Japan-only gems

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innocent futurama GIF


Hey, you're on holiday, you've gotta' spend :D. Anyway, I'm so broke I've gotta' spend vicariously through others these days anyway, so...you're welcome :p
If it makes you feel any better, I'm broke now too 🥲
 
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Yo, here's some of the games I picked up in Japan. I'll post pics, give game names and prices (in yen, so get converting!), and give a little write-up. If anyone wants more details, pics or close-ups, whatever, post here and I gotchu.

I tried to leave all of the stickers on the cases because they sometimes have little notes like "small tear on back page of manual" or "sun damage (light)" that I thought people might find interesting. We never see notes like that on collectors' items in the west.

20240415_175439.jpgSea of Stars Collector's Edition (6000)
Apollo Justice Collection (6000~)
Hebereke 2 (5000~)
Va-11 Ha-11a (3500)
Otogi Katsugeki Mameda no Bakeru: [etc.] (5000~)
Not pictured:
Breath of the Wild + DLC on Cart (70,000~)
I was looking for a standard physical copy of SoS, but this was the first copy I came across, and the price is right, so I got it. I like this covert art too.

Apollo Justice Collection I thought was only released in Asia, so I bought it. Turns out there's a US release, but this one will match my physical copy of the PW collection, which also had a Japanese title

I'd never heard of Hebereke before, but the title and artwork caught my eye. Apparently a US release is happening in a few months, so I'm hoping this copy has English options, cause if not: lol.

Va-11 Ha-11a copies in the west are limited and expensive, but the game had a standard release in Asia, and the cover art is nice so I got it.

Otogi was never released in the west, and likely never will be, so I made sure to get it while I was in Japan. The game doesn't have any English options, but reports online say it's still manageable, and the game is supposedly awesome fun.
20240415_173245.jpgRobot Ponkottsu Sun (800)
Robot Ponkottsu Star (800)
Pokemon Card 2 (~6000)
Frog For Whom the Bell Tolls (2400~)
Pokemon Green (5000~)
Robopon (Robot Ponkottsu) for the Gameboy is like the Wish.com version of Pokemon. Still, I loved Robopon Sun as a kid. However, Robopon Moon was never released in the west, so it was impossible to complete the Robodex, or whatever it was called. Drove me crazy as a kid. I made sure to pick these up. Also tried to find Robopon Moon, but that shit is rare.

The next three games were never released in the west. I'm sure if I played them in Japanese, I'd never be able to progress -- except for Green cause I know the OG games like the back of my hand. I'll probably play through them on an emulator, but they're fun to own.

My copy of Frog is a bit damaged. I found better copies for cheaper later on. Oh well, it probably still plays just fine.
20240415_174845.jpgMakaimura (7700)
Klonoa: Moonlight Museum (4500)
Wonderswan Crystal (26,700)
Makaimura and Klonoa I've both seen in multiple places. Prices were fair. I also tried to get Dicing Knight, Mega Man and Bass, and Mega Man EXE, but couldn't find them anywhere. I'll probably order them from eBay at some point and then consider my Wonderswan collection "complete".

The Wonderswan itself I overpaid for. Fuck. I couldn't find a Wonderswan Crystal in good condition anywhere. I finally found one at the famously overpriced Super Potato in Akihabara, and bought it. A few days later I found a sexy black Wonderswan Crystal IN THE BOX for just around 20,000. Nuts. Oh well, I don't know what to do with cardboard boxes, anyway. They kind of just float around taking up space.
20240415_181016.jpgSega Saturn (13,000~)
Famicom AV (20,000)
Famicom Disc System (10,000)
I picked these up at a 2nd-hand game shop in Osaka. I was misled to believe that Osaka had better prices than Tokyo. The disc system was the same price pretty much everywhere, but I found a Famicom AV for quite a bit cheaper, and I found a BEAUTIFUL dark grey Sega Saturn for a bit cheaper too, but I'll have to settle for this sun-stained version for now.

