Saturday, November 21, 2009

Doujin Games Hit the West

Obtaining doujin games legally, for the most part, has been a bit of a hassle. (Read here for more on that.) Recently, a few Western publishers have picked up the ball and started localizing and releasing them outside the country.

Rockin' Android, based in Los Angeles, has already released The Acceleration of Suguri (a one-on-one shooter very similar to Senko no Ronde), QLIONE, and Flying Red Barrel, while the shooter Gundemonium is due out in May. They're nice packages, especially for Suguri and Gundemonium, which contains all of the current sequels and upgrades to them on a single disc, making it much easier than tracking down separate Japanese releases. You can buy physical copies from their store, or download them through Gamersgate or Direct2Drive. The physical release of Suguri is actually quite nice, as it comes in a DVD-style case and contains soundtracks for both games in MP3 format, as well as a printed manual. Considering any of the doujin games I've ever bought rarely even include an installation card, it's a nice deal for $20.

DHM Interactive is a French company that specializes in localizing niche stuff, similar to Atlus. They're bringing over the Ys DS releases (separately, for some reason, instead of the combined version released in the US) but they've also licensed Chantelise and Gunners Heart (also check out the articles for Chantelise and Gunners Heart. For right now, they only seem to offer physical copies, and at 20 euros each, it's a bit pricey for US gamers, working to about $30 each before shipping. (The same company is also releasing a Sengoku Anthology, compiling the trilogy of Neo Geo fighters, but it doesn't seem to have been released in Japan or anywhere else.)

Hopefully these legit releases will gain some traction so we see more of them and maybe one day we'll see the "bigger" names like Touhou or Melty Blood get localized. Due to their somewhat copyright infringing nature, though, it's unlikely that the ones based off other video games and manga (or any of the number of gal games) will ever get localized. (Still, Gunners Heart is based off of Skygunner, so there's always a chance.) I think the biggest obstacle, though, is that the audience for doujin gaming generally coincides with the freeloading anime audience, who most just resort to torrents, which is why the anime DVD market is as dismal as it is. So, if these interest you, these projects are definitely worth supporting.


  1. DHM Interactive is releasing Ys DS games seperately in Europe to cut the cost of translating both games in 5 languages (French, English, German, Italian, and Spanish). It's a small company and translating in that many languages is expensive.

  2. Flying Red Barrel looks alot like Radilgy for the Dreamcast, and that is a good thing. I hope this company does well, because this is a great concept. Too many doujin games never see the light of day outside Japan. Melty Blood, the Touhou shmups, and Akatsuki BK are all wonderful doujin games neglected by overseas publishers. I hope mass piracy doesn't kill this company like so many other good companies (farewell Geneon.)

  3. Rockin Android and Suguri were brought to my attention via kotaku about the time they formed (I think)and I ordered Suguri as soon as I could and what luck it was, it came out in June on my birthday. I enjoy it quite a bit, but lack time to do alotta gaming lately do to school but that said, It was the soundtrack that first caught my attention, I had been listening repeatedly to the couple track up on Rockin Android's site untill I had the game, after witch both suguri and Trancenation of suguri enjoy an undisputed spot on my Ipod. I woulda paid the 20 for the soundtracks alone, but I got 2 soundtracks 2 games, honestly I woulda paid more...maybe I should just send rockin android a check for like 50 bucks....

  4. I'll have to keep an eye open in case the DHM stuff ends up cheap in places like EasyCash here in France.

    Great to see this stuff coming westward - I just wish it ended up on consoles. I'm a bit loathe to play games on my PC.