Top Ten: Games That Never Left Japan

They’re big in Japan! Here’s some of the best games that still haven’t gotten Western releases.

By Kyle England. Posted 03/05/2013 10:00 8 Comments     ShareThis

2. Mother 3

You knew this one was coming. Mother 3 is a sore spot for many gamers, who remain baffled why Nintendo still has no plans to release this phenomenal game outside Japan. To sum it up, the game is the third entry in the acclaimed Mother series, the second of which did release in North America as EarthBound. Mother 3 started development as a Super Famicom title and then a Nintendo 64 title, but it was continuously delayed before being released for Game Boy Advance in 2006. It’s seriously one of the most critically acclaimed video games of the past decade, and there are no plans for an international release.

What makes this one so painful is that Mother 3 is just out of reach. Nintendo of America decided to release just Earthbound on SNES, and then completely snubbed the series forever more. But we were still fed droplets of information that reminded us of the Mother games. Nintendo teased us by having Lucas appear in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, along with other various locales from the Nowhere Islands. Earthbound was never re-released, and we got news of a GBA compilation from Japan while we quietly wept. The fact that we had gotten a taste of Mother before only made it worst. We kept hoping for a localization, a re-release, something… and this anticipation disappointed us at every turn. As Bane said in the The Dark Knight Rises: “there can be no true despair without hope.”

But the Mother community is ever vigilant, and a great fan translation of Mother 3 is readily available to play via emulation. If the game is ever officially localized, Nintendo has a guaranteed success on its hands. It’s too bad that the entire series has become mired in licensing issues and other strange roadblocks that seem to prevent its overseas voyages. Poor Europe never even got Earthbound in the first place.

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8 Responses to “Top Ten: Games That Never Left Japan”

  • 192 points
    Robin Wilde says...

    While the Satellaview would have been cool, I think placing it above Mother 3 might be giving it more praise than it perhaps deserves.

    GiFTPIA and Homeland have both intrigued me for years. There are fan translations available for at least GiFTPIA but they’re online only and you have to keep scrolling as you play. They’re perhaps overdue for an attempt at localisation.

    Mother 3 is my second favourite game ever. So that’s that.

  • 192 points
    Robin Wilde says...

    I just checked and it seems a translation for Captain Rainbow is available by rather grey-area means.

  • 15 points
    Crit Hit says...

    A VC release of Fire Emblem: Geneology of the Holy War would be most epic and appreciated. If they were to bring over the FE games, I’d rather they have fans translate the names. I was playing Awakening’s first Outrealm map and I still refer to “Deirdre” as “Diadora”. And it’s Celice, not Seliph.

    But I’m splitting hairs. The FE and Mother series need international release.

  • 784 points
    Marc Deschamps says...

    I’m not surprised about the lack of translation in regards to the earlier entries in the Wars and Fire Emblem series’. The amount of localization probably means that the older titles just aren’t worth the effort. The lack of a port for the 2010 Fire Emblem game is confounding, though. Wonder what happened there?

    As a teen, I was so mad at Nintendo for not bringing over the Game Boy sequel to Pokémon TCG. That’s another one I never understood. Seemed like printing money, to me.

  • 222 points
    PanurgeJr says...

    Couldn’t find a place for Tingle’s Freshly Cut Rupee Land? Poor guy never gets any love.

  • 1244 points
    lukas85 says...

    that stellaview thing sounds pretty amazing, also captain rainbow

  • 276 points
    Nicolas Vestre says...

    I like the honorable mention to the Legend of Starfy series! Some years ago I imported Starfy 2 and 3 (the original wasn’t available on Play-Asia) and have since completed them. I also have Starfy 4, but I haven’t even turned it on…

    The only complaint I have about importing Starfy games is the massive amount of text. Every level is overflowing with lengthy discussions; and even though it’s entirely possible to find your way through the games without knowing Japanese (even I did it :P), the sense of loss is still there.

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