Only Available in Japan
As gamers, we tend to have it pretty good in North America. For the most part, we seem to be catered to more often than not and most games tend to be made with a “how will we sell this in America?” attitude. On the Nintendo 64, though, Japan got quite a few games that we in North America did not. Today, I wanted to take a look some of the Japanese exclusives that we wish had made it to North America.
Densha de Go! 64
The Nintendo 64 had a train driving simulator in Japan. I know that doesn’t sound overly exciting to anyone who isn’t Jason Lamb but it is! Wanna know why? This game came with an awesome peripheral. It was a special controller that was meant to simulate controlling an actual train, including opening and closing the doors. In addition, there was a microphone that you could use to announce stuff to the passengers. “Attention valued passengers, this is your conductor speaking. If you’ll all look out the right side of the train, you will notice several angry motorists that we are making late to something. As always, we would like to thank you for choosing us for your train travelling needs. Enjoy the rest of your trip.” Anyone who played train conductor as a kid like me would have loved playing this with that controller. Plus, think of all of the fun arguments we could be having now about whether or not the controller was any good.
Bakuretsu Muteki Bangaioh
My goodness, I am glad I don’t actually have to pronounce any of these. Many of you might have played this game by now. It eventually was released on the Dreamcast in North America as Bangai-O. It actually came out 2 years before that on the N64 in Japan. It had a few differences, most notably a combo system that would grant you credit based on the combo size that you could use to upgrade your character or gain a special power-up. For those who haven’t played, it is a very fun shooter. I would say it is side scrolling but it scrolls in numerous directions so I guess I’d call it a bunch of directions scrolling shooter. It did also see an HD remake on Xbox Live Arcade. It is fun, challenging, and unique. Definitely worth a try.
You might see that title and say, “Now hold your horses, Tom. There was a game called Custom Robo on the Gamecube, you cotton headed ninny-muggins!” You are right, there was. Remember how it was kind of ok? Well, that is actually the 4th game in the series. The 1st one was on the N64 in Japan only. It was actually pretty good. It featured you fighting robots with robots so you could build bigger and better robots. You could save your robots and bring them to friend’s houses to fight against their bigger and better robots. Come to think of it, isn’t that the plot of all of Michael Bay’s movies?
SimCity 2000? On the N64? Say WHHHHAAAATTTTT? Yeah. The game you probably remember from the SNES unless you’re one of those PC Gaming types, also found itself ported to the N64 in Japan only. Why on earth would I want to buy the game a second time if was released here? For starters, it had minigames added in. Some of them were actually really neat and they were all in 3D. The best part though was that your city could now be attacked by a giant monster but you could fight that giant monster with one of your own. Imagine having Godzilla on staff, ready to defend your city at a moment’s notice. That is the Sim City I want to live in.
Tsumi to Batsu: Hoshi no Keishōsha
Better known now as Sin and Punishment: Successor of the Earth on the Virtual Console, this game first saw life on the N64. It was a rail shooter almost too good for its generation. The basic premise was that there was a food shortage, so a new species was genetically created with the sole purpose of being harvested for food. Believe it or not, that doesn’t end well and now you have to fight them. Who could have predicted that? There was also a very cool multiplayer mode where both players controlled the same character. One player controlled the movement of the character and one controlled the aim and shooting.
It’s cool to see that some of these did eventually make it over here but it would have been a lot cooler if we had gotten them during the N64’s run. There are others, too that time doesn’t allow me to go into. Did you know that the Gamecube game Animal Crossing was originally an N64 title in Japan? Did you know that Japan had a version of Tetris that included a bio-sensor peripheral? That isn’t even counting the failed 64DD that only Japan got to play with. Join me back here in 2 weeks when I switch back to the 2 Decades Late series to continue making up for lost time.