Friday, February 5, 2016

Q Attack, Round 27 - Should You Import Games?
Tiger and Rabbit sit down to discuss importing video games from the United Kingdom, Japan, and Hong Kong. They chat about why they import games, what makes those games worth the extra money, and why you should or should not import games.


Tiger: I’m having a hard time with Taiko no Tatsujin V Version.

Rabbit: Why’s that?

Tiger: I can’t read anything, it’s all in Japanese.

Rabbit: You actually imported that game?

Tiger: I did, I knew it wasn’t going to come out stateside so I bought it through Play-Asia.

Rabbit: A taiko drum game?

Tiger: *embarrassed* It had a lot of Vocaloid music. You’re one to talk, you imported Moe Chronicle.

Rabbit: I liked the first game; I figured I might as well get the second.

Tiger: *shakes head* You are perverted.

Rabbit: I know you picked up IA/VT as well. Why’d you get that one when you don’t import the Hatsune Miku games.

Tiger: I usually don’t like importing games because it’s a lot more expensive with shipping and everything but I knew that the IA game was never going to get a U.S. release. With Hatsune Miku, there were rumblings that DIVA was going to get a western release, so that’s why I waited.

Rabbit: I guess that makes sense. I imported Steins;Gate from from Rice Digital in the UK. They had the exclusive rights to the NA collector’s edition.

Tiger: Wait, wait, wait a minute. A UK company got the rights to distribute the North American version of Steins;Gate?

Rabbit: Makes no sense but that’s what happened. Amazon only had the standard physical edition, if you wanted the CE, you had to buy it from Rice Digital. I actually have a lot of PAL games that I’ve imported.

Tiger: Such as?

Rabbit: I have physical copies of Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty and WipEout HD Fury. I also picked up the Two Worlds II Game of the Year Edition a while back. I also have a lot of PSP games too like Exit 2 and Talkman. A few were gifts from friends in the UK or part of a trading program where I sent NA games in exchange for PAL games. What about you?

Tiger: I don’t have that many import games. I picked up the physical version of Okami, it’s the Asian version. I also have Gundam Breaker and Armored Core on PSP from Japan.

Rabbit: I do like that some of the Asian versions of games actually contain English subtitles.

Tiger: That’s very helpful. A lot of the anime is that way too, like the Persona movies. Don’t you think it’s odd that you, the Japanese gamer, import most of your games from the UK but I import them from Japan or Asia?

Rabbit: I can’t explain it, maybe it’s because a lot of the Japanese games I like get western releases. So where do you usually import your games from?

Tiger: Play-Asia and Tokyo Otaku Mode are the first places I look. I also use and CDJapan. I know there are other places out there, but I’m a big fan of their prices, shipping, and service.

Rabbit: It’s the same with Rice Digital, they do a really good job, so I haven’t had to find a different retailer. I sometimes wonder if importing games are really worth it though.

Tiger: I only import games I know that I’ll play and ones that probably won’t ever see the light of day in the west. IA/VT was a no brainer since the developer came out and said that it was never going to see a western release. Others, like Aquanaut’s Holiday, are unique enough that I just had to give it a try.

Rabbit: And Gundam Breaker?

Tiger: It’s Gundam and it didn’t break the bank. How’d you pick your imports?

Rabbit: ^shrugs^ They looked interesting?

Tiger: That’s it?

Rabbit: They had nice box art.

Tiger: Really?

Rabbit: Most of them, I already owned in digital format, and just imported the physical copy.

Tiger: I never understood why publishers would bother making a physical copy for the UK but not for the NA. Maybe they haven’t adopted digital only as quickly as the States or Canada, but I still find it strange.

Rabbit: The UK also has some crazy collector’s editions, a lot better than ours. I almost splurged and bought the Xblaze Code: Embryo limited edition. If they had the art of Mei in her sundress, I probably would have.

Tiger: Don’t get me started on LEs and CEs. I always feel like the games I import need to be extra special to make them worth the extra money. I’m a huge IA fan so importing her game was a no brainer, the Taiko Drum game was a little harder to decide on. We actually used to have the PS2 Taiko Drums, remember?

Rabbit: Yes, we did. We even bought two copies of the game so we could have drums to play head-to-head.

Tiger: I think nostalgia helped to determine me importing the Vita version.

Rabbit: I’m too impatient to import a lot of games. It takes so long to get them from overseas. I think the last game I bought took over three weeks to finally arrive after it was shipped out.

Tiger: The wait is tough and returns are tougher. I’ve only had one issue where the item that was sent out, didn’t work at all. Luckily, I was able to get a replacement for it.

Rabbit: I remember when we imported a few jackets and didn’t realize that the sizing was totally different. The website didn’t help either since it listed both US and Asian sizes but then didn’t state which sizing chart you were picking the size from.

Tiger: Luckily, everything fit properly even though we made the mistake.
Rabbit: Do you think people should import games?

Tiger: Definitely, if it’s a game you really want, why wait? You never know if the game will ever get released, plus it helps the developers and publishers gauge how popular a title is and might even encourage them to bring the game or a sequel westward. You have to be careful to make sure that the game isn’t region locked, like how it was in the old days. It’s also a good idea to see if there are any English walkthroughs on the internet, especially for the more text heavy games. I couldn’t imagine trying to play a JRPG or NVL without a guide. That’s also another added bonus, like we mentioned before a lot of games come with English subtitles now, making them very import friendly. I actually really enjoy importing games because you get to experience games that you may never see here.

Rabbit: I don’t know, I think the sometimes it’s better to wait until they get a U.S. release to buy a game. Think about it, you pay all this extra money for shipping and what not, only to have the sale not count for your region or the region the game was released in. It’s not like they look at the numbers getting exported to other companies. If you wait and petition a publisher to release it in a different territory and then buy the game in that said territory, it encourages the publisher to look at other regions in the future. I remember the NISA panel we went to at a convention and they stated how it was really just a sale of a specific title that allowed them to start looking at bringing even more titles westward.

Tiger: You could always buy both versions.

Rabbit: That’s a waste of money though.

Tiger: But what if your game never makes it to the west, what then?

Rabbit: You could always import it then. I’m just saying that the domestic publishers need to get support or else they won’t be able to bring titles over here.

Tiger: It’s definitely up to the individual in how they want to do it. I can see your point, wanting to show that there is a fanbase here to try and encourage the publishers to localize certain games. On the other hand, we know there are titles that will never see the light of day.

Rabbit: Social media can have a huge impact too. Look at what Gaijinworks is able to do with their offerings. I’m just happy that getting foreign games is a lot easier than it was before. Many games now get western releases, such as Danganronpa, that I never thought would ever come stateside. Either way you do it, one thing’s for sure, gamers have access to a ton of great games.

Should You Import Games?

Tiger     vs     Rabbit

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