It's less relevant now which region games were(not) released in 20+ years ago.

“[So and So game] is really great, too bad it was never released in the US”

What does this statement mean anymore in an age where all ROMs from all regions are available online to play for free? To your average person, initial release availability 20-40 years ago is totally irrelevant, because it is available now.

The year is 2006. I'm in the 7th grade. The hype for the release of MOTHER 3 is only visible on the english speaking web in a place called There were famous petitions and large scale annoyance-campaigns for NOA to release the game in english. It was a big deal. To me, it was the biggest deal. I was calling gamestop daily. It was a different time. GBA and NDS were still highly relevant platforms. The Wii was peak hotness.

I got the Mother 3 deluxe box for $300 on ebay. It was the most expensive birthday gift I'd ever asked for. The acquisition of the Mother 3 Deluxe Box was the exact moment my priviledge had peaked. Back then none of my guardians even knew how to use eBay. I lucked out big time. It was also the last time I'd accept any birthday or christmas gifts from said guardians, as I was about to cut them off completely and run away, accepting no money or gifts as they'd try to bribe me back, ignoring phone calls etc. I played through Mother 3 in Japanese, on the Micro using a [translation guide from GameFAQs]( which I had printed out when no one was looking at my school copy machine. I still cried during the ending even while reading a weird stapled together guide! I digress.

2011, the english patch is released to much hype. Yada yada. Nintendo didn't release it. You know the rest.

By the time of the Wii U era, there were still petitions to release Mother 3. At that point, to me, anything would be too little too late. The release of Mother 1 on Wii U virtual console was *cool*, but not as relevant. Again, the phrase for me is always "too little too late". The distinction between an official release and just getting the ROMs yourself was getting blurry. A cartridge release was the goal back then, and cartridges were **out**!

Today, I find it to be totally irrelevant, aside for historical facts and intrigue, and financial significance to the companies in power. From a cultural, entertainment, and artistic standpoint, it's the same that there's no "official" release. The main difference would be for a child or someone who is incapable of using ROMs and emulators being exposed to a game, or whatever sliver of legitimacy is given when a game is released for purchase. Mother 3 isn't playing on Netflix. It takes some dedication to acquire your ROMs rather than being spoon-fed to you by big company X. The width of that margin is arguable, and is argued all over the place by games industry folk. It's their margin of profit, after all.

The distinction between the US title of _Final Fantasy III_ and Japanese counterpart _Final Fantasy VI_ has all but vanished, with subsequent rereleases outnumbering (pun) the original release. The distinction is only there for discussing the limited physical release from 1996. As time goes on, the definitive version of that game is called *Final Fantasy VI*.

So now, when someone says "too bad it was never released in the United States", my thought is that, sure, it would have been cool 30 years ago, but doesn't really matter now. In this context, someone who has no memory of pre-internet age, can't say "too bad I never got to play [so-and-so game]." They say "too bad it was never released stateside." The latter statement has a different meaning.

...Unless there's still no fan translation, in which case, pragmatically speaking I would say it's too bad it's still not in my language that I know how to read.

I think as time goes on, the original JP release will be the definitive version from an artistic standpoint, and what people play will usually come down to language, but zoomers playing roms and whatever aren't going to need to know that FFIII was FFVI. It's just FFVI now.

My bias is that I always prefer the original Japanese release from the point of pure, uncensored artistic expression. If the US version or other later releases have changes made by the director/creator then that takes precedent, but the typical user of this forum understands how rare that was. I'm speaking in general terms here. As time goes on, things congeal into place. I think that the distinction will be less compulsory as it is today.

As time goes on, the original artistic expression will be what's valued. We already have people translating Japanese cartridges to their language of choice en masse, because it's ideal. Sometimes the western box art is cooler, but for the most part, it's really not, lol. Maybe these video games won't matter once all us 80's/90's kids are dead, but the "definitive" version of stuff is becoming clearer, and it's usually whatever is most "true to the original creator's intent".

I wrote this because I'm noticing a bell curve with people always having to say _"Final Fantasy III, or, in Japan, Final Fantasy VI"_. It's definitely my idealism/pragmatism/first principles/autism/whatever you wanna call it, but even back in 2006 I was annoyed how _every time_ they'd say _"Earthbound/Mother2"_ on forums, like, _just say Mother 2!! Everyone here knows what you're talking about!! If they don't know they can google it!!_

Today, I heard someone say for the one millionth time "too bad this was never released stateside, because it's really fun!" in regards to a game from 1994. My thought was, "well, you know that because you had fun playing it, right?"
Maybe it would be more culturally significant or widely known, but, there's tons of game-enjoyers out there shouting on the internet about their most obscure favorites.

Thanks for reading. I'm enjoying my new keyboard. This was easier than finishing one of my 26 drafted thread ideas. Hopefully it didn't come off as a rant or mean to anyone in particular. I'm just interested in the way things are gonna be one hundred years from now, and looking forward to the day we no longer have to fully type out MOTHER2/Earthbound. Just say Mother 2, unless you specifically mean the version where Ness keeps his PJ's on in Magicant. The distinction will become less compulsory, and these games will just be regarded for what they were rather than the politics surrounding the release.

