Thursday, March 31, 2011

A guide for the aspiring import gamer: Part 3

New post about import gaming? New post about import gaming.

Alright guys, it's time to take a trip back to a simpler time. A time when idiots weren't running amok on an online gaming service. A time when no one cared whether or not there was online multiplayer. A time before crippiling hardware errors that caused you to go without your games for weeks because you had to ship it back while millions of others were shipping their borked consoles at the same time because rather than have quality control do their job they chose to get a head start on everyone else for the sake of money (deep breath). That time my friends, is the 90's.

The Sega Genesis (Sega Mega Drive)
Japanese Mega Drive (left) and US Genesis model 2 (right)
Alright, now we're getting into the tougher, yet still manageable region locked consoles. The main issue here is that Japanese Mega Drive cartridges are wider than American Genesis games, so they can't fit into the cartridge slot. Now, there are a few ways to get around this.

1. The cheapest, yet most brutal way, is to modify the Genesis' cartridge slot
Cutting the tabs at the rear of the slot will allow the rounder Mega Drive cartridges to fit. It works, but you have to cause visible damage to the console.

2. Purchase a Game Genie or some other pass-through device for a couple bucks. This is the simplest method. No fuss, no muss.

3. Buy an imported system, Japanese game systems will run fine on American outlets since the voltage difference is so small (110V in US, 100V in JP). The same can not be said for European consoles, since they require a much higher voltage than what the standard output in the US is (Europe uses 220V if I'm not mistaken). If you want to use a European console, you'll have to buy a step-up transformer to get it to work properly.

There are also a few important things to note. After a certain point (around 93 or 94), Sega started region locking cartridges, but this is simple to get around (although it requires some skill with a soldering iron). Just look up a guide on how to do a switchboard mod. Another thing to note is that unless you do a video mod, you can't play PAL (European) games on an American or Japanese system due to differences in video frequencies.

Games of interest:
Ever wonder what Game Freak was up to before they started making Pokemon? Ya, that's right, Game Freak made awesome games BEFORE Pokemon came out. Pulseman is an action-platformer where you guide the title character through 8 different stages, using his electrical abilities to stop the evil Doc Waruyama. Despite being a platformer, there are some cool puzzle elements to the game where you have to use Pulseman's Volteccer ability to navigate passageways.

Zero Wing

The only reason I'm hilighting this is because this is where the infamous "All your base are belong to us" meme comes from. Zero Wing is a decent sidescrolling shmup (shoot 'em up for those who aren't up on the lingo). It isn't the best, but it is definitely worth a look. The European release of this can be played on an American console without any problems.

Alien Soldier
Hey, do you like to blow s*** up? Then have I got a game for you! Alien Soldier is an action game developed by Treasure, the same people who brought you all out balls-to-the-wall titles like Gunstar Heroes and Ikaruga. If you like games made by Treasure, or just love to blow things up, then this is for you. The only downside is that it is relatively expensive to get ahold of, so happy hunting!

That's it for today kids, see you tomorrow for the next entry!


  1. mmm great info. Had no idea of any games Gamefreak made other than Pokemon.

  2. Pulseman sort of looks like megaman

  3. Awesome guide bro, I wish I had this when I still used my consoles.

  4. Wish I never sold my megadrive :( following!

  5. Ya, Game Freak's non-Pokemon games are pretty amazing, it makes me wonder why they just tie them to Pokemon. Another good one is Drilldozer for the GBA.

    And ya, he does look similar to Mega Man, but the gameplay is very different.

  6. I have a great SNES game that I used to play with the SuperScope, it was way more fun than the Wii and I got to stand in front of my TV all day and kill robot bosses, man that was a great game.

  7. It is funny how all old consoles would never break, n64 for like 7 years but 360 cant take 2s years without red ringing :P

  8. Awesome guide lol I love Zero Wing!!

  9. pulseman looks like tons of fun