Wonderswan/color - dive in?

I‘ve always been a big GBA-head, and have glanced off of looking at Wonderswan and Wonderswan color possibilities in the past. Being in Japan presently I literally can walk to Hard-off and buy one any time, but am not really keen on having something that I won’t ever pick up and play. Japanese is OK for basic navigation, but I am unlikely to actually grind through anything too text heavy. Also not really dying to play a port of a Final Fantasy or fighting game.

I'd love to hear from people more in the know about the system: outside of long text-heavy games, what is cool and weird on this system? I imagine that there have to be some games that do something with the two orientations, but I'm a total novice. If you want to just point me towards a good resource, that's cool too! Thanks for the input!

Gunpey is great. There are a few different versions of Gunpey but the original is my favorite and also probably still the cheapest version.

Dicing Knight and Judgement Silversword are both very good if you can dig up a flash cart somewhere, but are prohibitively expensive otherwise.

There‘s a lot of great stuff but the console leans japanese heavy, and hugely leveraged Bandai’s anime connections for its titles, so if you‘re not into early 2000s anime (one of the worst eras for the medium I’d say) you might be put off by that as well.

The other unfortunate thing is these days all the stuff that is at least somewhat english friendly is expensive, precisely for reasons like you're mentioning above.

Anyway, here's a list of good games.

Makaimura - it's got special vertical stages and is basically an entirely new makaimura... not sure who actually made it but it's pretty cool.

Clock Tower - one of my favorite versions of the game - it has a few extras vs the snes version, which eventually got incorporated into the PS1 version which is kind of fun. The greyscale really adds to it in my opinion.

Dicing Knight. An ARPG that came from the wonderwitch competition. It's beyond anyone's reach price-wise but is good.

Judgment Silversword. Legitimately excellent vertically scrolling shooter (there should've been more of these) with unlocks over time. It's very much a 1cc type of thing and definitely a game you can get better at.

Rockman and Forte. An okay megaman game, but I only really like megaman 8 so what do I know.

Rockman exe. As above, but in color.

One Piece Battle Colosseum. A smash bros-like but with moves that take a lot longer, so it's a bit slower paced. Also no knocking people of the edge of the screen.

Guilty Gear Petit 1 and 2. Tiny guilty gears, pretty good.

Pocket Fighter. It's pocket fighter, but black and white. works fine, but the controller isn't great for fighting games if you've played stuff on an NGP.

Tane wo maku tori. It's a puzzle game about guiding water droplets to make plants grow. I like it! It's kind of underappreciated and it's cheap.

Gunpey. Good puzzle game. For whatever reason I like the original Gunpey more than Gunpey EX, the color one. Tarepanda Gunpey is also fine.

Kaze no Klonoa. Another cool game where you switch between vertical and horizontal. It's a pretty decent Klonoa!

Rhyme Rider Kerorikan. A weird diagonally-scrolling game from nanaon-sha, which I quite like. I played this one a bunch back in the day.

Final Lap 2000. This is one of the few pseudo 3D games on wonderswan. It's not the very best but it's fun to see them try that stuff on here.

Magical Drop/puzzle bobble/puyo 2. It's those games, but they're on here now!

Macross: True Love Song. A tactics RPG/dating sim. You need japanese language to appreciate it but it is a good mix of genres.

Rainbow Islands. Vertical, original rainbow islands game. also expensive.

Mister Driller. It's mister driller!

Riviera. This got ported to other stuff but it remains at its coolest on the wonderswan in my opinion. Original non-licensed wonderswan RPGs are tough to come by anyway.

Star Hearts. Cheap action RPG but you do need some japanese knowledge.

Uhhhh that's what I can think of right now!

More and more Wonderswan translations have been popping up in the last year or so, in other words get a flash cart

@exodus#26366 may have beaten me to the punch, but I still want to offer my own take on the Wonder Swan:

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    Browsing through my ROM set, the first thing that sticks out to me is that this system was a dumping ground for spin-offs from much larger franchises. As far as video game franchises go, you‘ll want to look at Capcom, for Mega Man (stick with EXE; there’s a classic Mega Man platformer, but it‘s middling at best) and Ghosts 'n Goblins; and Square, if you want enhanced ports of their previous work. Yea, those are going to be text-heavy RPGs, but worst case scenario, you’re following along with a game script from GameFAQs.

