Foreign Wrap-Up: WonderSwan Edition

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

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WonderSwan | Retro Wrap-Up

As niche game fans, it doesn’t surprise us much when a game is never released in the West. But, there have been times when an entire game system never makes it out of Japan. One such system was the WonderSwan.

The WonderSwan was a handheld game system initially released in 1999 and ran until 2003. It was created by Gunpei Yokoi, the man who designed Nintendo’s Game Boy. Being manufactured and released by Bandai, many of the games on the systems were based on anime franchises they owned, such as Digimon, Gundam, InuYasha, and so on. The system also had some third-party support, most notably in the form of Squaresoft providing ports of the earlier Final Fantasy titles.

Unfortunately, at that time there was a flooded market for portable consoles. Not only did Nintendo’s Game Boy Color–and later Game Boy Advance–lead the way, SEGA’s Game Gear was still active, as well as the Neo Geo Pocket Color from SNK. The WonderSwan just couldn’t get enough of a market share to earn a Western release, and eventually it faded away.

So, this week the oprainfall Retro Commercial Research Team–in other words, me–dug up some delightfully Japanese TV advertisements related to this forgotten handheld classic.

Here are the highlights from the past week:




Also, don’t forget to check out Operation Recap on our YouTube channel for an alternate take on this week’s news.

And, as always, if you have any ideas or suggestions for retro commercials, let us know either through Facebook, Twitter, or just leave a good old-fashioned comment below.

About Eric Chetkauskas

Eric has been playing video games for longer than he can remember. His interests skew toward retro games with an emphasis on Japanese RPGs like Chrono Trigger and the Dragon Quest series.

  • Marcus J. Hopkins

    I have a WonderSwan Color and Crystal, and have to say, my biggest complaint is that it’s just too damned hard to see. I’ve tried every type of light source from every angle, and it’s like reading skywriting at night.

  • Razorfall

    The wonderswan is a treasure chest full of No Export for You titles.

    One of my favorite games is a game called Harobots. It’s pretty much a pokemon clone with a Super Robot Wars cast of Mons.

    Unfortunately the sequels weren’t that great, but the first game is definitely a fun game.