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Import Question


Atari 5200 Guy

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Hey Atari IO Members!

 

I have been wanting to try to import either a Famicom or Super Famicom since those machine appear to be the cheapest ones to obtain for now.  I am leaning more for a Super Famicom mainly for a few games.  No...I can't read Japanese...yet...but the games I am after I don't think require it (F-Zero, SimCity).  Besides, the SFC looks better to me than the SNES does.  Yea...I was one that saw the Super FC and said, "What the h-e-double hockey sticks" when I seen the Super NES.  

 

Anywho...for about $20 I can get one machine, one controller, and two or three games from a Japanese gaming website.  I understand that shipping takes about 3 to 6 months at the cheapest option and ups the costs more.  My questions relating to my point are:

 

1)  When importing something like this does America charge a tax?

2)  Has any Atari IO member ever imported a Japanese system and can give some heads-up?

3)  Optional:  What games would/did you get for the Super Famicom?

 

I am trying to convince my wife to try to get one since I have a birthday coming up in a few months.  So any pointers or suggestions that might help "seal the deal" I would appreciate it.  

 

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.  I hope I can make this happen.

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There's no reason shipping should take 3 to 6 months if you don't want it to. I've had stuff shipped from Japan in much less time and it's not ridiculously expensive to do. You may also want to compare the cost benefit of buying an import system that's already in the USA, then you avoid these headaches. Some Famicom games, like SMB3, cost less than their American versions. I think you're really gonna enjoy this once you get into it.

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There's no reason shipping should take 3 to 6 months if you don't want it to. I've had stuff shipped from Japan in much less time and it's not ridiculously expensive to do. You may also want to compare the cost benefit of buying an import system that's already in the USA, then you avoid these headaches. Some Famicom games, like SMB3, cost less than their American versions. I think you're really gonna enjoy this once you get into it.

 

I have to admit that a Super NES is not hard to find...but hard to obtain considering the ridiculous prices used gaming stores are asking.  I have noticed a huge price difference between importing a Famicom or a Super Famicom and their games.  F-Zero and Super Mario games especially.  I have also noticed that boxed SFC games seem to be easier to come across than SNES games.  Not that that matters but it is still nice to know that Japanese gamers took good care of their gaming investments...in some ways better than most American gamers.  I know I didn't keep boxes to my games at all except the ones Sega made.  Those boxes were nice.

 

I don't think I have to worry about an A/C Adapter.  I have plenty of extras I have no other use for.  And I have spare A/V cords that the SNES started with.  F-Zero was the reason I wanted, and got, a Super in the first place...so it is on the list of first games to get for a SFC.  I'm still doing homework on other games that I have never heard of before but most of the prices are in the $2 to $4 range...sometimes complete in boxes.

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Hi Kamikaze,

 

It's wonderful that you're venturing into the world of import games! Famicom and Super Famicom have been some of my favorites to play and collect for, along with Neo Geo and PC Engine. I've tried to include them in the forums and it's cool to see another member doing something in that realm.

 

I had the Super Famicom when it first came out in Japan in 1990. It was released very close to my birthday and I was so fortunate to have received one that year that had been brought back for me from Japan. At the time it was a huge deal. I had a Super Famicom under my TV to play with friends nearly a full year before Super Nintendo came out in the United States. I was pretty young at the time and it was hard to explain what "Super Famicom" was and how it was "going to be the next Nintendo" but they were totally blown away every time they came over to play games.

 

Learning to play the games in Japanese was pretty intuitive. You didn't have to learn Japanese or recognize too many Katakana characters to play most games. It was kind of cool that it was in Japanese, but never felt over anybody's head. I wasn't really into Japanese culture the way some "otaku" people are, though I love gaming and this was an extension of that love. With the exception of RPGs and games that involved a lot of text, playing Japanese games was never a problem. However, some of the finest 16-Bit Japanese games ARE RPGs, which I usually just bought the American version of when they became available.

 

Doctor Octagon is correct in his assessment that 3 to 6 months for shipping isn't necessary if you're willing to pursue other options. The slow boat from Japan will get your games to America if you're willing to wait, and you can save a few dollars. In my estimation it's not worth it. Doctor Octagon also suggested looking for a Famicom or Super Famicom already in the US as an alternative, and I would agree that's something to consider. You can find tons of import games on eBay, from other classic game stores, and other gamers looking to trade. I'd be happy to PM you some contact info if you're considering purchasing import games already in the US.

