Friday, April 13, 2012

Using Friends to "Smuggle" Import Games

As you know, K and I are totally addicted to Capcom's Monster Hunter series, which is hugely popular in Japan. It's like the US equivalent of... the Harry Potter franchise. It's more than a video game; it's a cultural phenomenon. Unfortunately, Monster Hunter is not as mainstream here in America, so not every game in the series makes it across the ocean. The last release in the US was Monster Hunter Tri for the Wii in 2010 (remember K's monster hunting nest?), and since then, Capcom has released 3 expansion variants in Japan.

With only rumors of possible ports to America, what are desperate fans like us supposed to do? Importing a Japanese game would cost about $65-70 (including shipping), so we were going to forget about it. Then we found out a friend was booking a tour of Japan... ^____^

The tour guide pointed him to a video game store within walking distance of his hotel in Narita. (As you can see, the XBox 360 is not prominently featured because it's not considered one of the top gaming platforms in Japan.)

Even with a very poor understanding of English, the cashiers were able to communicate with our friend using only a calculator and finger pointing. (I can't tell, but is that 6 floors of video games??)

Hmm, I wonder if that mother is buying that game for her kid or herself...

Success!! Two copies of Monster Hunter Portable 3rd for K and me at only $33 each. (I can't believe Japan has already released the "Greatest Hits" version of it.)

Too bad we have to wait until his return in May to receive our payload. Still, it was such a pleasant surprise to receive these pictures as proof. I'd love to go to Japan myself someday, so then it'll be my turn to bring back "rare" Japanese goodies! ^_^


Stephanie said...

Ryan and my brother Corey like playing Monster Hunter too! They always have so much fun when they play together :) I know they were disappointed when the newer ones weren't released in North America too :( Japan always has the coolest stuff!

A Gamer's Wife said...

I totally agree! It's my dream to visit Japan someday. I better pack an empty suitcase just to bring home all the swag...