemoth hack n slash title was teased to us shortly after the launch of the 3DS, but due to the obstacles localization faces –not to mention the absence of strong fan support in the states– it has been pushed back further and further. Now with Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate making its American debut this year, will we see 4 as well? Looks like we all have to play a bit of the waiting game.

Seiken Densetsu 3:


With every iteration of the tremendously sought after Mana series, (with the exception of a mobile title) fans in the U.S. have been able to enjoy every game in the Super Famicom juggernaut Seiken Densetsu… all except for one; part 3. There’s been speculation for years as to why it was never officially released; from the outstanding cost to localize it, to Squaresoft releasing another game to America in its place. While it’s unlikely that we will be getting it in the future, we do have fan translated ROMs and that will have to do. It’s a shame that unless you take the time to learn the language, knowing the full story in its original format will be a challenge.

Disaster: Day of Crisis:

This wouldn’t exactly be a list if there wasn’t a silly, batshit-insane game that really epitomizes what Japanese entertainment is all about. This one is a game so outlandish and ahead of its time that it was rushed and inevitably shunned for its lack of polish and overall quality. The plot is simple: You must survive Mother Nature’s brutal disasters as you save helpless victims and fight terrorists throughout the city. It sounds a little like last year’s I Am Alive, with that one released to America and to not so quite welcoming reviews. If we had seen Disaster domestically, I am fairly positive it would have been a game that was, although not a commercial success, a cult hit and that’s not always a bad thing.

I haven’t even scratched the surface of the sheer amount of games that never made it overseas. What would you like to see, whether it be a timeless classic that sells for hundreds online or a game that is about to be released in Japan that you doubt American publishers will pick up?



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