Looking forward to the disc system because those games straight up don't exist in the same capacity in the west. For example, Zelda 1 has very different, cleaner music than the OG most people know.

However, I won't be able to play these consoles until I next go home to Canada because the voltage in Saudi is too high and will fry these consoles. I don't want to fuck around with step down convertors either because apparently they can be unreliable.

Anyway, because I picked these systems up, I had to get some games for them, so...
20240415_180252.jpg(I can't for the life of me remember the prices for the unlabeled ones, so I'll give some ballpark ranges that may be off by like $20)
Legend of Zelda (10,000~ (complete version))
Mysterious Murasame Castle (7000~)
Castlevania (8000~)
Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (5200)
Otocky (3300)
Super Mario 2: Lost Levels (5000~)
Kid Icarus (4800)
Metroid (10800)
Doki Doki Panic (8200)
The ones where you can see the yellow disc poking through are missing their manuals. I couldn't find the complete versions of Otocky or Miracle Upa anywhere.

Picked up some of these games for the higher quality/different music compared to the original (Zelda 1, Castlevania, Kid Icarus). Picked up others because they straight up don't exist in the west. Metroid has a save system, unlike the western version.

Why do I have two copies of Legend of Zelda? Because I am stupid and forgot to cross it off my list when I first bought it. That's why.

Really wanted Armana no Kiseki (Indiana Jones) because it's apparently pretty good and was never released in the west, but couldn't find it anywhere.

I didn't buy any regular Famicom games. I saw Gimmick! for sale in a few places, but I have the remastered Switch version, so why bother? Couldn't think of anything else to pick up.
20240415_182135.jpg20240415_182326.jpgOutrun (7500~)
Dragon Force 2 (4300)
Bomberman Wars (4500 -- sealed)
Silhouette Mirage (8200)
Christmas Nights (1400)
Steamgear Mash (4000)
With the exception of Nights, none of these games were released in the west. I picked up Nights because it was cheap, but also because the western version (as far as I'm aware) never came in a box -- only a paper sleeve. So I'll eventually buy the western version, then box it in that.

I found a better copy of Outrun for cheaper later, but c'est la vie.

Bomberman Wars is sealed. I looked everywhere for it, and only found one shop with it. Didn't realize it was sealed until I brought it to the front. I want to play it, but it seems a shame to open it.

Silhouette Mirage looks pretty terrible, but it has decent reviews, and I love Treasure. Steamgear Mash looks great, but has so-so reviews. I guess I'll find out.
20240415_182454.jpgTryrush Deppy (40,000)
Super Tempo (75,000)
The holy grails. I searched everywhere for these, and only found one copy of each. Got them for pretty great prices -- especially Super Tempo -- so I feel better about some of my other purchases.

The old lady originally punched in Super Tempo at 7,500, but I was stupid and asked to see the disc, and when she took it out and let me inspect it, she noticed she'd forgotten a '0' and punched it in correctly. Anyway, probably for the best. The moments I spent checking the disc where I was caught in the highs and lows of a moral dilemma about whether to tell her about the mistake gave me anxiety. It was a nice shop, small, and the items were fairly priced, so I probably would've told her about her mistake anyway. But in the end, it was nice to have that problem solved for me when she noticed it herself.
The games that got away:
Rockman and Bass (Wonderswan)
Rockman EXE (Wonderswan)
Dicing Knight (Wonderswan)
Robot Ponkottsu Moon (Gameboy)
Grandia I and II HD (Switch)
Armana No Kiseki (NES)
Hebereke: Enjoy Edition
Tripworld DX
Mega Man X Legacy Collection Volume 2 (Switch)
Mega Man Legacy Collection Volume 2 (Switch)
Elevator Action Returns (Sega Saturn)
Psychic Killer Taromaru (Sega Saturn)
The Mega Man Collection Vol. 2s have all of the games on the cart. The western versions only have Vol. 1 + Downloadable Vol. 2

I found Grandia I and II, and Tripworld DX, but was too dumb to buy them, then never found them again.


