This holiday season, why not give the gift of Japanese gaming to those you love? No, seriously. Why not?
Importing video games and video game accessories is a time honored tradition. Surely, everyone has done it at one point or another. And if you haven’t, it’s worth a try! And during the holidays, it might be worth trying out on other people.
So! Here are some import gift picks:
Let’s face it. We already look totally silly with VR headsets on, so there’s really nothing stopping us from looking even sillier.
This is the Anti-Fouling Mask VR. While the packaging says it’s for the PlayStation VR, I’m sure you can keep all sorts of headsets clean with this face mask, which absorbs sweat and grime. Just don’t rob a bank with it. Please. (PlayAsia, $ 13.99)
I’ve always thought the Super Famicom’s color combination looked way better than the Super Nintendo’s. No wonder I like the New Nintendo 3DS XL Super Famicom Edition so dang much. Just look at it! It’s beautiful.
As for games worth importing for others or for yourself (heh), those include the Taiko no Tatsujin titles, Zoo Keeper 3D, Kenka Bancho 6: Soul and Blood, E.X. Troopers, and Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-Kun Special. (PlayAsia, $319.99)
This list needs a book. So, here’s a book! A fancy art book, filled with over 350 works from the initial card series to the more recent Pokemon XY Break. Pokémon Card Game Art Collection is in Japanese, but the art speaks the international language of Pocket Monsters. (Amazon, $41)
For those who like the controller but love the mouse, Japanese peripheral maker Hori has a solution of sorts. (PlayAsia, $97.99)
Mario is incredibly popular in Japan. Ditto for golf. And bam, we have this, a Super Mario golf bag. Okay, okay, it’s not actually a game or game hardware, but it is an officially license product, very expensive, and perfect from someone who loves golf, Mario, and the color red. (Japan Trend Shop, $1,157)
One of the frustrating things about importing games can be the language barrier. That’s less of a concern with Puyo Puyo Tetris. You know Tetris, you know Puyo Puyo (or you should!), and the result is an enjoyable puzzle game that has never been released outside of Japan. (Amazon, $39.00)
While North America got a Mini NES with 30 pre-loaded games, Japan got a mini Famicom also with pre-loaded titles. Since the console connects via HDMI, it should work in the U.S. Japanese AC adaptors also tend to work fine in the States. Be warned that the controllers are rather small, so maybe give this to youngsters or adults with baby hands. (Amazon, $259)
For fighting games, the Fighting Commander’s six button layout is far better than the DualShock 4's layout. The pad also has four shoulder buttons, unlike some of its competitors, and is compatible with the PS3 and PC. The shape will probably remind folks of the Sega Saturn controller, which was a great pad in its own right. (Amazon, $39)
Maybe you don’t know which imported game. Why not give the safest present possible: Money. That’s because perhaps the easiest way to import games is though the Japanese PlayStation Store (creating an account isn’t too difficult, and there are numerous YouTube walkthroughs). It’s possible to buy Japanese PSN cards through Amazon, but they are slightly expensive. PlayAsia’s are priced more competitively as are Japan Codes’ prices (Japan Codes just the actual digital codes, instead of the gift cards). Note that for those with imported Nintendo hardware, both PlayAsia and Japan Codes have prepaid cards and codes available. (Amazon, PlayAsia, and Japan Codes, prices vary)