 

To address your questions:

1)  When importing something like this does America charge a tax?

2)  Has any Atari IO member ever imported a Japanese system and can give some heads-up?

3)  Optional:  What games would/did you get for the Super Famicom?

 

 

  1. Yes, sometimes, and the cost will vary depending on the value of what is being shipped. This is also sometimes paid in advance by the exporter (seller) prior to shipping your package. You will want to discuss details with the seller before purchase.
     
  2. YES! I've done this at least once a year for probably the past 22 years. My experience has been mostly pleasant if not time consuming. It's VERY rewarding if you want to have the games you love, sometimes long before they arrive on retail shelves in the US, on a different-looking game system that at first glance appears to have come from an alternate reality. It's really pretty cool. Here's your heads up: if you're just looking to play the Japanese games and not necessarily have the original Japanese systems, you have a few options. A.) The SNES shell can be easily modified to accept Japanese cartridges (see the first video below) and B.) new systems like the Retron 5 play multiple import formats, and because they're new and available domestically they're a good way to get started in the world of import games.
     
  3. My Super Famicom is my every-day SNES. I've had it now for almost 26 years, kept in mint condition with the box and documents (pictured below). It's beautiful! I always LOVED the low-slung look of the Super Famicom compared to the SNES, I thought it was gorgeous. Same goes for the TurboDuo, Neo Geo, and Atari 7800. The games I have for my Super Famicom are the standard bearers of the SNES library: Super Mario World (SMB4), Mario Kart, Pilotwings, StarFox, StarFox 2 (prototype), Super Metroid, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Donkey Kong Country, Mother 2, etc. You can never go wrong with these titles and I know I'll have them in my house for the next 50 years.

 

My_Super_Famicom_on_Moving_Day.jpg

 

 

My other big suggestion for you is to try out PC Engine once you get comfortable with the idea of import games. PC Engine was released in 1987 and is the Japanese version of TurboGrafx-16. Except it's much smaller, and they had so many more amazing games for the system in Japan that never made it here for whatever reason. Tons of great shmups with beautiful graphics, and nice versions of some arcade classics that we had always enjoyed on Atari systems in years prior. Being that the Panther never came out, the PC Engine / TurboGrafx-16 sat nicely under my TV in the spot where a 16-Bit Atari console would have gone.

 

Getting into import games can be disorienting and a bit intimidating if you haven't done it before, but it's really tremendous fun! I started a short video series with our friend Daniel from Lost Ark Video Games as an "introduction to import games" for this very reason. I'll post a couple of videos below, hopefully they'll be helpful to you. Feel free to PM me if you need more detailed assistance, I'm always happy to help!

 

Best wishes on your journey ahead!

Justin

 

PS - It's dangerous to go alone. Take these:

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esWLWBa61HY

 

Introduction to Collecting Nintendo Famicom Games

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6RqUJgR_9k

 

Digging for Famicom Games at Lost Ark

 

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpICGb4LRSc

 

Nintendo AV Famicom Review: The Final Famicom

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I think its awesome to get the original  hardware without a doubt!   But I DID want to mention that you can get a Retron 3 or 5 and play all the japanese titles.   From what I'm told there's even a patch for Retron that will give you English translations.

As for what titles:   The FIRST thing I'd go for is the expensive ones you can't get the American version of without paying 100s of dollars.   NES/SNES games are way more expensive than their Japanese counterparts. 

"For you - Rowsdower from the 70 - have been appointed Omnivisioner of the Game Grid."  ~ Atari Adventure Square

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I think its awesome to get the original  hardware without a doubt!   But I DID want to mention that you can get a Retron 3 or 5 and play all the japanese titles.   From what I'm told there's even a patch for Retron that will give you English translations.

 

As for what titles:   The FIRST thing I'd go for is the expensive ones you can't get the American version of without paying 100s of dollars.   NES/SNES games are way more expensive than their Japanese counterparts. 

