Friday, January 24, 2014

More Awesome Japan Only Famicom Releases

Almost the minute I finished making my recent post about 20 Japan only releases for the Famicom which I like I was already coming up with titles that I realized should have been on it.  So I`ve decided to add another post here with some of the other great ones that slipped my mind.

I should note that my definition of `Japan only` is a bit loose here.  Some of these were released in Europe or had later releases on other consoles sometimes under other titles.  Some, like Yume Penguin Monogatari are `pure` Japan only releases that never made it anywhere else on any console other than the Famicom, while others might not have reached that level of exclusivity.  What they all have in common though is they weren`t released on the NES in North America.

Anyway, here we go, in no particular order.

Battle City

This game is awesome.  The only reason it wasn`t on the top of my previous list is that I didn`t know it had never been released on the NES.  How could they not have released this game on the NES?  You control a tank and it is probably better than controlling a tank would be in real life, even if you could use it to run over the car of a neighbor you don`t like with it or something fun like that. It plays a bit like a puzzle game almost, you have to figure out how to position yourself so as to best defend a little base against enemy tanks blasting their way through varying maze-like screens.  Really really fun.

Door Door

This is a really awesome game that I have had a copy of for a while but only recently gotten into.  It is a kind of puzzle/platformer in which you have to open and close doors in order to trap enemies.  You wouldn`t think a game about opening doors would be much fun but it actually is. It is another one of those games that my wife played as a kid and she is much better at it than I am (her friend down the street, Sumire chan, had a copy of it and she used to go over to play it at her place.  I have learned a lot about Famicom history via stories of Sumire chan, who I have never met and probably never will.  Life is interesting like that sometimes....)

A Week of Garfield

This game is insanely difficult.  Since I did a post on it recently I won`t add much to what I wrote there, except to say that this has my favorite character death face plant of all.

The Goonies

I have no idea how I forgot to put this in the first list, I love this game.  In addition to being a kind of cool platformer, this game is notable for having an awesome 8 bit version of Cindy Laupher`s theme song from the film as background music.

Gradius 2

This is a really awesome horizontal shoot em up. I like the first Gradius a lot, but this one is even better. I have never gotten anywhere close to finishing it but maybe someday....


I like this game a lot.  It is a sequel to a game called Warp and Warp, which was released overseas but which I have never played.  This one only got a Famicom release.  It is hard to explain in words, basically you play Warpman and you have to shoot enemies.  Yup, I suck at accurately describing video games in a way that allows you to mentally visualize what the game-play is like.  Sorry, that is why I don`t do many reviews on this blog. 

Anyway, one thing I really like about this game is that it has a cooperative multiplayer mode which allows two people to play simultaneously, which is quite fun - especially as every time you shoot the other player (who is on your side) he gets temporarily zapped.

Super Arabian

I have to admit I am a bit unclear if this was strictly speaking a Japan-only release as apparently there was an earlier game called `Arabian` released overseas which sounds similar.  Anyway, assuming it was, this is a cool game.  Platform arcade style - it kind of reminds me a bit of Popeye. 

Anyway, those are a few more Japan-only releases.  I will definitely be doing at least one more of these posts as I just noticed Sky Destroyer on my shelf.....


  1. Awesome expansion to the list! You should try the original Warp & Warp, it's super fun. I've played the arcade and MSX versions on a site called You should've mentioned Dig Dug and Mappy, they also weren't released on the NES. (Their sequels [Dig Dug II, not Hopping Mappy but Mappy Land] made it though.) I need to fix my FC soon...

  2. I concur on Battle City being a top tier game. I was lucky enough as a youth to have one of those 20-in-1 bootleg cartridges which had many Japan-only titles on it (Battle City being my fav, especially co-op). Nowadays, with ROM hacking and whatnot, Battle City has been reworked many, many times with new maps and aesthetics so that the fun can never die. NEVER!

  3. Lots of sentinmental value tied to Battle City. Very first time I laid eyes on a famicom and very first famicom game I ever played. This was just a bit past the mid 80s. Also my very first time overseas. When I heard my cousins had a "video game system", I was expecting them to roll out an Atari or something else underwhelming. To my surprise, they whipped out a white and red little oddity I had never seen before. To add more shock to my awe, I noticed in the corner of the front label... the magic little words "Nintendo".

  4. Logan - thanks! Ah, Dig Dug and Mappy even? I have to do a comprehensive list of these, how could they have missed Mappy on the NES, that is an awesome game?

    Shen Nung - Awesome, isn*t it? I love the co-op mode too. It is awesome that people are still making new maps for it, I have to try the construction mode sometime!

    Stealthlurker - Very intersting, so you actually saw a Famicom back when it was in its prime? Cool, that must have been an awesome visit with your cousins!

  5. Sweet, thanks for unwittingly providing me with a few more recommendations! :)

  6. Hey there, I have a question and hope anyone can help me with that. I have another famicom clone. It is the russian "Subor D21" Can I play games of any other clone on it or won't they work? Or can I at least get the games of the clone called "Dendy" since it's also russian? Hope anyone has some advice for me.

  7. Yup. For that month long trip, I packed my NES along with as many games as I could fit. I ended up only taking it out once. After seeing my cousin's Famicom, I begged my grandmother to buy me one too. Luckily my Birthday fell in the month of our trip. By the time we left, I had amassed about 15 games from diff visits to the mall. When I got back stateside, my friends were amazed by the "Japanese Nintendo" (especially the mic on the 2nd controller). They were super stoked about the Macross game I brought back too... considering at that time Robotech was huge then. I still have that original famicom, though I've retired it. It's been repaired about 3 times since I've had it, haha.

  8. Simon - Cool, I think you will enjoy some of these, especially Battle City!!

    Anonymous - I don`t know, but if you check on Famicom World somebody will probably be able to answer that!

    Stealthlurker - Yeah, I remember loving Robotech when I was a kid, if I had ever seen a video game based on it I would have reacted like your friends! The mic on the 2 controller probably would have blown my mind too. Its awesome that you still have that Famicom. I have to check at my parent`s house next time I am there to see if they still have any of my original stuff (NES and a Commodore Vic 20).

  9. played battle city before... it was ok
    also could you do a post on the famicom versions of after burner II, fantasy zone, space harrier and altered beast( you know the sega arcade game ports thats on a nintendo console?) need to try out the garfield game

  10. suprised namco hasnt ever released battle city in any of thier namco museum games

  11. They haven`t? They really should, its one of their best!

    1. in fact i think they want to forget about battle city