Anyway, hope you enjoyed the write-up! I checked my credit card for the first time in a few weeks today, and all in all, not quite as bad as I was expecting, mercifully. I didn't quite get everything I wanted in Japan, but I think I did alright for myself. Had to buy a second suitcase while there so I could cart this shit home lolz. Still, I really wish I had gotten into game collecting back in 2018 when I had first traveled there. Could've saved myself some coin and gotten some better deals!
 
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Super Tempo ❤️

My personal grail still, lol. All in all some incredible pickups!
I really had given up hope on finding it! I think I'd been to a dozen game shops by that point, and it was my last stop on my last day! Almost walked out of the store without it before I noticed a glass cabinet.
 

Crystal

Formerly Apollo
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I really had given up hope on finding it! I think I'd been to a dozen game shops by that point, and it was my last stop on my last day! Almost walked out of the store without it before I noticed a glass cabinet.
Congrats on finding it, I've been on the hunt for years, and in the rare instances I've come across it it's been WAY out of my price range. Of course, never been to Japan to hunt for it, but I know it's damn near impossible there, too. Very good pickup! :)
 
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Needs more NeoGeo, but I guess if you're not that interested in 2D fighting games, it's not going to be something you're looking for.
If I ever go back to Japan, if I look for anything, it might be TurboGrafx Japan-exclusive games. I don't know much about TurboGrafx at all, except that Dungeon Explorer is one of the all-time great games.

For now imma try to save up for US Saturn games 💀☠️💀
 
If I ever go back to Japan, if I look for anything, it might be TurboGrafx Japan-exclusive games. I don't know much about TurboGrafx at all, except that Dungeon Explorer is one of the all-time great games.

For now imma try to save up for US Saturn games 💀☠️💀

Daytona USA (both editions)
Sega Rally Championship
Virtua Fighter Remix - Best VF version, I believe.
Virtua Racing
Nights into Dreams - Just get the disc and order a custom box.
Tomb Raider
Gex
Need for Speed - I just got the disc for the game. I now have a version I can play. I have the PC version which requires DOSBOX, and a 3DO version with no 3DO console.
NBA Jam TE - Seems to be consider the best non-arcade version.
Virtua Cop 1 and 2 (2 is in the Sega Smach pack for the Dreamcast if you prefer that)

All should be affordable.

Don't forget to find the "3D Controller" and a later Gen controller based on the Japan version (original US one is garbo). Retrobit has one, but you can find official ones for 20 bucks. Unfortunately, the 3D Controller is going to be more expensive, but it's the best controller for games like Nights into Dreams.
 
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It's the second best system of that generation, it is far better than the n64. I will concede that the N64 has a couple games that are better than probably anything on the saturn, but overall the Saturn has a much deeper Library
I honestly had no idea. It was late in life that I even realized the Saturn existed. I thought PSX and N64 had no other competitors that gen. It wasn't until like the 2010s that I first heard of the Saturn. I even had a Dreamcast back in the day.

What are some of your favorite games for the Saturn?
 

Crystal

Formerly Apollo
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I honestly had no idea. It was late in life that I even realized the Saturn existed. I thought PSX and N64 had no other competitors that gen. It wasn't until like the 2010s that I first heard of the Saturn. I even had a Dreamcast back in the day.
Oh Sega worked wonders to make sure no one knew about the Saturn, lol. Launching ahead of schedule without telling developers, making it a difficult platform to develop FOR, losing third party support, and making many internal blunders along the way, too. It's a wonder they GOT to the Dreamcast launch.
What are some of your favorite games for the Saturn?
I know you're asking @Quagmire, but on the US front I've gotta' chuck in:

Clockwork Knights 1&2
Shining the Holy Ark
Gex
Fighters Megamix (Virtua Fighter vs Fighting Vipers)
Daytona USA
Manx TT Superbike

Some great starting points :). Three Dirty Dwarves is fun, but it's pricey!
 