I think it‘s fun to speculate about in an alternate reality butterfly effect way. The smallest thing can make something a scene or an inspiration for future games, and when something didn’t get ported in the early 90s emulation wasn‘t an alternative yet so the lack of a port of a genre defining game in one country into another did have ripple effects. Japan still hasn’t widely adopted the dual analog 3D game control scheme because the Xbox failed there. King of Fighters is still more popular than Street Fighter throughout most of the Americas because the MVS could hold 4 games to the CPSII‘s 1. What would Rage of the Dragons be like if Evoga had been into Capcom games? If Fire Emblem and Famicom Wars were released stateside in the 80s, could Heroes of Might and Magic have ended up being a console game? If Shin Megami Tensei had been the go to Christmas present in 1992 USA, would the USA still have wizardrylikes like Japan does? We’ll never know and it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things, but I do wonder how things could be different if things were different.

As a PAL person, almost all of my ROMs are US or JP in order to have the original 60Hz versions. As far as I'm concerned, nothing was released over here. As soon as I discovered emulators the 90s I sold my 50Hz consoles and decided to exclusively play NTSC ROMs through emulators. I bought a TV-out card for my PC, played through the TV with adaptors and USB controllers, and got what was arguably a more authentic experience than all the hardware and cartridges I had just sold.

This had the added benefit of introducing me to the NES library, as I never had one. Nobody in the UK did!

Despite living in a small town, I was fortunate enough to have an import-friendly game shop nearby who got me US and JP version games for my modded PlayStation. The only PAL games I would play on it were ones that they couldn't get for me or the few with PAL60 modes. Importing became less necessary on the PS2 and GameCube as even the games with no PAL60 were optimised well enough for it not to be an issue. Now they’re all just US (and JP) ISOs and ROMs on a big hard drive and I don’t have to worry about it.

I‘m not sure if I’ve ever said “too bad it never came out in English” but I‘ve certainly thought it, and in most cases the actual meaning would be "too bad this wasn’t readily available to me in English when it was first released, because back then I actually would have had enough time to play and enjoy it, unlike now where I don't have enough time to even play the game, let alone the extra time to find out how to download/patch it"


@“treefroggy”#p46508 Maybe these video games won’t matter once all us 80’s/90’s kids are dead, but the “definitive” version of stuff is becoming clearer, and it’s usually whatever is most “true to the original creator’s intent”.

`*`glares in Barthes and Benjamin`*`

(For context, I'm just now coming off researching an article on speculation in retro video games and how their aesthetics inform it, and the idea of "the original creator's intent" is playing a big role in it.)

@"billy "#p46572 Have you read Kimimi‘s recent article about PAL gaming history? I also am from a PAL territory and it resonated with me, but I wonder if you’ll have a different opinion.

For me, “[Game] is really great, too bad it was never released in [local region]” means “If this had been released at the time more people could have enjoyed it in the context it was intended to be played in” “If it had been available it would have given people the option of having a broader gaming palate” “I personally would have liked this game to be readily available and easy to recommend to others, because I think they would‘ve had fun with it if they could’ve played it”.

A lot of people _have_ ROMs but I find few people _play_ them for any great length of time and even less really bother to sort out patches, etc. I also find in that disconnected emulation environment it's so much harder (but not impossible) for people to see how impressive a particular 1990 programming trick was, or how much of an imaginative outlier a game was when it's blandly alphabetised with literally hundreds if not thousands of other titles. To crib from MGS 2: We may have control of the content, but what we need to create is _context_.

Had no idea what kind of replies to expect but all were interesting to hear. My replies ahead are all digressions from my point, but this thread was basically my finger aerobics on my new keyboard so I'll just carry on…

Nowadays, there are times I think "damn, this US version of the game from the 90's diminishes the experience, but no one has made a fan translation or delocalization patch because it's already in English and they don't see much of a need to". Thankfully, especially in 2020 a lot of games were re translated, like Ganbare Goemon 1. It's an inevitability that more of these will come out, so I'm not complaining, really, just describing this middle point in time between the initial release and the singularity where everything is everyone and all are one language and government and all games of all times are available in the one true tongue. (that's a joke)

I totally agree that games are more impressive on hardware than emulation. It's context that so many lack, and creates the "I don't see why this is so great" attitude towards anything that isn't regarded as an immensely fun and smooth experience.

Cover art goes a long way to add context. It's so important. It's like picking up a movie or a book. The cover says *a lot* about a game, moreso of retro games. It can be totally misleading, but tells you what you're supposed to *feel* when you play the game. It sets up your expectation.

On the subject of broadening palettes or swaying the past, I probably wouldn't be as fanatical about retro games if they were always in the mainstream, like closer to how they're regarded in Japan. Because it took footwork and research to uncover these things, I hold it more closely.

@“rejj”#p46670 I have now!

