Soapbox: Help me, I can’t stop buying Japanese games that I don’t understand and will never play

Morita Shogi 64
Image: Nintendo Life / Gavin Lane

Soapbox features allow our writers and individual contributors to voice their opinions on hot topics and random things they have in mind. Today, Gavin ponders why he spends so much time and money importing Nintendo from the East that he’s not even sure he’ll play…

It all starts with Morita Shogi 64.

If you’re not familiar, it’s a shogi (Japanese chess if you like) game for the Nintendo 64 developed by SETA. Naturally, it was never released in the West, what it was was a sequel to a game that debuted only for Japan and introduced a Japanese variant of chess. It’s not a great game of shogi, just an admission that if you’re going to release a chess-like game on the purported market, you’d better make it old chess.

The Morita Shogi 64 has a unique N64 cartridge style (or ‘Cassette’ as they’re known in Japan – I’ve always liked that). A protrusion at its rear allows a small Internet cable slot at the top. Yes, if you connect your game to a phone line, you can play shogi Online on your Nintendo 64 in the late 90s.

As you can see, it’s pretty neat. And being ‘pretty neat’ is all it takes to get someone like me to join eBay and start hitting ‘View’ on a lot of things – that’s where the trouble begins.

Many of you will no doubt have experience, all it takes is a single tap of the ‘Add to Watchlist’ button and nine times out of ten you’ll soon get an offer at a discounted rate. modest discount – usually 5-10%. It’s not much, but if the item is already priced right, it’s a surprisingly attractive tactic to get you something you don’t want. really don’t need but it’s, yeah, pretty neat. 10-20 days later (typically), the best type of package will arrive where you are – a parcel from Japan.

What a sin (Image: Nintendo Life / Gavin Lane)

If you’ve never purchased an item from a Japanese seller, it’s no exaggeration to say that the care and attention given to even the smallest parcels is, in general, a cut compared to established sellers. headquarters elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong, I have received properly protected, beautifully wrapped items from other countries – and I’m sure that doesn’t apply to all Japanese sellers – but I have yet to receive anything that is not in perfect condition, neatly and correctly packaged.

And that pretty Japanese customs mark makes the whole thing eerie luxury; prohibit, even. The jewels in this mysterious video game were never meant for lowly, sweaty people like me! That ‘Do Not Resell’ seal on every Nintendo Japan game I own is positive proof that this particular item should not be owned by me. What could be more appealing than that?

So I carefully cut open the parcel, expertly peeled off layers of labeled bubbles, and ended up holding my illegal prize aloft. Right! I now own the Morita Shogi 64.

And on my shelf, it went. I think I enabled it once just to check if it worked, but honestly I don’t remember. I’m probably willing to trust that it’s working properly. The terrible truth is that it really doesn’t matter.

Most of the game purchases I make will definitely be played. NTSC version of 64 . wave race is a real education in PAL slowdowns that just need to be sampled, and I fully intend to enjoy every last JP Game Boy game I get when I get an afternoon for myself. me. Sin and Punishment was an even more essential option – a Treasure rail shooter that was never released in the West. Well, except for the Virtual Console on the Wii. And the Wii U. And on Nintendo Switch Online a few months after I paid for the NTSC cart. Greet, that box art though, amirite?

My latest import came recently. Next from Great EarthBound Video by Zion and accompanying Articles about ‘Mother’s Day’ The NL team gathered at the beginning of May, I finally decided to pick up the N64 ‘Definitive Edition’ version of the fishing game by Mom creator Shigesato Itoi, Itoi Shigesato no Bass Tsuri #1. What can I say – I love the look of the yellow cover, and the idea of ​​Itoi-san teaching me how to fish.

Fishing (like in real life) is something that has started to appeal to me over the past few years. It occurred to me that the idea – for most fishermen – Not go out on the water and ‘hunt’ a hound while wearing a funny hat, which is sitting in the sun, breathing in the wonderful fresh air, enjoying the sound and movement of the lapping water , and tap your feet on the cool of the sparkling cold stone. Fishing, as I see it, is an excuse to get away from it all in the great outdoors; Bringing several dinners at once is an optional bonus.

However, the very small amount I know about fish and where fishing comes from Ocarina of Time and Mule. With this in mind, I thought maybe godly Itoi-san could introduce me to the basics before I go through the hassle and significant expense of shopping for paddles and fishing rods and all that, all in the hope of enjoying a quiet beer on the lake. Surely no one likes to put their fingers in squishy buckets?

Then the plan was to launch the game alongside the Google Translate camera app – which remains to me a magical part of Star Trek’s futuristic magic – and see if I have what it takes. to produce the best (digital) bass or not. But if I’m being honest with myself, will this really happen? Well, I’ll have to learn and set up my Japanese N64, and ideally I’d like to do it via CRT so the lag doesn’t get in the way of my fishing skills development. So I need to get one of those flashy PVM monitors, which can take a while.

As the guardian of two small people, I don’t have much free time anyway. In fact, it is more likely that Itoi Shigesato no Bass Tsuri No. 1. and its poppin yellow cover will only be enjoyed on the shelf. Which it will! But buying games with little or no intention of actually playing them? I’ve been there beforethough at least I can read the text in those games if I can enable them.

As if that wasn’t enough, I researched more fishing games and came across a certain peripheral made by ASCII especially for Itoi’s N64 angler. Of course, I took a look and before you know it the View button has been pressed and the offer is made…

ASCII fishing rod N64
Oh neu (Image: Nintendo Life / Gavin Lane)

It’s not too late for me to come back from the edge of this particular abyss. My Japanese Nintendo collection is still relatively small – really just a handful of exclusives! Mother 3, Rainbow Captainone of the Custom RobotsJP version of Metroid: M other with great boxy, a few Famicom Disc System games, a few others. It’s elegant! I still haven’t found the entire 64-bit mahjong catalog.

Calling on my Nintendo Life colleagues in the hope that they will tell me it will be as useful as you expect. The aforementioned Zion was also hallucinating like me about the ASCII Itoi fishing rod. And don’t even talk about Mr McFerran’s collection, which is often referred to envious Twitter feed. One look at the retro collection housed at Nintendo Life HQ is enough to make any red blooded retro gamer cry. Cry, then open the eBay app and curl up to sleep for a few short hours.

X is the newest thing I’ve been keeping an eye on – again, mainly because I like the look of the box. In fact, that’s not entirely correct. X is a very remarkable first-party Game Boy release from Argonaut that has done amazing things on a system that shouldn’t have been able to handle it. I picked up the DSi sequel recently on the soon-to-close DSi store, so there’s a gap that needs to be filled in my collection, right? “Only worth owning for its historical value,” a colleague assured me. Right. As a Nintendo fan, it’s definitely my duty to have this on the shelf. * Add to watch list *

Play it, you ask? Of course I can. But it looked horribly good when it first hit the shelves.

Feel free to share your more bizarre and/or inexplicable gameplay and offsite purchases from other territories with the comments below. No judgment – we’re all friends here.

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