I honestly had no idea. It was late in life that I even realized the Saturn existed. I thought PSX and N64 had no other competitors that gen. It wasn't until like the 2010s that I first heard of the Saturn. I even had a Dreamcast back in the day.

What are some of your favorite games for the Saturn?

Sadly the Saturn did a lot better in Japan than in the US, off top of my head

Shining Force 3 (and scenario 2 and 3 which are fan translated)
Panzer Dragoon Saga (excellent jrpg), the other two Panzer Dragoon games are great arcade games
Lot of Shmups and 2d fighters
Dragon Force
Grandia
Policenauts (though not sure if the saturn version as a fan translation, the psx version does)
Guardian Heroes
Nights into Dreams
Astal (hidden gem platfromer)
Rayman
Burning Rangers
Die Hard Arcade
Soinc 3d blast is better than its reputation
Bomberman
Legend of Oasis
Magic Knight Rayearth
 
Sadly the Saturn did a lot better in Japan than in the US, off top of my head

Shining Force 3 (and scenario 2 and 3 which are fan translated)
Panzer Dragoon Saga (excellent jrpg), the other two Panzer Dragoon games are great arcade games
Lot of Shmups and 2d fighters
Dragon Force
Grandia
Policenauts (though not sure if the saturn version as a fan translation, the psx version does)
Guardian Heroes
Nights into Dreams
Astal (hidden gem platfromer)
Rayman
Burning Rangers
Die Hard Arcade
Soinc 3d blast is better than its reputation
Bomberman
Legend of Oasis
Magic Knight Rayearth
Saturn is probably the best system to play 2D fighters in the 90s if you can't afford a NeoGeo (which was like everyone). Shame so many only released in Japan.
 
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Okay so I started adding to my US Saturn collection, and so I'll need some region unlocking method for my Japanese Saturn. You mentioned the Action Replay method, but I did a bit of research and found out that it doesn't work for every game, and that soldering might be a better method. Any experience with either of these methods? I was about to order an action replay cart

Edit: wait I think this might be wrong. Might only be for UK Saturns. Jap-US seems to only need the Action Replay cart?
 
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Crystal

Formerly Apollo
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Okay so I started adding to my US Saturn collection, and so I'll need some region unlocking method for my Japanese Saturn. You mentioned the Action Replay method, but I did a bit of research and found out that it doesn't work for every game, and that soldering might be a better method. Any experience with either of these methods? I was about to order an action replay cart

Edit: wait I think this might be wrong. Might only be for UK Saturns. Jap-US seems to only need the Action Replay cart?
Yeah, US should only need the Action Replay, I've not met a Japanese game yet that doesn't work.
 
Note: It might not be clear on how you can get PAL or Japanese games to work via the Action Reply. Start the system with the door ajar (or no game in the drive), the console loads Action Reply. Select "Start game without codes" (or something like that), then put the disc in or close the lid, then select the next prompt to start the game. If you load Action Reply with the disc in, the region free hack doesn't work.

Same goes for the Dreamcast GameShark Cheats n Codes disc.
 
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I'm... I'm considering getting this because I'm jittery as fuck and can't wait to play my Saturn:


Any experience with this? From what I understand, after making this swap I could then play my Saturn in UK plugs or in American plugs without any further modifications, right?

Also, @Crystal you recommended Bomberman Wars (I think?). Did you play the game yet? How long roughly does it take to finish?
 

