In celebration of Nintendo’s Game Boy turning the ripe old age of thirty, we thought it would be a further fun idea to explore the games that never made it out of Japan. A lot of the better ones have actually received fan translations, which is great for those seeking out that kind of stuff. Still, it would be nice for these ten games to have a real presence in the West as well. As we saw earlier this year with Trials of Mana, it is never too late to bring over an old game.
10 Game Boy Wars 3
Prior to Advance Wars, this series started back on the Famicom under the title of Famicom Wars. It may then not surprise readers that there were a series of sequels after this including three on the Game Boy platform of systems. The funny thing about the third and final title is that it released just a month before Advance Wars did in 2001. Japan got that while the rest of the world got a new series for a new portable. So what did Western fans miss out on? That’s why we are so curious to check this out. The game is actually halfway patched through fan translations, so that is a start.
9 For the Frog the Bell Tolls
That is a basic translation of the name more commonly known in Japan as Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru. Anyway, this exclusion from the West is quite strange since Nintendo internally created this with the help of Intelligent Systems. It’s sort of like Zelda with the top down perspective, but it also has more RPG elements along with some nods to adventure games as well. It is the best game that Nintendo never brought over on the Game Boy, but thankfully fans have fully translated it.
8 Pokémon Card GB2: Here Comes Team GR
Yes, the Pokémon Trading Card Game for the Game Boy did indeed have a sequel. Well, it’s sort of like a sequel. It’s not in the same vein as Pokémon Red to Pokémon Gold for example, which added a new region and more Pokémon.
This sequel is more, or less in the same area. The big new addition is the Team Rocket themed card packs from real life, which added new cards, but not necessarily new Pokémon. For those curious that liked the first, there is a full fan translation out there.
7 Ganbare Goemon: Hoshizorashi Dynamites Arawaru
Ganbare Goemon, for those unaware, is better known as the Mystical Ninja series in the West. Not many games in this long running Konami series have left Japan though, which stinks because they are great. There are three Game Boy games stuck in Japan. Ganbare Goemon: Mononoke Douchuu Tobisuise Nabebugyou and Ganbare Goemon: Tengutou no Gyakushuu are RPGs and are thus text heavy. If one wants to try a game out easily, Ganbare Goemon: Hoshizorashi Dynamites Arawaru is the more obvious choice, as it is just a straight up action platformer.
6 Hunter X Hunter: Kindan no Hihou
Hunter X Hunter: Kindan no Hihou, based off of the anime/manga series, is basically Konami using the license in order to make a Castlevania clone. Since they are the creators, it made sense to do so and is pretty great. Gon’s fishing rod makes for a great whip substitute and there is plenty of leveling up to be done as well. Of all Hunter X Hunter games, this is the best, which may not be saying much, but we like it.
5 Tekkyu Fight: The Great Battle Gaiden
This is one of many games that crosses over the Gundam, Kamen Rider, and Ultraman franchises. Two of which have virtually no presence outside of Japan in general so it’s plain to see why this and many of the other Great Battle games never crossed over. Anyway this is an action platformer that allows players to swap between heroes in order to get around certain obstacles. It’s pretty basic, but still a good game for what it is: fan service.
4 Heracles no Eiko: Ugokidashita Kamigami
The Heracles series is yet another odd RPG with very little presence outside of Japan. For a franchise that dates back to the Famicom, only the last game, Glory of Heracles for the DS, was ever released in the West. History aside, this series follows the Greek hero of Heracles in a very Dragon Quest styled adventure. If that plus God of War sounds good, this is definitely worth a look plus there is a full fan patch.
3 Star Ocean: Blue Sphere
Star Ocean has never really been a premier RPG series especially next to juggernauts like Final Fantasy. Yet they have always been solid B-tier action RPGs. Every game eventually launched outside of Japan, well, except obviously for this entry.
It’s the same great Star Ocean experience except in Game Boy Color mode. There is a very, very basic patch out right now for those curious.
2 Super Robot Taisen
An even crazier crossover series involving Gundam is Super Robot Taisen. Of the thirty plus games in that franchise, we can count on one hand the number of games the West has received. Because of all the mech based anime and video game licenses involved, it is near impossible to bring them over on a constant level. Anyway this was the game that started it all and, like most, is a tactical RPG.
1 Last Bible II
Last Bible II is part of the Shin Megami Tensei series, which should already tell readers a lot. For a series almost infamously known as one of the most challenging RPG series of all time, this entry is a bit more forgiving. It also has a lot in common with Pokémon allowing players to recruit monsters as temporary party members. Weirdly enough the West did receive the first game, Revelations: The Demon Slayer, but not this, or any of the other four sequels. Let’s right that wrong!