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Top 10 Japanese Games Americans Don't Get to Play

VO: Riccardo Tucci WRITTEN BY: Dimitri Vadrahanis
The fact that we never got these games is a crime! Welcome to Watchmojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our top 10 video games never released outside of Japan. To have your ideas turned into a WatchMojo or MojoPlays video, head over to http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and get to it!
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Top 10 Video Games Never Released Outside of Japan

Guess translating is a little harder than Google lets on. Welcome to Watchmojo.com and today we’ll be counting down our top 10 video games never released outside of Japan.

The Japanese have been a little better at sharing the wealth when it comes to games in the past couple of years. With the rise of digital downloads and fall of region locking, many companies no longer have an excuse not to port their games over. Still, there are a few titles that have slipped through the cracks and for one reason or another haven’t found their way off the island. This list focuses on those titles that despite popular fan support or financial viability, just never made it overseas.

#10: “Shin Megami Tensei II” (1994)



The popular demon summoning and hunting series has become quite a popular franchise worldwide in recent years, with titles being brought to major consoles and handhelds. Still, the popular second installment in the series was never localized despite fairly favorable reviews and gameplay that still holds up more than twenty years later. The demon fusing is as good as ever, the environment is creepy, and the bosses are as tough as anything you’ll find in an RPG to date. While not integral to the rest of the series lore-wise, this entry is still a worthwhile play through if you don’t mind applying an unofficial English patch.

#9: “Clock Tower” (1995)



Arguably one of the original survival horror games, this Super Famicom title is also still incredibly scary. Revolving around running and hiding from the diminutive Scissorman, players have to search through the elaborate mansion for clues about it’s mysterious, reclusive owners. With a couple of different plot paths, different endings, and great graphics, the tension is palpable every time deformed little Bobby shares a room with you, and downright panic inducing when you’re forced to fight him off. Multiple iterations and sequels found their way to future consoles, but none were better than this spine-tingling original.

#8: “Ace Attorney Investigations 2” (2011)



When Miles Edgeworth took center stage in the beloved, over the top courtroom drama series, he brought with him a move to more point-and-click style of gameplay and all new ways to examine and prosecute the offenders of the law and bring them to justice. While this fresh spin on the game garnered great reviews and press, the sequel stayed far away from American hands due to a forecasted lack of sales. While there isn’t much hope in seeing Miles given the respect he deserves anytime soon, the devs did in fact say it might be a good candidate for localization in a digital release. 6 years ago. Seriously Capcom?

#7: "Captain Rainbow" (2008)


Now here is a Nintendo game with a really interesting premise that we think a lot of Western gamers would have appreciated. In "Captain Rainbow" you play as Nick, the mild-mannered counterpart to the once popular superhero/television star Captain Rainbow. As Nick your goal is to fulfill your dream of brining Captain Rainbow back into the spotlight by collecting wish tokens aka "Kirarin" crystals. The interesting part is that Nick has a choice, can either use the crystals to grant his own wish, or use it to grant the wish of one of the locals, lesser known Nintendo characters crossed over into this game. The game reviewed well but poor sales meant the game never left Japan.

#6: “Monster Hunter Frontier G” (2013)



With a franchise as popular as Monster Hunter, it’s hard to imagine that anything would keep a new installment away from the rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth fanbase. Add in the fact that it’s an MMO, and you have a recipe for gamers choosing never to leave their houses ever again. So why don’t we have this entry yet? We’re not entirely sure. At its peak, millions of players all hunting monsters together across different platforms got to experience a rich, immersive environments populated not only with very deadly creatures, but could do so decked out in their favorite crossover outfits. We’re not sure why, but that only makes us want it more.

#5: “Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse” (2008)



The niche ghost hunting franchise has been popular enough to keep getting semi-regular installments, but apparently not enough to bring over this fourth entry in the series exclusive to Japanese Wii’s. While there is a fan translation available to let gamers everywhere put the heart attacks they’re inevitably about to suffer in context, it’s still a little unfortunate that we were robbed of one of the higher quality titles of the series. Adding on to the familiar formula with more characters, locations, and of course, scares, this is one entry that you should definitely give a shot, Japan only or not.

#4: “Phantasy Star Online 2” (2012)



Let’s face it, we’ve gotten some bad Japanese games over the years, and every “miss” we play through simply reminds us that Sega’s space MMO is definitely one title we’d rather be playing. With good character customization offering up four different races and five different classes to mix and match at their leisure, the gameplay stays fresh, varied, and uniquely addicting. While this one was promised to be localized and brought overseas, this entry is just another victim of the ‘delayed indefinitely’ status. Gamers everywhere were once optimistic, but there’s probably no chance we’ll see this one ever.

#3: “Valkyria Chronicles III” (2011)



As the second game in the franchise to grace the PSP, this third installment follows the Gallian criminal military unit called ‘The Nameless’ through their involvement in the fictional Second European War. Seamlessly combining Fire Emblem style tactical overview maps with third person movement and combat, the title looks good, plays great, and managed to garner enough popularity to encourage spinning off into animated series, mangas, and cameo appearances in other games. It appears everywhere, it seems, except in an English version. Of course.

#2: “Seiken Densetsu 3” (1995)



There’s no shortage of fantasy RPG’s on the market, and that was even more true back in Nintendo’s heyday of the Super NES. Still, even among the Final Fantasy’s and Chrono Trigger’s, Secret of Mana captured gamers’ imaginations and managed to carve out its own little base of dedicated fans. Despite the follow up being an extremely good entry with different playable characters, a decent story and strategic combat, overseas fans never got experience it. It’s not too hard to dig around and find a copy now, but that’s little consolation to those still patiently waiting to play a legitimate copy since the 90s.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

“Captain Rainbow” (2008)

“Shining Force III” (1998)

“Jump Ultimate Stars” (2005)

#1: “Mother 3” (2006)



With the cult classic Earthbound finding great success among nostalgia junkies in recent times, it’s no surprise fans are looking for every fix they can get, and why wouldn’t they? The series features great characters, fun pop culture references, memorable enemies, and a surprisingly dark, mature story tying it all together. While Ness has had his time in the spotlight, Lucas is still awaiting his true overseas debut despite critical and commercial success. It may not radically alter the formula, but that’s not what anyone is asking for. We’re running out of ways to tell Nintendo just how badly we want this game, so we’ll try one more time. Nintendo, we want Mother 3.
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