Japan Buyers Guide – Nintendo

A guide to buying Nintendo games and hardware in Japan:

Wii U (Hardware)
As with the Wii, the Wii U is region locked and does not even have English menus.

NINTENDO Wii (Hardware)
Japanese only! No language options at all. Also, all Wii content is region locked, including Gamecube and Virtual Console software. Very few Japanese Wii games include an English language option, so beware.

WII FIT
Totally in Japanese. It is pretty much always possible to figure out how to do the exercises because of the clear diagrams and animations. The advice that you get from the in-game fitness trainers will be completely impossible to understand. Navigating the menus could also be difficult – for example options to repeat an exercise or quit are in Japanese.

BIOHAZARD 4 WII EDITION(Wii)
The game’s dialogue is all in English, but all the system menus, inventory screens and puzzle instructions are in Japanese. The game is pretty intuitive to play however. You can probably play through this fairly easily with an occasional glance at a guide.

HAJIMETE NO WII (Wii)
In Japanese, but as simple and intuitve as they come – plenty of diagrams and nearly everything you have to do is pretty obvious. There is one subgame where you have to pick people out of crouds with instructions like – find the fastest person, or find 2 that look alike – but that can be figured out in a few goes.

SUPER PAPER MARIO (Wii)
Totally in Japanese. An RPG, so probably a very difficult game to play if you don’t speak the language.

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA – The Twilight Princess (Wii)
Entirely in Japanese. Being an RPG it would be extremely difficult to play this without some knowledge of Japanese. On the plus side, dialogue is colour coded, so you can pick out the plot critical words from the text, and the Kanji have Furigana above them, making them easier to read. Personnally, I find playing this more of a Japanese lesson than a video game, but its a very entertaining Japanese lesson.

WII SPORTS (Wii)
Again, this is completely in Japanese, but is so intuitive and simple that you can play it easily.

OTHER SYSTEMS:

SUPER MARIO SUNSHINE (GC)
Mostly playable, although some shine goals will be difficult, if not impossible to work out. Playable and probably completable without an online guide, although an online guide would be of use in a few places, and for players who want to collect all the shines.

MR DRILLER (GBA)
Pretty much fine. Menu’s are in Japanese, but the gameplay is very simple.
FINAL FANTASY TACTICS (GBA)
Very difficult due to the large amount of Japanese text. Would be extremely painful to play without speaking Japanese. Probably not impossible if you’re familiar with the series, but definitely best to find the English version.


NINTENDO 3DS (Hardware)
Sadly, the 3DS is region locked, and the console menus are fixed in Japanse. However old DS games are still region free.

NINTENDO DS-I (Hardware)
NOT region free. DS-I games come region locked as standard.

NINTENDO DS (Hardware)
Every DS in the world gives you a choice of languages. Everything can be set to English, including the bundled pictochat.The DS has a custom battery back which is charged by connecting to the mains. This means you may need to use an adapter or voltage convertor if you plan on using it outside the country of purchase. All DS games are region free, so you can run any game on any DS. DS games in Japan may not run in English, however. Check the list below to find out if the Japanese version of a particular game is suitable for English speakers. If the game you want to know about isn’t listed, let us know.

CATCH, TOUCH, YOSHI (Yoshi’s Touch & Go) (DS)
In game text is in English, menus are in Japanese, but present no difficulty as the main game options are intuitively presented.

ELECTROPLANKTON (DS)
In game text is in English

FAMICOM WARS DS (DS)
Known as Advance Wars:Dual Strike in Europe and the U.S. This is perfectly playable if you’re familiar with the series, and the layout of the ingame menus. Figuring out the mission objectives is more tricky, although since in almost every case you have to capture something or destroy something this isn’t too much of a hurdle.

The only real difficulty is figuring out the CO powers and bonuses. Some of these are obvious, others are not. This is a bit of a borderline case, as a fan of the series I’ve played it and enjoyed it, but advance wars newbies might find it tricky without a guide.

GYAKUTEN SAIBAN 2 – PHOENIX WRIGHT: ACE ATTORNEY – JUSTICE FOR ALL(DS)
Playable in English or Japanese

GYAKUTEN SAIBAN 3 (DS)
The new Phoenix Wright game will be fully playable in English or Japanese.

OSU TATAKAE OUENDAN (DS)
Otherwise known as the red one with a picture of a bloke shouting on the front.

This is a great little rhythm action title – its completely incomprehensable, but that’s part of its charm. The menus are navigable and the game is simple to play.

NEW SUPER MARIO BROTHERS(DS)
Japanese menu’s, and minigame instructions, but the game is perfectly playable without understanding these. No Japanese in-game text either (unlike Mario World).

VIEWTIFUL JOE – SCRATCH (DS)
The plot is in Japanese as are the in game instructions, but they come with diagrams so not too much of an issue. You won’t be able to read the power up descriptions, but gameplay is intuitive and this is pretty playable without having to understand the text.

WARIO WARE: TOUCHED (DS)
Completely playable. The microgames have instructions in Japanese, but this game is so pick up and play that you really don’t need them.

ZELDA: PHANTOM HOURGLASS(DS)
In Japanese, but it does have furigana instead of just Kanji.

SLITHERLINK (DS)
This is completely in Japanese, but once you figure out how to navigate the menu system you should be okay. This is a fantastic puzzle game and highly recommended.