Made in Japan: Video Games I Imported From the Land of the Rising Sun

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!

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A Look Back at Trauma Center: Under The Knife

Have you ever played the board game Operation? Growing up, I used to always wonder when someone would take the idea of making surgery a game and make that into a video game.Thanks to the advent of the Nintendo DS and touch screen gaming, the idea of surgery-based gameplay came to life in 2005 thanks to Trauma Center: Under the Knife.

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Looking Back at Cooking Mama

The original Cooking Mama is an important game. Yes, I’m going there and no, I’m not joking. Though I normally don’t cover casual games, I wanted to take the time out to look back at a game that saved a company from going out of business, a game that spawned a multi-million selling franchise (not including spin-offs) and was a trailblazer in the casual games movement. It also taught me just enough about real-life cooking that when my girlfriend and I cook together (which doesn’t happen often), I can relate my understanding of some of the tasks she assigns me to do back to my time with Cooking Mama. She shakes her head every single time, but I digress, as that isn’t the story I want to tell today.

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A Look Back At Bleach: Dark Souls, The Best Nintendo DS 2D Fighting Game


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.

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In Third Person’s Top 5 Favourite DS Games

With the Nintendo 3DS set to hit North America in a matter of days, it’s time to close the books on the Nintendo system that could. Who knew that the ugly and under-powered Nintendo DS would end up becoming one of the best-selling systems of all-time? Who knew the device would actually usher in a new era of casual gaming?

Though I’ll confess to not having played my DS in a very long time, I bought a ton of games for it during its hey day and had a lot of great memories with it. Before moving into the next era of handheld gaming, I thought I’d close things out by listing off my top 5 favourite Nintendo DS games.

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Random Christmas Memory

Merry Christmas to you and yours. As a video game blog, I hope you found every game you wanted under the tree this year and that you provided your friends and loved ones with the gift of game as well. Between my brother and I, we received a bunch of games that I can’t wait to dig into. Hopefully with my week off at work I can actually make a dent in them!

Having listened to the latest episode of the Joystiq podcast where they read and play clips of Joystiq readers share their favourite Christmas memories, I thought I would share one of mine with you.

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I’m Your Pusher

I’m not sure if it’s my love of hip-hop, my roots growing up in the hood, or my adoration of the movie Scarface, but I’ve gotten really caught up in the drug-dealing aspects of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.

Yes, the game as a whole is great. Yes, it plays pretty much as you would expect a Grand Theft Auto game to play. And maybe this whole drug-dealing thing is just side stuff to do while you work your way up the ranks of the Triad.

But right now, I’m all about pushing that weight.

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