In an age where pretty much every major console is region-free and most games are localized globally anyway, the allure of importing games is not what it used to be. However, there was a time when Japan would get games years before the rest of the world. At times, notable games would never make it across the shore. Heck, it took decades for the now-massive Fire Emblem franchise to get a chance at international stardom.
Though I remember the days of seeing import order sheets in the back of video game magazines, I didn’t really start importing games until the Nintendo DS era. The advent of online made it not only easier for me to learn about these great Japan-only games, but to buy them as well. Here are a few titles I bought from a faraway land!
Long before I ever watched an episode of the Japanese anime Bleach, I owned an import copy of Bleach DS. During the apex of my Nintendo DS love, I was importing almost many hot Japanese games that likely would never see the light of day here. Of that set were two notable fighting games: Jump Super Stars and Bleach DS . I imported both. While Jump Super Stars had more hype surrounding it, I had a really hard time getting into its Smash Bros-inspired gameplay. Bleach DS on the other hand was much more up my alley. Bleach DS was a hardcore 2D fighting game that played in line with many of the modern fighting games at the time. Bleach DS came out in North America as Bleach: The Blade of Fate almost two years after the original Japanese release.
As awesome as the original was, Bleach DS 2nd (or Bleach: Dark Souls in North America) was even better. In my opinion, it will forever stand as the gold standard for 2D fighting games on the Nintendo DS.