Late to Localization – Vidjagame Apocalypse 481

Live A Live’s launch this week is a reminder that even if a Japanese game doesn’t come to the US for decades, that doesn’t mean it never will. With localization expert Greg Moore in the guest-host chair, we chat about five games that took ages to get English releases, after which we sharpen our claws on Stray and MultiVersus, speculate about John Romero’s new shooter, and get into the weeds with your childhood anecdotes that kids today just wouldn’t understand.

Question of the Week: Have you ever imported a game? Which one was it, why did you import, and what was your experience doing so?


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9 thoughts on “Late to Localization – Vidjagame Apocalypse 481

  1. I very recently started importing games. The Switch has no region locking and a lot of games have English language options. I’ve been getting stuff that just won’t come out in the US because the licensing wouldn’t be worth it. My first game was Kamen Rider: Memory of Heroez. That was quickly followed by four different Super Robot Wars games and a handful of others. The internet has made doing this VERY easy.

  2. In regards to why Mother was called Mother, I assume it’s referencing the game’s plot.

    The main villain in Mother is Giygus, just like in Earthbound, but instead of being a weird red cloud, he’s more like a Mewtwo in this. He’s is basically a alien biological weapon that raised by a human women. But just like in Earthbound, he’s basically immune to normal attacks.

    So the main quest of the game has you collecting these pieces of music called the 8 Melodies. And together, the melodies make up the tune of the lullaby that Giygas’s mother used to sing to him. As a result, singing the melodies at him during the final boss battle basically causes him to have a mental breakdown.

  3. QOTW: I haven’t imported anything directly, but I ordered the imported version of the Dead Rising soundtrack off of Amazon around 2008. Turns out “Mall Music 3” works waaaaay better as background ambiance juxtaposing the mundanity of mall to the horror of a zombie apocalypse than as just listening music.

  4. QotW: have imported very few games but the first one I picked up was the Gamecube version of One Piece Grand Battle 3, the Power Stone esque fighter of the franchise. I got into playing import anime fighters with friends in my anime club so instead of getting the Naruto ones like everyone else had, got a One Piece one as I prefered the franchise by that point…Sadly around that time the club died so we didn’t get a chance to do many multiplayer sessions but had a fun time playing it by myself for the most part.

  5. QOTW: Years ago, I imported a copy of Front Mission 5 when the translation yeah announced that they were almost done with a patch. I would need to install a mod chip on my PS2 to play it, but I had installed one on my Saturn, so I figured “how different could it be?” When I got the chip and cracked open my system, I discovered that my PS2 slim was too new, and the included instructions wouldn’t work. I had to ask my girlfriend’s dad (who was an electrical engineer) to help me figure out how to install it, but we got it working! I was able to play Front Mission 5, in English, for one glorious afternoon. That was the last time my PS2 would ever turn on.
    It’s now been over a decade, and I’m only now crossing it off of my gaming bucket list, thanks to advances in PS2 emulators on Android.

    Also, on the subject of fan translations: everyone should play 7th Dragon 2020. It’s a fantastic, spiritual successor to Phantasy Star that takes place in the near-future year of 2020, and accurately predicts the then-future American President’s response to a dragon attack.

  6. QotW: I’ve recorded my response and included a Soundcloud link in case you want to use it, otherwise I’ve written it out instead.

    I’ve never imported a game, but back when I discovered emulation- in late 1999- Pokemon Gold was out in Japan, but not yet in America. I managed to find a Japanese ROM of the game that was partially translated- most of the text was in English, but some of it- particularly names- would either be a jumble of glitchy characters, or some attempted translation that was nothing close to the eventual English name. One of the early pokemon was a squirrel that would later be named Sentret, with its evolution named Furret. But the mistranslated version’s name of the evolved form was “OOTAC”, which I thought was so funny and I loved the name so much, that for the past twenty-three years, whenever I find a Sentret or Furret in a Pokemon game I name it Ootac in memory.

  7. I just ordered the import of def jam fight for ny because it is cheaper to buy the uk version and a uk xbox than the American copy. Absurd, to realize, but I needed to get my fix of ghostface killah beating the shizzle out of snoop dogg.

  8. QOTW: I’ve only ever imported one game, chocobo mystery dungeon for the switch and in this day and age, the whole thing was super painless. just go onto play asia, and hit order like any other online site. The only “pain point” for that game was there was a JP code for ingame bonus items, so i had to make a separate japanese switch acct and now my “news tab” is about half japanese so i get the same news pieces twice

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