Showing posts with label import. Show all posts
Showing posts with label import. Show all posts

Having A Blast With Cosmic Smash

There are some games on the Dreamcast that I'm pretty sure would not have translated well from their original Japanese to the West. Only recently we looked at a dating sim from the land of the rising sun, and while it did look intriguing, I think it's safe to say that it would probably have sold less units than a DVD boxset of a wall of wet paint drying. With this in mind, let us turn our attention to another title that never saw the light of day outside of it's native homeland - Cosmic Smash. The reason I draw a comparison between it and the aforementioned dating sim is that Cosmic Smash is a game that by it's very nature transcends all of the usual barriers for localisation, and yet it is glaringly absent from both PAL and NTSC-U libraries.

Turning Japanese (And Possibly American)

My very first experience with a Dreamcast came in early 1999 when a friend who was earning suspiciously large amounts of money for doing a menial warehouse job decided he wanted a new games console. Tired of playing Buck Bumble and Rush 2 on N64 in his cramped bedroom, we took a trip to an import store in nearby Manchester's Chinatown district where my friend handed over several hundred pounds for a Japanese Dreamcast and a few games. The games were Virtua Fighter 3tb, Dynamite Deka 2 and Shutokou Battle - a game we had no idea was a racing title because there were no screens on the back of the case and no English text at all (time must have muddied my memory - all three apparently have screens). Since then, I have played (and obviously own) all three of those games in their PAL guises: Virtua Fighter 3tb, Dynamite Cop and Tokyo Highway Challenge...but you no doubt already guessed the English title of the first game mentioned there.

It was really cool getting to play on my friend's DC back before the PAL release, and even cooler because everything was covered in Japanese text and we really had no idea what we were doing in most of the menu screens. It was literally a case of 'push A until the game starts.' One other cool thing was the Project Berkeley video that came on one of the GDs, but I forget which one it was - possibly Virtua Fighter 3...but I digress. As a side note, it turned out that my friend had been fiddling the till at the warehouse/timber yard he worked at and that's how he'd been able to afford the Dreamcast in the first place. He was eventually rumbled and the police were involved...but that's a different story.

DCJY InsideOut & Rummage - Bomber hehhe!

It's about time I make a Rummage video! I've had a sealed copy of "Bomber hehhe!" on the shelf for a little over a month, and knew I had to record myself opening it. What started as an InsideOut snowballed into a Rummage thanks to a vacation day. Join me as I blow buildings up in this crazy obscure import!

More than just an orange swirl

こんばんは! OK, that's the last Japanese I type unless someone asks me to. Good evening, dear readers. For my first post on the hallowed 'yard, I thought I would bring something special. Something from a distant land. Over here, for whatever reason it is (though I have my opinions) we don't seem to give much of a damn about limited editions. Over in Japan, there have been limited edition game consoles and peripherals since the early 90s. Typically, if someone says they've been playing games from Japan, it'll usually be chipped or modded native hardware, playing 'backup' games/CDRs. Rarely, do people import consoles themselves. There's the large postage cost, the language barrier and the question of power sources (see my reply to "modded DC goodness"). There is, however, a beautiful and rarely seen world of limited edition consoles and peripherals...

This is my Sakura Taisen (Sakura Wars) Dreamcast system. Sakura Wars is one of the largest RPG and anime franchises in Japan. In 2006 I went to the Sakura Taisen café in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. Inside, the waitresses were dressed as the very characters printed on this limited edition Dreamcast. For those of you interested in Sakura Wars, I plan on doing a special feature at some point. There have been many limited edition games, including goodies ranging from calendars to music boxes, included with the games. Anyway, this one is pink (yes, girls either love it or worry about your sexuality), there's a matching controller and VMU too. All boxed. Lovely.

Doesn't this thing look evil?? It's my Regulation 7 Dreamcast. This is my console of choice. Sleek, sexy and very rare. Regulation 7 is related to the Pachinko (Japanese slot game) restrictions on gambling. These Dreamcasts were made for pachinko parlours (in the UK these are seedy "arcades" - think Piccadilly Gardens bus stop arcade), for people to get a feel for what the Dreamcast was about. Showing the "edgy" side of gaming, this black limited edition console really has character. Again, matching black VMU and controller. All boxed. Lovely. Running out of room; I will include my Hello Kitty Dreamcast in a Hello Kitty special in the future :)

Now, a weird peripheral this one. The Densha de Go! controller! Yes, you drive a train in the game. Yes, this is the controller. Yes, that space in the middle of the controller is for your pocket watch. Yes, I feel a bit weird owning one, but the plethora of DC stuff I own hides this weirdo controller... which is actually brilliant for Densha de Go! An often overlooked game, "Let's go Train!" is an excellent arcade conversion. More on that another time though... but you'll love it I am sure.

Anyone reading this on a MacBook, iMac or MacBook Pro? How about anyone owning a phone with a 0.3MP camera on it (VGA)? OK, well, the Dreamcast had a webcam years ago. It is a stand alone digital camera; a webcam and also part of a series of games and 'foto-fun' on the Dreamcast. Again, this is pretty rare folks. The build quality is astounding and it genuinely makes me wonder how the Dreamcast didn't crush the PS2 and DC2 (*we wish*) kill off the PS3 and rival XBOX 360 consoles. Only problem with this is that there's no memory card. That means, you have to upload photos to your Dreamcast and email them. Of course, you can save it on your VMU if you have one...

Which brings me onto my last photo and set of comments. Visual Memory Units. Look at them all. So cute. Why aren't we all walking around now, with something similar to a PSP/iPod Touch that plugs into our 360s? The potential of the VMU was huge. Plugged into arcade games, around a friends. Take your gamer profile with you... again, huge potential. As you can see, the bottom left VMU is the dull generic and UK only model. The others are, clockwise from top left: Godzilla VMU; SEGA direct black; SEGA direct camo; SEGA direct leopard; Astro Boy VMU; Reg 7 VMU; Limited Ed Green; Limited Ed Blue; boring-UK-why-the-fuck-don't-we-do-limited-editions VMU.

So there you have it. My first post and hopefully a little colour into the otherwise drab world of western gaming experiences. There's more to import Dreamcast gaming than an orange swirl...