 

I'd prefer to have original hardware if I can.  In the case of the Famicom I've noticed how that system's prices are going up.  I'd even take a few junk systems to try to make one good one.  What made me want a Famicom in the first place is for the games America didn't get and the games we did get are cheaper in Japan.  Believe it or not Galaxian is the game that sealed the deal for me.  It's my favorite arcade shooter.  But I am also interested in getting the Disk System to try out Metroid and Zelda games.  Salamander (Life Force) and Gradius II would definitely be on the list as well.

 

I don't mind working on consoles and doing the cleaning up myself.  That part I actually enjoy.  That way I know the system has been cleaned inside and out.  I have had used systems before arrive with bugs in them...still living.  YUCK!!  But, it is to be expected.

 

Justin:  I would very much like to get a PC Engine over a Famicom and Super FC!!  Even the white PC Engine would work for me as long as it has, just like the Famicom, Salamander, Blazing Lazers, and Gradius II.  I've seen those in emulation and I was very impressed!  However, the hardware is not cheap and the games I am after are not much cheaper.  Right now the Super Famicom appears to be the cheaper model of the three and I like it over the SNES.  Also, I watched all three videos and in the Famicom digging video I did spot a few titles I would have enjoyed.  Galaxian, Arkanoid, Tennis, Star Luster, & Load Runner.  His arm was blocking some of those so I couldn't see them real well.

 

So...I'll ask another question.  Not including E-Bay and Amazon are there any American-Based websites where imported systems and games can be obtained?  I've tried Googling it but didn't really find anything.

 

Thank you guys, and gals, for all your help! 

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Justin:  I would very much like to get a PC Engine over a Famicom and Super FC!!  Even the white PC Engine would work for me as long as it has, just like the Famicom, Salamander, Blazing Lazers, and Gradius II.  I've seen those in emulation and I was very impressed!  However, the hardware is not cheap and the games I am after are not much cheaper.  Right now the Super Famicom appears to be the cheaper model of the three and I like it over the SNES.  Also, I watched all three videos and in the Famicom digging video I did spot a few titles I would have enjoyed.  Galaxian, Arkanoid, Tennis, Star Luster, & Load Runner.  His arm was blocking some of those so I couldn't see them real well.

 

So...I'll ask another question.  Not including E-Bay and Amazon are there any American-Based websites where imported systems and games can be obtained?  I've tried Googling it but didn't really find anything.

 

Thank you guys, and gals, for all your help! 

 

 

Super Famicom is a great system to get started with! I think you'll find that you could get started with PC Engine for around the same price. Some of the games may be more expensive, but not all. The market for PC Engine systems varies depending on which console you choose. PC Engine consoles came in multiple models. Some models, like the Super Grafx, or the PC Engine Duo-RX can be quite expensive. Others not so much. I would suggest starting with the PC Engine Core Grafx or Core Grafx II, which is the base PC Engine console upgraded with AV outputs. From there you can expand later on with a Super CD Rom 2 System, etc. You can find a pretty nice Core Grafx console for a good price if you're patient and look around.

 

 

1024px-NEC-PC-Engine-Console-FR.jpg

 

 

1024px-NEC-PC-Engine-Core-Grafx-Console-

 

 

1024px-NEC-PC-Engine-Core-Grafx-II-Conso

 

 

4686837368_09442e2089_b.jpg

 

 

 

 

I would suggest calling Lost Ark Video Games in Greensboro, NC. They are a brick and mortar arcade and game store with a nice selection of import games at fair prices. Daniel, the owner, is a friend of Atari I/O and they were very helpful during our launch. Many of our prizes and giveaways came from there. You can visit them online at http://www.lostarkvideogames.com but I would suggest giving them a call at 336-422-MEGA. Ask for Daniel and let him know you want to get into import gaming, you're looking at Famicom and Super Famicom but would really like to get into PC Engine if you could do it within your budget. I'm sure he'd be happy to help, and it would give you the knowledge you need to move on to your next step  :emoji-E420:

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Well...I was trying to keep it around $20 to $25 since I found this...

 

http://akiba-games.com/catalog/product/view/id/13770/category/243/

 

And then I stumbled across these...

 

http://akiba-games.com/catalog/product/view/id/22422/

 

http://akiba-games.com/catalog/product/view/id/16751/

 

But if I can start with a PC Engine and at least one good shooting game I'd be happy.  I would be happy with the white PC Engine and I could always upgrade to the Core II later.  If the price was right a Famicom with one or two common titles would work if the PC Engine was out of my reach.

