Important Importables: 5 reasons to import games

Sections: Columns, Exclusives, Features, Japanese Imports, Lists, Originals

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Simple DS Series Vol. 32 The Zombie Crisis box artMany people may wonder what the point of importing video games is. Some people may reason that, if you can’t understand the game completely, it isn’t worth buying. Or, they may say that there are similar games available in stores you could try.

But there’s a sort of special feeling that comes from importing a videogame. It makes the game seem special, and even a bit exotic. Its kind of a thrill to know that you own something that many other people don’t. Of course, a good feeling isn’t often enough of a reason to buy a game. So if you’re wondering why you should consider importing a game from Japan, keep reading.

a Princess Maker 4 screen1. Won’t be released outside Japan.
The best reason to import games is that they won’t be released outside of Japan. Titles like Jump Ultimate Stars, Princess Maker, Itadaki Street and Stafi have fairly slim odds of being released outside of the US. Since you normally wouldn’t be able to enjoy these games, it only makes sense to import them.

2. Won’t be released outside Japan for a really long time.
Another reason to import is that the game you want won’t be released outside Japan for years. Examples of this are Summon Night, Itadaki Street DS, Umihara Kawase, Bleach Heat the Soul or DJ Max Portable. Though DJ Max Fever (a combo of DJ Max Portable 1 and 2 and Yumi’s Odd Odyssey / Umihara Kawase have been announced, it still took quite a while for them to receive localizations. Also, the other games are still only “rumored” releases, so who knows when the US will get them.

3. It is a “Limited edition” collectable.
Almost every major game in release receives a special edition release. A special edition can include stuffed animals, posters, clothing, artbooks, soundtracks, statues or even a new version of a system. Typically, these releases are Japan exclusives. The NA release of The World Ends with You didn’t get a special edition DS – Japan did. In fact, nearly every major Square Enix portable release (Star Ocean: First Departure, Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy III and Final Fantasy XII: Revenant Wings for example) gets a special edition DS or PSP to go with it.

Duel Love box art4. Free stuff.
Import videogames often come with free items. Bleach: The 3rd Phantom came with a postcard pack and sheet of stickers. Dual Love came with an extra PC CD. Densetsu no Stafi 5 came with a towel. Often, pre-ordering or ordering a game from Japan means you’ll get an extra bonus item you weren’t expecting. A sort of preorder perk that normally wouldn’t be released in other countries.

5. Ridiculously cheap.
Play-Asia and other online, import game sites often have sales where games will be ridiculously cheap. For example, Play-Asia recently had a sale on Pump It Up Exceed and Zero were both under $20. Normally, PSP import games run $48.90 each. When games are that affordable, it’s hard to say no. In fact, the import version can even end up cheaper than its domestic counterpart.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Important Portables talks about an Ouran High School Host Club episode otome (girl’s dating/life sim) game fans can’t miss.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables taught you how to find Action Replay DS codes for import games.

Site [Play-Asia] Site [YesAsia] Site [NCSX] Site [Himeya Shop] Site [JBox]

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  • eric_c

    awesome reasons, all of them!

    i wouldn't buy "The Zombie Crisis," which you pictured above, though, as it gets boring REALLY quick. Duel Love, however …

  • Jenni Lada

    Thanks. 😀

    Yeah, but The Zombie Crisis is also cheap, and if Play-Asia has a sale (like it often does), it can get a lot cheaper and end up being worth a giggle.

    Duel Love is hilarious. Despite beating it, I keep it in my purse (along with like… 12 other games) just for the mini-games and their delightful sound effects. Its a great way to pass the time, while also feeling like "Look! I'm kind-of flaunting society's morals in public in an incredibly humorous manner!"