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    Now why did I specify "as far as video game franchises go" earlier? Because this system also had a billion anime spin-offs, ranging from _Hunter x Hunter_ to _Naruto_ to _Digimon_ etc. The only games I have any actual experience with, though, are the _Gundam_ tie-ins - specifically, _Seed_ and _SD Gundam_. (And even then, _SD Gundam_'s the only one I've played beyond the first few minutes.) Both of them are fairly standard as far as anime spin-off games are concerned: they capture all the exciting battles from the anime, but they also significantly flatten the larger narrative because they aren't equipped to capture anything beyond those battles.

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    I forgot about _Klonoa_. Go check that out; it's a very relaxed puzzle platformer affair.

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    _Rhyme Rider Kerorikan_...this is one of those games you're either going to love or hate, which I feel is par for the course with NanaOn-Sha (see: _MojibRibbon_). The diagonal perspective isn't too much of an issue, though. The real problem is knowing when to time your inputs isn't the most intuitive thing in the world. This isn't to say there's nothing worthwhile to take from the game; just that you're definitely gonna have to work for it.

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    _Wild Card_...OK, I swear not all of the interesting stuff for the Wonder Swan is text-based, but a lot of the text-based stuff for the Wonder Swan is itself pretty interesting. If I remember correctly, it's Square trying to bring a tabletop narrative-building experience to a digital setting.

  • For my money I like any wonderswan game that plays with the aspect ratio, and I try to get all of those (though a few are out of my reach - luckily I got judgment silversword when it was $60), but there are a lot of weird games on there. In another thread I mentioned just how many horror games there are (though some are visual novels):

  • - Uzumaki: Noroi Simulation
  • - Uzumaki: Denshi Kaiki Hen
  • - Clock Tower
  • - Terrors (horror visual novel)
  • - Terrors 2 (the only one that's in color!)
  • - Ring: Infinity
  • - Chou-Denki Card Battle - Youfu Makai (debatably - this is a horror-themed card game)
  • on that last one, there's not much video on the internet, but these few seconds totally sold me: https://youtu.be/jKnz-NtAnFY?t=92

    @exodus#26390 Wow, those are some of the most unsettling few seconds of monochrome game footage I‘ve seen–that sudden grotesque Nidhogg-lookin’ worm‘s appearance and that weird foreboding music are really something. Now I have to know, does it live up to this (assuming you’ve played the game)?

    oh man I bought one of these back in 2013 when I went to Japan for the first time! I got a cool boxed game with it too lol. Seriously, Wonderswan was like one of the two main things I wanted to buy on my trip, with the other being clothes from Uniqlo lol


    unfortunately the thing doesnt work... I wonder if the sticker says anything about the device's functionality? becoz I can't read it lol.

    I've always been telling myself to buy another one, but it's been 8 years and I still haven't done it >_< in 2018 I went to Portland Retro Gaming Expo and the Pink Gorilla table had a large handful of them for sale!! Unfortunately they were doing cash only so I was unable to buy one then

    one day I swear tho I'll get one! lol

    @p3ters#26437 I got one from Pink Gorilla on their twitch sales but unfortunately screen is pretty faded with scratches on the lens…… Not really usable. Might try replacing polarizing film.

    @p3ters The sticker just says “big scratches on screen” - too bad it doesn't work! If you live around the bay area @milo can fix it for you (for a fee of course)

    @kory I'm returning the sun damaged one I just got so I don't know yet! I didn't want to open the box given that I'm returning it. But I'll get one eventually and let you know! It's some sort of weird card game thing so I'm sure it's all about the mood, which we can pretty much see in these few seconds here.

    @KennyL pink gorilla is a good place to do it! Kelsey and I are pretty much vying for "knows the most about the wonderswan" over here. I'd say she knows more about it but I've played further into more of the games? Probably? She might have me beat there too, but I don't think she speaks japanese.

    We had the REAL unfortunate circumstance of missing out on the wonderwitch version of dicing knight last year. I saw it in a lot of wonderswan games on ebay, and was like... what's with this cover variant of dicing knight!? it wasn't even mentioned in the listing. I looked it up and realized it was the very very limited early version put out directly from the wonderwitch competition. It's not dumped anywhere. I realized this at 2 AM with 6 hours left to go on the auction. I didn't have the money to keep bidding though! I bid up to $300, was the top bidder at the time, and sent kelsey a DM late at night being like - if you get up before 8 AM, please bid on this,

    She got up at 7:30 and didn't check her DMs til 8:30, and we lost it. It went for $600, and has disappeared into the ether once again, and remains undumped. BTW by selling the other games in the auction I could've gotten $300 back, and afforded it that way. Feh!!!

