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As gamers, we can’t always get what we want. This includes access to amazing games that never received an official translation. Instead, we have to suffer through untranslated text or find a fan-made English patch.
Nothing’s more heartbreaking than seeing a game from our favorite series that we can’t play or understand. We especially wish that these Japan-only games would receive an official translation.
1. Mother 3
Mother 3 is the last game in the beloved Mother series. For some unfortunate reason, this game never received an official translation. Its Japan-only release in 2006 has left any non-Japanese speakers with only fan translations.
Mother 3 introduces Lucas and his family. It takes place on Nowhere Islands, and pans out in a total of eight chapters. With Mother 3 receiving praise for its amazing storyline and music-based combat, it’s a huge shame that this game never reached the West.
2. Dai Gyakuten Saiben
Dai Gyakuten Saiben (or The Great Ace Attorney) is a spinoff of the popular Ace Attorney visual novel series. The game was released in 2015 for the Nintendo 3DS, and features 3D graphics found in newer Ace Attorney games. Although a sequel to Dai Gyakuten Saiben was released in 2017, a localized version of either game still doesn’t exist!
As a fan of Ace Attorney, it’s disheartening to hear that I’ll never get to experience the cases that take place at the end of the 19th century. Players even get to take control of Ryunosuke Naruhodo, Phoenix Wright’s ancestor. For now, fan translations will have to suffice.
3. Dragon Quest X
Doesn’t an MMORPG version of Dragon Quest sound awesome? Well, too bad—Dragon Quest X is the series’ first MMORPG, and it’s only available in Japan. You can still play the untranslated game if you’re outside of Japan, but it requires quite a bit of work.
In Dragon Quest X, you can fully customize your character and traverse the world of Astoltia. As you complete quests, you can team up with other players to tackle monsters.
4. Gyakuten Kenji 2
The Ace Attorney series is guilty of releasing yet another game that doesn’t have a translation. Gyakuten Kenji 2 is the sequel to Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth. We (fortunately) got an official localization of the first game, but Capcom decided not to release the second game outside of Japan.
Like the first Ace Attorney Investigations game, you play as the prosecutor Miles Edgeworth. You’ll have detective Dick Gumshoe, as well as the young thief Kay Faraday on your side, as you present your case to the harsh judge, Hakari Mikagami. Thanks to fan translations, you can play an unofficial English version.
5. Jump Ultimate Stars
Jump Ultimate Stars is the ultimate anime fighting game, and we may never see it released in the West. Sure, we have Jump Force, but that game ended up being one of the worst games released in 2019.
Jump Ultimate Stars was released for the Nintendo DS in 2006, and features 56 playable manga characters. Not only can you play as some of your favorite anime and manga characters, like Naruto, Ichigo Kurosaki, Goku, Dio Brando, Gon Freecssm, but you can also engage in combat similar to Super Smash Bros. Luckily, you don’t have to go through any trickery to play this game—the imported game can work on a DS from any region.
6. Captain Rainbow
Captain Rainbow is a quirky action-adventure game that was released for the Wii in 2008. This game involves chatting with minor Nintendo characters, like Birdo and Litte Mac.
You play as Nick, a seemingly normal man who can change into the former TV show, Captain Rainbow. Since Captain Rainbow’s show isn’t popular anymore, he visits Mimin Island to make his dreams come true.
Will We Ever See These Games Localized?
There’s still hope for every game on this list. In 2020, we’ll see the long-awaited localized versions of Trials of Mana, as well as Phantasy Star 2. Seeing both of these games get official translations is groundbreaking.
In addition to Japan-only video games, Japan also harbors a ton of arcade games that we’ll never see in North America. Why can’t these awesome Japanese arcade games just come West?