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

4. Homeland

These types of games never seem to get localized, do they? Homeland was a GameCube game released in 2005, and is unique in the fact that it actually used the Broadband Adapter for online play. It was developed by Chunsoft, a developer with a massive gaming pedigree. These guys made the first five Dragon Quest games, the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games, and the Zero Escape series. Homeland is an adorable RPG that puts you in control of a custom character, and depending on various factors, you can experience about a dozen unique storylines, each one with multiple endings.

A key feature of the game is the mascot system, where players take the form of various mascots they have unlocked. Each mascot has its own unique stats, and more are gathered as the various stories are played. The gameplay is standard RPG stuff: exploring, fighting, and getting treasure. However, the crux of Homeland lies in its online features. You can link up with other players with the GameCube and join forces to complete quests. Some storylines even require multiple heroes to be cleared. You can also chat, share, and hang out if you want. Another feature is the ability to become the game-master, which makes you a veritable Homeland deity who can oversee other players’ quests and even set the game parameters.

Homeland was never released outside of Japan for some obvious reasons. The GameCube Broadband Adapter was woefully underused, so establishing a player base outside of Japan would have been very difficult. But this game really has a special place in the history of the GameCube. It’s one of just two of the MMORPGs ever released for the system, the other being Phantasy Star Online. Homeland even used the GameCube console itself as the online server, so it’s probably going to remain playable online as long as there are players.

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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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