 

Thanks for the help and I will contact Lost Ark soon. :thumb:  

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OK...I sent them a message through e-mail.  I don't want to call right now because I want to have my homework done first before I mention this to the wife.  If it sounds sneaky rest assured it's not.  It's sometimes easier if I can approach her about this once I know how much it's going to cost.  I don't usually get to buy video games often so I have to make a good impression when there is something I would like to add to the game room.  

 

So...if I can PC Engine will be first choice followed by Famicom and if those fail then there's the Super Famicom.  I hope this works.   :nintendo_mario_dr_mario:

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That's a killer price on that super-fami

 

I thought it was too.  Shipping that with a controller and two games on the slow boat is $25 more.  And if I have to pay taxes on that then I would have no idea what extra funds I would need.  So I am looking into alternatives.  A little yellow doesn't bother me.  I can take apart a console and soak it in peroxide and oxy solution for a while if I decide to try to remove the yellowing.  

 

Now...I just need to learn how to read Japanese ;)  There are some racing games on the Famicom and Super Fami that are in Japanese only based on the Tamiya cars I use to race when I was a teenager that look fun...but I can't read them LOL.  If all else fails I might could get the adapter to play Famicom games on the NES I have but I really like their hardware.  They are unique and some look better than what we got in the States.  

 

I also like the Famicom because of the controllers being attached.  I don't have to worry about putting controllers in a separate space...it's self-contained which is a good thing considering the space limitations I have.  And the Super Fami design I like better.  The Super NES just looked too fake to me with the two-color scheme it used.  The PC Engine I like because of its size and the TG-16 was nice but felt like there was a lot of wasted space inside the console.  I have also thought about the Twin Famicom systems that Sharp produced since I would also like to play the disk games like Zelda and Metroid.  I also think that Zanac, Gradius, and a few other popular shooters made on the disk format as well.  And I really enjoyed Crisis Force on the Famicom and believe that is one game that the US should have received but never did.

 

I'm definitely interested in expanding my gaming collection to these Japanese systems.  I've even thought about trying to pick up a Japanese 2800 for Atari games ;)  ...Eventually.  But I can't work because I am my wife's full-time caregiver and our only income is very limited.  So if I can budget for anything under $50 to add to my collection then I stand a better chance of picking up new gaming gear.  I am hoping that using the birthday angle will help.   I know that sounds a bit mischievous but I have to make sure I know everything I can to do a presentation-like conversation for my wife to approve.  So...I am hoping and praying I can make this happen.

 

While I'm on the subject...are there any game recommendations for the three Japanese systems I have mentioned so far?  I'm open for suggestions. 

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OK...I've made a back-up plan should the PC Engine plan fail.  My back up plan is to order direct from Japan.  I figure I can use the experience points since I am wanting to dig into import gaming.  With that said...

 

On the website link I have shared in a previous post above I found:

 

  • 1 Super FC Console    $11.35
  • One Controller             $8.68
  • SimCity in box              $1.84

And with just three items the shipping dropped considerably.  They are saying USA/Europe SAL 15/30 days is $21.81 and USA/Europe AIRMAIL 8/15 days is $27.86.  I am posting this for others' feedback.  I would like to know if this seems more reasonable to other members who have done this before.  I have a feeling that I might be able to do the Super FC a bit more than I could any other console at the moment.  I have also considered the option of a FC to NES adapter and just use the NES hardware I already have.  I have even considered eliminating the controller and ordering SNES controllers if they will work with it.  I'd really like original SFC controllers but I am also considering cheaper alternatives.

 

Also, I looked into the Retron 5 consoles and those are way out of my price range for now.  Maybe in the future I can look into this but not now.  That is too expensive for me at this time.

 

I'd like to thank everyone for their feedback on this question.  Everyone's comments and suggestions have been very helpful.  I'm going to "propose" the SFC to my wife later and see what she says.  

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I've been browsing E-Bay even when I said I didn't really want to go through that site but it almost looks like an alternative.  I was browsing when I found this:

 

post-870-0-67098300-1457341234_thumb.jpg

 

From what I understand it's a portable Famicom clone.  Has anyone else here tried one before or know of some one that has?  It's found on E-Bay...and that's where the image came from as well.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Famicom-Nintendo-handheld-portable-white-console-system-Game-Easy-/321773906380?_trksid=p2141725.m3641.l6368 

 

Free shipping on item.  That's always a good thing, right?

