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

9. GiFTPiA

This is strange game. GiFTPiA is a GameCube game created by developer Skip Ltd., better known as the creators of Chibi-Robo! in the West. It’s not a title that lends itself well to a release outside Japan, but it really deserves one. The game puts you in the shoes of Pockle, a boy living in on Nanashi Island who accidentally oversleeps his rite of passage to manhood. Consequently, Pockle is forced to do community service and is saddled with a massive debt in response, and so he becomes the errand boy of the island.

GiFTPiA is a lot like Animal Crossing but with more exploration and puzzle elements. You can earn money by fishing and doing chores, but the tasks are often more complicated than delivering furniture or sending letters. Nanashi Island is a diverse place filled with many unique characters, so there’s plenty of stuff to do. And sadly, because of the text heavy nature of the game, it’s very tough to play GiFTPiA without knowing Japanese, and thus has never come out in any other country.

But the strange thing is, a GiFTPiA localization was in the works. In fact, the game was even shown at E3 2003 in English, with a Western launch planned and everything. Then, it sort of dropped from the face of the planet. We wouldn’t hear from Skip Ltd. until 2006’s Chibi-Robo! But Skip’s first game looks like a ton of fun, and it’s sad that we can’t play it outside of an import copy.

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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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