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

10. Famicom Wars and Fire Emblem series

Intelligent Systems is one Nintendo’s greatest in-house development teams, with great games gushing out of every orifice. However, a ton of games made by the studio have yet to emigrate from Japan. The two main series that gave Intelligent Systems its reputation, Famicom Wars and Fire Emblem, have barely left the country at all.

Yes, it’s true that we now have several Fire Emblem and Advance Wars games in Western territories. However, the majority of titles in both series have never been localized. I counted them up, and between both series, a whopping 14 titles are still Japanese exclusives. These are games that built the foundation for console turn-based strategy, released across the Famicon, Super Famicom, and Game Boy systems. They basically started the genre, so why haven’t we seen more of them?

Heck, did you know that a Fire Emblem game came out in 2010 for Nintendo DS, long after the series had gained a foothold outside Japan? Yeah, we never saw that one either, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you why. Intelligent Systems is sitting on a goldmine of legacy titles with Fire Emblem and Wars. Why haven’t we seen some Virtual Console releases? Or better yet, we should get a couple anniversary collections. It would be about time, because 2013 is the 25th anniversary of the release of original Famicom Wars, and 2015 will be Fire Emblem’s 25 year milestone. Show us some strategy love, Nintendo!

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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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