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

6. Marvelous: Mōhitotsu no Takarajima

Marvelous (or another “Another Treasure Island” to you and me) is an overlooked Japanese game that was released very late in the life of the Super Famicom (October 1996, months after the N64 launch). However, it’s particularly notable as it was the first game to be directed by Eiji Aonuma, a role that would eventually lead him to become the visionary of The Legend of Zelda series. Funny thing is, Marvelous is actually heavily based on A Link to the Past.

It’s another game that takes place on a magical island, and this one has treasure to be found. You take control of three youngsters, where you explore the island, make friends, and fight pirates. As an action-adventure game, it both looks and plays like A Link to the Past— but Marvelous relies more on contextual interactions to solve puzzles and talk with people. It’s a charming title that fits right along with the canon of great RPGs released on the Super Nintendo.

Sadly, Westerners have never been able to marvel at Marvelous. It faded away into obscurity, not getting so much as a nod in any future Nintendo games. There was a localization planned at some point, though; Nintendo Power even ran a preview of Marvelous that was several pages long! But it was not meant to be. The Nintendo 64 overshadowed the late Super Famicom titles, and we haven’t heard from the island adventurers since.

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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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