 

If nothing else maybe someone else wanting to get into Japanese games like I am trying to do might want this little guy.  I like it!  Then I seen this...

 

post-870-0-42126000-1457341640_thumb.jpg

 

This looks familiar.  It's the same design Yobo used to make the NES clones.  This one has 30 games built-in and looks like it might can use carts as well.  It's hard to tell as there is nothing stating whether it can use carts or not.  Shipping is not free (bummer) and it is used.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/FC-HOME-30-Console-System-Boxed-Famicom-Family-Computer-Tested-JAPAN-Game-0831/311520874121?_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851&_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D35853%26meid%3D361e9a497bfb4d3281fe6f5b2b29e990%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D2%26rkt%3D6%26sd%3D311464411625

 

And there's this model...

 

post-870-0-95715300-1457342466.jpg

 

Doesn't appear to have 30 games built-in but it is using the same design.

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gametech-NEO-FAMI-Console-System-Boxed-Black-Famicom-Family-Computer-Tested-1451/301632343040?_trksid=p2047675.c100009.m1982&_trkparms=aid%3D777000%26algo%3DABA.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D35853%26meid%3Dd79e3e89b15b48f18fb14b4ac988f843%26pid%3D100009%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26sd%3D361306620872

 

I also found this...

 

post-870-0-07626600-1457343908_thumb.jpg

 

This is a dual FC/SFC but it is said that the SFC side is not working.  Hmmm...a possible fixer upper?

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SUPER-FAMICOM-FC-Combo-AV-CONSOLE-Set-Repair-AS-IS-Famicom-JAPAN/182032438249?_trksid=p2047675.c100009.m1982&_trkparms=aid%3D777000%26algo%3DABA.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D35853%26meid%3D4cd57415c07c4cabbe10151cdcd4c82e%26pid%3D100009%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26sd%3D141713055208

 

I am considering the portable versions of the Famicom clones.  You just never know when you might take a road trip.  I found this portable model...

 

post-870-0-85628600-1457344389_thumb.jpg

 

Not a bad looking portable and so far most of the portables I've seen connect to a TV as well...and that's a plus!  Have I bored anyone yet?  Oh...did I mention they have a pink model?

 

post-870-0-26701800-1457344518_thumb.jpg

 

Pink is cool, too, right?  "Hamy"...reminds me of Hamtaro.  And last post on this topic for the night (I promise!) I almost thought about taking a chance on one or two of these:

 

post-870-0-10223400-1457345003_thumb.jpg

 

Yes, they are a little rough and it's a risk as to whether or not they even work.  But I enjoy working on game consoles so this might also be an alternative...maybe.  I know this same seller has SFC consoles for $10 as well.

 

So...that's the list of FC and some SFC alternatives I have found on E-Bay.  All of them are of course shipped overseas and are not within the USA.  I hope this post helps those interested in finding alternatives.  I have noticed an increase in prices on the real hardware since I took interest in imported gaming gear in 2011 I believe.  I'm learning as I post in this topic thread so I'm a newbie to import games as well.  I hope you enjoy this post.

 

 

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You are giving me the bug of buying one of these.  My main issue is that the Japanese games are simply no-where to be found here in town.  At least no place I'm familiar with.  Still, those portable units are mighty tempting. 

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You are giving me the bug of buying one of these.  My main issue is that the Japanese games are simply no-where to be found here in town.  At least no place I'm familiar with.  Still, those portable units are mighty tempting. 

 

I am starting to save up for the first portable I posted :)  Hopefully I will get one before too long.  The urge is still there to get original hardware in the future though...even if I have to repair the thing myself.  If you get one before I do please share what you think about the system.

 

As for games to play on it someone here might chime in on other places to get these games.  Justin already mentioned one place to deal with and I hope that others will share their knowledge if they have any on where more can be located.  I don't mind ordering from Japan if I have to and sometimes the shipping fees don't seem too bad.  I guess it just depends on what you are looking for and who you deal with.

 

I'm also searching online for Super FC alternatives as well.  I just haven't found anything worth posting yet.  Cool stuff to say the least.

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