I’ve noticed that a post I wrote a couple years ago consistantly gets a lot of hits, so I decided it would be a good time to write a follow-up post to expand on the list.
I do not speak a lick of Japanese. None at all. Even though I’ve played hundreds of Japanese games, slogged through a couple RPGs, and have watched a fair amount of anime, I am still completely Kanji-tarded.
Do I let that stop me from enjoying import games? Hell no. there are tons of Japanese video games that required no Japanese at all, and even some that are in Engrish.
Some obvious examples are the Mario games, Contra (the Famicom version is far superior), Double Dragon, etc. Most of the classic action/platforming games are almost identical to what we saw over here.
What about games that we never did get a chance to play- the games that never made it outside of Japan? Believe it or not there are plenty of great games that you’ve been missing out on. Here are a couple of my favorites:
Summer Carnival ’92 Recca
Why is it worth importing? The most famous shooter of the 8-bit era, Recca, whose full name is Legend Consumer Series: Summer Carnival ’92 Recca, was developed by Kindle Development Group and programmed by Shinobu Yagawa. The game was created for publisher Naxat Soft’s Summer Carnival Competition Event in, you guessed it, 1992. Very few copies of the game were made, and it was never made commercially available. Recca is renowned for it’s ultra fast speed, high on screen sprite count, and almost complete lack of slow down and flicker.
Price? Copies of this game can run you in the neighborhood of $300 to $600 on Ebay, depending on whose bidding and the condition. I took the easier route and tracked down a pirated copy of the game (which still cost me around $60). Totally worth it. Everyone should play this masterpiece of mayhem.
Language Barrier? None. The menus are all in english.
Akumajō Special: Boku Dracula-kun
Why is it worth importing? It’s the Castlevania spin-off that you’ve probably never played. It’s done in the Japanese super deformed style and believe me: it is awesome. An incredibly fun platformer with just the perfect difficulty curve. Cool bonus stages, varied environments, refreshing level design; there really isn’t anything bad to say about this game. The final couple stages are hard as hell, but not anywhere near the sadistic grind of the other official 8-bit Castlevania entires.
Price? If you stay away from Ebay and stay glued to sites like Rising Stuff and Japan Game Stock you should be able to pick this cart up for $25-$40, but keep in mind that it is worth absolutely every penny.
Language Barrier? The instructions for the mini games are all in Japanese, but you can figure them out just simply playing them. The only small snag in the game is a trivia game at the end of one of the later levels where you have to answer three multiple choice questions correctly to proceed. You can guess wrong as many times as heart containers you have left. If you fail, you don’t lose an extra life, instead you have to start back at the mid point of the level. It took me a couple attempts to guess my way through it, but it’s really not that big of a deal.