So you want to import videogames from other countries but don’t know how. But you have no idea how to get a hold of them. Well, my friend it’s much easier than you think. But there are some things to consider. Where are you going to buy them? How much can I get them for? Are there enough copies available? Can I get them cheaper somewhere else? And most importantly, how am I going to play it on my “region specific” system? Fear not, these are easy to answer.
But first, what game do you want? You have to be very specific when finding the game you want. Why? Well, when it comes to importing, some Japanese games have some really long names. For instance, I have a game called “Asuka Gaiden” for the Dreamcast, but it’s full name is “Fushigi no Dungeon Furai no Asuka Gaiden.” Crazy isn’t it? Finding the game you want can be difficult you do not know its full name. So do a little research before you go hunting at an online import specialty store. By the way, that is next thing on the agenda, which is where to get your games.
Online videogame stores are your best chance at finding the game you want. Some of the best and most respected Online importing good stores include Nation Console Support (NCS for short), Videogame Depot, Ebay and Videogame Liquidators. NCS and Videogame Depot are the best online stores for finding that hard to find game. Both have huge libraries of games, they have tremendous service and they are very well respected. Those are the most important things before ordering a game online. NCS is well known for their fast shipping and getting their games in as quickly as possible. I can also vouche as I have repeatedly bought from them many times. Videogame Depot is well known for their easy menu layout on their website and really cheap prices.
Now there are some companies that can screw you over on and it’s best to avoid them. One company, Buy-rite games, has done this to me a couple of times with their over priced games, their slow and very expensive shipping methods and unhelpful customer service. I once ordered a game from there and after a month, I found that the game was temporarily sold out and they were waiting for the next shipment. What upset me the most is how they cashed my payment without even having the game in stock. So I called them up and fought with them to get my money back. I haven’t ordered from them since. In fact last I checked, they went out of business.
Pricing is very simple. Just check every site that sells the game you want. This also includes comparing shipping prices. If you find one is selling the game cheaper with reasonable shipping prices than it’s a no brainer. But sometimes a very rare game like Ikaruga, can be hard to find and a bit pricey when you do locate it. Be sure to keep a lookout for rare games on Ebay. Ebay can be an excellent source for finding almost whatever game you’re looking for but bidding can get expensive as well. I managed to get a game of Guilty Gear X for $30 cheaper than Buy-Rite Games asking price. But be prepared to do battle with hundreds of other people who want that same game.
Now the biggest problem for importers is the regional lockouts built into each gaming console, you can’t just pop in the disc/cartridge and start playing. Due note that most handheld gaming devices don’t have region lock, but it doesn’t hurt to double check. Now first to play your new imports you’ll need one of either two methods. The first method includes putting a chip into your console that modifies your system and bypasses the regional settings. This is what we call a “Mod Chip.” Installing a mod chip is illegal and will void your system warranty.
You can order them online and install them yourself but that can be hazardous and you could make a mistake. And if you make a mistake, you can’t have it sent in for repairs because your warranty will be voided. Now if you are unsure about installing the mod chip yourself, you can usually mail your system to an online import shop and they will do it for you. But that can be expensive. Now the other method includes using a boot disk that can bypass the regional block and allow you to play almost all import games. Due note the phrase almost. Some games have been shown to not work properly with a boot disc. Also this method does not void your system’s warranty and it’s a whole lot cheaper than getting a mod chip installed.
Of course there is a third modding option and it’s mostly for this current generation of consoles but was introduced on the original xbox. This new form of modding is called bios modding or softmods. This allows you to install a brand new OS on the consoles which will not only allow you to play imports but install games onto your consoles harddrive. However I will not suggest such a method as the game companies continue to provide updates for their systems which will not only render the softmod useless but lock your system and ban your accounts.