For every game that is released in the US, there are dozens that go unnoticed by the average gamer. Even though publishers like Atlus and Working Designs are moving around the clock to try and bring these games to US shores, the workload is still so much greater that what can be achieved. We resort to fan translations and other iffy material for our fix. This list is for those games that make us think twice about learning a second language.

Now this one's easy. Take Super Smash Brothers, take out all the Nintendo references, put in the most popular manga characters from Shounen Jump magazine, and sit back and reap the profits. At least, that's how it works in Japan. Due to copyright problems (Every character belonging to a different American publisher) this action-packed little game will probably never see the light of US shores, even though it ranks as among one of the DS's best games and is catching overwhelming support from US fans. If you have a DS, what's stopping you? Region-free, baby.

Though it was behind the times when it was released and even moreso today, Magna Carta sprouts some of the most original and invigorating art direction, music, and story for and RPG in a long time. The gameplay may be clunky (alright, it's downright horrid) , but the rest of the game outshines the faults. Thankfully, Atlus did pick up it's spiritual sequel, Tears of Blood/Crimson Stigmata, for a US release (And a mediocre job at that, might I add), but the original is too dated to even be considered.

Part mecha battles. Part graphic adventure. Part dating sim. All and all, a very fun and well-respected series, over in Japan. Quirky game design and anime-styled characters may turn off many publishers, but the Sakura Taisen series is one of the best things to hit the genre of anime-styled mecha dating sims in a long time. The anime has already been brought over here. Take a shot with the game.

Namco? Fighting with... Capcom?! This fanboy's dream come true may be filled with a bit too many obscure characters for the US market, but the pretty sprites, sheer multitude of cameos, and bouncy batle system caught a lot of attention by American fans when first revealed. In Japan, both companies have a multitude of fanboys following. Here in America, however, I sense more people lie loyal to Bungie and EA. That's a shame, because I can't see any other reason why this shouldn't have been translated in the first place.

Oh come on. This is evil. Atlus releases Persona 2: Eternal Punishment over here, yet upsets us all when the other half of this game is never released. Shame on you. This parallel of a game is not import-friendly, with a story tackling demons, sin, and just about every other satanic plot element that the other Shin Negami Tensei games reference. Even though Eternal Punishment could largely stand on it's own, it's still like we're missing half the game. Still, that's not a big a upset as...

...This travesty. Give the player a the most incredible entry yet into the legendary Shining Force series, yet cause a huge uproar when the fans find out that they only paid for 1/3 of the story. And state that the other two parts won't be coming to US shores. Ever. When this happened, American Saturn owners nearly caused blood to run in the streets. The past may be long gone concerning this issue, but really. Bring it over here for a budget price. We want the game we already started.

With the Suikoden series rapidly gaining stream and popularity in America, translating these two side-story games may prove nice for a quick budget game profit. Starring one of the cooler characters in the Suikoden universe, Nash Lakjte, these little adventures are great in accompliance with the first two Suikoden games; both of which are being more known by the day. There is no reason why Konami shouldn't release a budget version of both titles over here, just to please the fans.

Tokimeki. A series that is regarded in Japan with the likes of Final Fantasy and Biohazard. It still surprises me that not a single one of these famous dating sims has not been released in America (No, Tokimeki Check-In! doesn't count). I realize that the American market may not have much demand for the king of all dating sims (Alright, virtually no demand), but that still doesn't mean we have to settle for lesser knock-offs like 'Sprung' to get our nerdy fix. Just one game. Please. See how it goes.

With amazing character designs by Hyung-Tae-Kim that is known to anyone who has ever looked at a game or anime wallpaper site, it's perplexing that so many people don't realize that War of Genesis III is actually a Korean Strategy RPG that barely anyone outside the country has played. With a complex story to rival Xenogears and customization options to put it in a league with FFT, playing War of Genesis III and knowing that no one will ever try to translate this is one of the most frustrating experiences I've ever beheld. Shame on everyone for neglecting South Korea. I'll just have to stare at the pretty artwork.

Whereas Sakura Taisen is a lighthearted mecha graphic adventure, Baldr Force EXE focuses on more gritty and philosophical aspects in terms of story. Fourth game in the Baldr series, and regarded as the best. Especially with a Japanese PS2 and DC port, Baldr Force EXE has several unfortunate things going for it that assure it won't ever come to the US. Even though it has a fast-paced and fluid battle system that's never a chore, the rest of the game is largely a text-driven graphic adventure. Plus, the h-scenes don’t help much, even if they were only included in the original PC version. Even with that, the story is extremely deep, complicated, thought-provoking, and even heart-wrenching at times. An import player misses the complete point of Baldr Force EXE when one cannot understand the story. For the love of god, someone bring this mecha-slash-RPG-slash-graphic adventure over here. Now.

Everyone knows that the Japanese make the majority of the best games. Thankfully, the US market has been making some real jewels as well. Perhaps one day we'll live in a world where region-lockouts are a thing of the past and all games come with translations for all. That or we all merge into one race where no one is different from anyone else. But until then, I'll continue to feel like a nerd for studying Japanese to play video games.


List by Lee1 (11/27/2005)

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