Gaming History 101

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Archive for the ‘Regionalization’ Category

Dropping the Ban Hammer

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Have you ever eagerly anticipated the release of a game only to find out it isn’t coming to the United States?  Imagine if the reasoning wasn’t due to licensing issues or internal policies by the ESRB and console developers.  Aside from Rapelay, a game I can barely give credit as a video game and was never intended to see a release anyway, I’ve never heard of a game that isn’t welcome in the US.  It’s one of those great freedoms that we take completely for granted in this country – we don’t have our media banned or censored federally.  This isn’t to say content isn’t stripped down, many of us remember Manhunt 2 getting an AO rating that rendered it unable to release on its intended platforms (PS2 and Wii).  As a result, developer Rockstar released a “toned down” version that was approved with an M rating and saw retail release.  The difference between this situation and the situation in other countries is that the industry self polices and decides what is allowed and what is not.  Currently the major console manufacturers refuse to  release AO titles, but that doesn’t restrict a developer from releasing on PC or an available platform.  In some other countries, you’re given a stringent refusal to release your product after you’ve created it.

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Written by Fred Rojas

December 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Converts

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So now you want to import consoles and games, do you?  Well you’ll be happy to know that it is entirely possible on most consoles, however there are some things you’ll have to be aware of before you do it.  This article discusses the different things you have to do to both the electric and video signal of various imported consoles.  It will also briefly discuss how to get foreign games to play on US consoles, if possible.

Electricity Differences
No matter what console you are using, it’s important to know the differences between electricity in the US, Europe and Japan.

Japanese Consoles in the US
As you’ll see plenty of times in this article, Japan is quite similar to the United States in many ways, including power.  We use 120 volts as our standard for power.  Japan doesn’t appear to use a ground (or at least none of the Japanese consoles I’ve ever gotten do, never been to Japan itself), so all plugs from Japanese consoles will be two-pronged and fit in an US outlet.  Also fortunate is the fact that most consoles, especially retro ones, will use AC adaptors that work in the US.  Never interchange US power supplies into Japanese consoles, you could fry the console or worse.  For example, if you import a Famicom, use that console’s AC adaptor and not an US NES one.  For newer consoles like Japanese PS2s and PS3s, you may want to check the back of the console, but I think those are good for AC 100-240 volts for worldwide distribution, but I could be wrong.  Basically if it generates heat, be very careful and do a search for advice from a reputable source (no, Yahoo! Answers is not a reputable source).  Also if you want to be completely safe, there are Japanese voltage converters that allow use of Japanese products here.

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Written by Fred Rojas

December 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Generation Gap: Import Edition

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So you’ve decided you may be interested in this import scene, huh?  You may want to see what the other regions have to offer?  Perhaps you just don’t know what’s out there and you’re just curious.  Well here you go – a wrap-up of some of the most popular consoles overseas that didn’t quite it over here.

Sega SG-1000 – Released in: Japan, Europe – Launch: 1983
Sega and Nintendo have been up against each other since day one, literally.  While we didn’t see the NES over here until at least 1985, Sega’s first console, the SG-1000, released day in date alongside the Famicom (NES) in Japan.  A cartridge based system that had nearly identical hardware to the ColecoVision, Sega’s first outing is most notable for having a solid Donkey Kong clone (Congo Bongo) and some of Sega’s top arcade titles.  I’m fairly certain that Flicky made its first home appearance thanks to the SG-1000 as did Monaco GP.

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Written by Fred Rojas

December 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Localization

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Ghostbusters released on almost every platform in the 80s, but if you picked up the NES version you would be greeted with an all-too-common error: the completion screen proudly exclaims “Conglaturation!!!”  Back in the late 80s I was a mere seven when playing NES games and improper spelling or verbage was something I shrugged off as not understanding.  I never assumed the game was wrong, I just assumed that I didn’t get it.  See, back in the 80s most games were lucky to get a decent translation, let alone a full localization, and it made playing many of the Japanese games difficult.  Nowadays it’s a completely different world – pioneers like Atlas and Square Enix have full-blown localization departments that are hellbent on creating the best possible experience for a specific regional audience.  It’s more than just a translation, it’s a retooling for another culture.

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Written by Fred Rojas

December 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm

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