6 Great Systems That Never Reached The UK
Many of you will have lusted over the excellent games that, for one reason or another, never received UK releases. Some of you will have taken the plunge and imported them. But what happens when the entire machine isn’t available locally? Most often, we simply don’t bother. So here are six great machines you almost certainly missed out on when they came out – for many of you, they’ll be a brand new retro frontier…
Sega’s first ever entry into the console market was an odd duck – released in 1983, it compared well with the recent crop of American consoles, including the ColecoVision and Atari 5200. However, it had the misfortune of launching on the same day as Nintendo’s Famicom, which had more advanced hardware at the same price and quickly overtook it. The console was supported for a few years in Japan but made no impact in the few markets it was exported to. However, the computer version of the console – the SC-3000 – gained some popularity in Australia and New Zealand.
Still it’s well worth checking out Sega’s home console debut – almost 100 titles are available for it and the Master System is backwards compatible (though you’ll need an import adaptor if you’re using a Western model).
If you’ve been playing Steins;Gate recently, you might recognise this one. Sharp’s incredibly advanced computer launched in Japan in 1987 and put pretty much every other machine on the market to shame – though at an eye-watering price of ¥369,000 (just shy of £2,000), it absolutely needed to.
The computer became famous for astonishingly accurate conversions of arcade games such as Fantasy Zone, Space Harrier, R-Type, Strider and Street Fighter II, as well as more original software such as Konami’s Akumajo Dracula (better known as Castlevania Chronicles in the West). With such an excellent reputation for games, the machine has retained a high price – you’ll need to fork out at least £250 to get one today.
Designed by the former Nintendo engineer and Game Boy inventor Gunpei Yokoi, the WonderSwan took the power-efficient design principles of the original machine to the extreme – the original monochrome machine could get about 20 hours of battery life from a single AA battery! The later WonderSwan Color and SwanCrystal added colour screens, though the latter model is the one to go for.
The machine was attractive to Japanese developers, with Final Fantasy, Ghosts ‘N Goblins, Mega Man, Mr Driller and Guilty Gear games all making appearances. The machine also featured a lot of big names from the anime, manga and toy industries thanks to Bandai’s licensing power, including One Piece, Inuyasha, Gundam, Dragon Ball, Uzumaki and Digimon.