    It is a bad story!

    @exodus#26442 I‘d love to go to Pink Gorilla but it’s too far from where I live…. I watched all of WS Queen Kelsey's Wonderswan videos haha. She sure hard sold me on one. Please have Frank bring her on the pod!

    Yeah, we'll get her on there eventually!

    Terrors has vocal song which is pretty damn rare for carts of the era. Vocal kicks in a bit into the song.


    WS sounds pretty lo-fi but clean version sounds nice!

    The wonderswan is ridiculous. They really tried a lot of stuff. There's black and white fmv on this thing! (I guess they tried that on game boy too though)

    Y‘all did practically name all the best games, but there’s one that no one talks about that is really good:

    Digital Monster Wonderswan Ver.

    It is the Wonderswan equivalent of the criminally underrated Tamagotchi trilogy for the gameboy. Digital Monster, before the anime, similarly to pokemon before the anime, was a lot more violent and edgy. No digi-destine to be found here, just one of the best monster raising sims to be found. Later on the Tamagotchi and Digital Monster series of video games would stop going for a realistic simulation of the virtual pet in favor of mini game collections and anime-based titles respectively. The games for Gameboy and this first Wonderswan outing deliver something that's essentially a tamagotchi with more features than any stand alone virtual pet ever had. Being able to turn it off is also a plus. They all had great sound and graphic design. The Tamagotchi games weirdly share sound effects with the Kunio-kun gameboy games too!

    A killer app for Wonderswan that requires almost no Japanese whatsoever.

    I think because of its reputation amongst gamers, there's a lot of awesome games people have yet to discover for this system. There's also this [software development kit](https://wonderswan.fandom.com/wiki/WonderWitch), which means tons of homebrew none of us will probably ever play because it's been lost.

    Thanks for all the input everyone!

    Last night I scrolled through some "all wonderswan color games" video, and the 5 seconds of Dicing Knight really caught my eye, so good to hear other people's interest, but also a bummer to hear its scarcity.

    That digimon catches my interest just because of my experience with the digital pet - I definitely had a digimon digital pet back in the day of gigapets and tamagotchi. I could never get certain evolutions because many required battle against an opponent, which of course there were none.

    I'll start keeping my eyes open at shops to get a sense of prices on the ground for those games, even if they're more Japanese heavy. Seems also like flashcart supply is rather short at the moment. Is the primary source Flash Masta? I also read about some sort of writable cart that could only hold one game at a time, the largest being needed to write Dicing Knight. Any other flashcart possibilities out there?

    @MDS-02#26471 Kevin Mellot, who is making the Virtual Boy flash cart is apparently working on one. You can sign up for the Flashmasta mailing list and usually you get a good heads up on when they will be in stock


    I missed a lot of wonderswan games that went for $30 that had a copy of then-undumped Tenori-On for Wonderswan. Would rather play Dicing Knight, but that Tenori-On was like a one in a million find and I slept through the end of it.

    Also if anyone makes a flashcart for these things that can support multiple saves at the same time without overwriting them that would be killer imo.

    I‘d echo many of the recommendations listed so far. It’s awesome to find people that are not only aware of the WS but have also PLAYED the games on the original hardware. I got my first one (an original) in 2000 so I could play Beatmania and I got a Crystal on release. It was my go to portable for years, that single AA battery was a life-saver when I was living on $30 a week in college.

    Some games I would recommend that I haven't seen suggested:

  • - _Engacho!_ which is a cool puzzle game that is very friendly to those that do not speak Japanese.
  • - _Kidou Senshi Gundam_- three volumes, all of which play similarly. I don't know a lick of Japanese but I worked my way through these. I found the battles really engaging and the art was beautiful on that screen.
  • - _Ganso Jajamaru-kun_- Not a WS original but a darn fun game
  • I love the _Klonoa_ series so I've played through that game many times, How cool is it that the WS game was the second in the series and changed the look and feel to work on a portable and this carried on to the much more popular GBA version?!

    _Gunpey_ also started on this little system and anyone looking to play an amazing (and unfortunately soon to be delisted) version should look into the PSP version. _Riveria_ too! I nearly forgot

    Loved _Rhyme Rider Kerorikan_ and playing it over that small speaker :)

    I would recommend Yanic Magnan's WS videos. Such a shame he stopped going through the collection.