Crystal

Formerly Apollo
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I'm... I'm considering getting this because I'm jittery as fuck and can't wait to play my Saturn:


Any experience with this? From what I understand, after making this swap I could then play my Saturn in UK plugs or in American plugs without any further modifications, right?
That looks to be the case, yep! I wasn't actually familiar with that modification, but very handy!
Also, @Crystal you recommended Bomberman Wars (I think?). Did you play the game yet? How long roughly does it take to finish?
I have played it, but I'm blanking on how long it takes to complete, it's been some years. It's not a massive game, of course, Saturn limitations being what they are, but it's a good one!
 
Addendum to my previous comment:

Action Reply opens up a menu. When you select start game, that is when you should be able to close the lid/insert the disc. Then you select "Start game without codes".

Also, you're definitely going to need Action Reply's memory function. Nights into Dreams takes up a lot of memory for some reason. The Saturn doesn't have much save space for many more games if you have something like Nights taking up half of the space.
 
Sooo I could spend $3500 to play Metal Slug 5 on it...

Or like $50 to play Metal Slugs 1-6 on the Wii. Easy choice IMO 😅
The issue has always been how well the games were ported. Which was the point of the thread I posted. Even a near perfect port of KoF 97 on the Saturn had to remove animation frames from some characters, because they're moving the data from a massive cartridge to a CD.

Basically, if you wanted arcade perfect versions of 90s games from SNK, you got an AES. The cheaper route is to get a consolized version of the MVS (their actually arcade board), and buy the games for that.
 
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Welp, I finally received my Kaico Labs power supply, so I installed it today and finally booted up my Saturn, ready to play some of the games I picked up, and...

the laser is broken
also the inside of the console is FILTHY

so annoyed rn. that's $80 wasted. also the console was hella sun-damaged and i wish i'd just held off and bought a much nicer one that i found later ;_;
 

Crystal

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Welp, I finally received my Kaico Labs power supply, so I installed it today and finally booted up my Saturn, ready to play some of the games I picked up, and...

the laser is broken
also the inside of the console is FILTHY

so annoyed rn. that's $80 wasted. also the console was hella sun-damaged and i wish i'd just held off and bought a much nicer one that i found later ;_;
Oh that's awful, I'm so sorry!
 
RIP

Luckily, the consoles are not the expensive part of Saturn collecting. That said, I've had mine for almost 2 decades, and it still works, so I've never had to brave the market. I lost the initial controller, but not the "3D" one. I don't know where that other controller disappeared. Probably the same place where all my Dreamcast game cases and manuals went...

Worth noting that your Saturn might not be worthless, as you might be able to replace the disc drive with an SD card reader that plays Saturn games you have installed on it. I know you can for the Dreamcast. I wouldn't dare touch a system that still worked, but I totally would if it did.



Edit: That's not the video I thought I was linking you. A while ago, I found a video where they basically removed the power supply board, added HDMI capability, and replaced the disc drive with an SD card reader. It might have been a Dreamcast video. That said, this video still shows you that you can take the expansion port on the back (where you'd replace the battery) and run games from that.

Also, depending on the issue, this video could help you fix the disc drive:

 
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I think given the shoddy condition of the console, it's a write-off. I already bought a good few Saturn games, so I'm planning on just buying a new Saturn. I'll probably sell the old one with a disclaimer about the inside being a bit naff and the laser not working. Could probably get $50 for it in spite of this.

The SD card reader idea is pretty cool though. Something to consider in the future. Never heard of that before!
 
ll probably sell the old one with a disclaimer about the inside being a bit naff and the laser not working.
List it as "For parts or repair" and mention the disc drive in the description. Based on eBay listing, 50 bucks is a tad lower than what others are selling it for. That would be a nice get for someone who needs parts or are willing to repair the Saturn.
 
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Also, I mentioned the consoles not really being the pricy part of Saturn collecting, that's because Japanese imports are cheaper than NA ones, and can still play games from all regions with that Action Reply cart.
For the most part yeah. There are some Japanese exclusives that are still crazy expensive though -- Taromaru and Liquid Kids are two that come to mind.
 
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