While I agree that these versions should be archived and catalogued, I don't think we need to 'respect' them, and I definitely don't want to play them. Most of them were released in the state they were out of a fundamental disrespect (or at the very least ambivalence) for anyone not living in Japan or North America. While there are outliers like games with additional PAL content or those never released elsewhere, or even those where it's the PAL version that's better optimised (hi Codemasters), in the vast majority of cases I'm happy playing an NTSC version.

The article also refers to NTSC refresh rates as 'luxuries' in the UK, but I had some pretty crappy TVs as a kid, and every one of them supported NTSC (or PAL60) to some extent so I'm not sure how common PAL-only TVs actually were beyond RF-only models that were mostly extinct by the 80s. By the 90s I'm pretty sure there was no such thing as a PAL-only TV. Not sure if this was also true for SECAM TVs.

What I will concede is that this position is just fine for me as an English speaker, but if you're looking to play a game in another European language, you may have no choice but to stick with the PAL version unless you get lucky and the US version had Spanish or French options. Even then, were NTSC French localisations normally Canadian French? Je ne sais pas.

@"billy "#p46697 I am actually very curious as to the history of European releases having to have the 5 language options in them. I feel like I mostly became aware of it though importing GBA and especially DS games. I also wonder if it is mostly a Nintendo mandate. Its just such a major extra step to getting a game released and yet at a certain point it become more and more common.

i had drafted something that got lost somehow. anyway, the main people i knew to be jrpg heads over here in PAL land got started on PS1 because we missed out on stuff like FF6 and Earthbound. when we got smash bros melee, Ness was for the longest time “that little prick from some game i can't play if i wanted to” but marth and roy were “cool guys from some game i can't play if i wanted to”

i really think we (or maybe just i) could have done with a few more of those games coming here and having had a lasting impact.

A big part of the worldwide obsession with GAME BOY was that it had no region locking, and everyone was playing on the same screen at the same speed.

@“Syzygy”#p46835 Sorry I wasn‘t clear; What I had in mind when I wrote that post was my own personal experiences of the modern, uh, ROM-ers(?) I’ve encountered - people who buy a Pi, hack a Switch, or do whatever it is the cool people are doing, boast about loading up an SD card with ROMs and then play SNES Street Fighter II for 5 minutes. I didn‘t mean to imply (not that intention changes the fact I came across poorly) that ROMs were not used for entertainment, were not played to completion, or that playing games via ROMs/emulation hadn’t been around for a long time.

I didn‘t respond or bring up people who don’t play games they have access to. If someone doesn‘t play their games, no matter the form from .exe’s to cartridges, cd‘s to ROMs, it’s their personal problem. Gaming is a hobby you have the right to opt out of. Similar to what I said about original release not mattering– just the same, the format in which you play the games will become less relevant over time as well. It was always ROMs anyways– some ROMs were just burned to PROM IC‘s and put into a cartridge, lol. When there’s perfect CRT emulation and proper japanese original box and manual with translations associated with the roms, then everything will be irrelevant. Then some people will have the same issue and never play them despite owning them.

@“Kimimi”#p46838 I imagine a lot of that comes down to how much you can download in such a small space of time - an SNES or Genesis ROM set clocks in at around 800 MB, if memory serves. It‘s when you’re working with CD based systems and slowly downloading games one at a time so as to not look incredibly shady to your ISP (and because you only have so much room on your hard drive) that you start to develop more of a personal connection with each game. I‘m speaking from experience on this one, as I’ve been slowly building a digital collection of obscure stuff I can play on my homebrewed PS2 and Wii.

Don't know if this is the proper place to voice this thoughts but for a long time I used to consider emulation a surrogate of something else that was the real desirable thing. The idea of an established canon or academia, an institution or recognized group of individuals that validated and put forward studies that supported videogame history, something like a group of videogame historians or archaeologists that would legitimize the past and the development of the medium.

Since then I've done a 180º turn and now think that is the worst that could happen. Emulation, open source projects and regular user level preservation efforts is, actually, the absolute best thing that could have ever happened. It has factually and tangibly democratized videogame history to a degree that no "accomplished and reputable" organization could have been ever be able to reach. Absolutely everyone can access whole videogame catalogs and you don't even need a super powerful device to be able to do that, I can imagen thousands of people on underdeveloped countries being able to play cool Genesis, PC Engine or Dreamcast games with very little effort using Retroarch or whatever solution.

Capitalism and its obsession with the perpetual present, chasing the novelty and its extreme focus on selling only the hot new stuff has essentally gifted the whole world free access to videogame history. The fact that the videogame industry forgets every game with more than 5 years old ever existed is an absolute miracle if you think about the whole on these terms.

The only real problem concerning all these issues is the "mental barrier" most people have because by pure force of habit. People are not used to emulating or caring about all these topics, but I truly believe that with a good enough effort, platforms like Patreon, Twitch, Discord or this very forum can contribute to build interest and make a lot of people start caring about the past.

@“Video_Game_King”#p46901 I still curate my games for cartridge systems with the same amount of love and go through full romsets for each region multiple times, adding to the root folder for better organization down the line. Also, full sets of disc images are becoming available for download, thanks for REDUMP and