Over the past few years, Nintendo has been gaining popularity for porting and releasing our favorite classic games on their newest consoles. They hopped onto the retro trend with popular platforms like the Nintendo DS and Wii, but what was made available usually focused on Nintendo’s own consoles, with a small amount of focus on platforms like the Sega Genesis or Turbographx-16. This has also provided an incentive for some 3rd party developers like Sega, Konami and Namco, to re-release some of their beloved titles through Nintendo’s services. Many of those games were released in both arcades and one home consoles, but these companies decided to stick with the home ports as opposed to the arcade originals.
Luckily for fans of the arcades, who also like to keep up with current gaming trends, the Nintendo Switch has also been receiving its fair share of original arcade classics. A special banner called “Arcade Archives” designates such original arcade releases, which you can download onto your console via the eShop. But if you are really serious about your arcade games, you’ll find that the Japanese eShop comes with a wider array of arcade titles. Furthermore, while the 3DS had the crippling limitation of being region locked, there is no such restriction on the Switch, which means that you can easily create a Japanese account, link it to your Switch, and download stuff from that region’s eShop just as you would with any other title.
To help you gain access to this variety, let’s take a look at how you open a Japanese Nintendo account.
Creating a Japanese Nintendo Account
Before getting access to all those sweet, sweet games of old, we must create a Japanese Nintendo account, which you can in the following link.
On the following page, click on “get started,” or something along those lines to begin the account creation process. On the next part, you’ll be prompted to enter several tidbits of information, such as your nickname (the name that will be bound to the account), the password, and some personal information such as date of birth, and country of residence. For the latter, you must select Japan in order to gain access to the Japanese eShop, so go ahead and do just that. Keep in mind that, when the process asks for an email, you’ll need to input a different address than the one you used for your main Nintendo account.
Once that’s done, you need to log into your new Japanese account on the Nintendo Switch.
Go to the system settings menu on your Switch, and scroll down to “users.” Once there, select the “Add New User” option and log in with your new account. You’ll need to go through the initial setup, which includes adding a username for the account, as well as an avatar icon.
Use something that’ll help to easily tell this account apart from the others in your system, such as naming it “Japan,” as well as by using an icon that you normally wouldn’t select. After the process is ready, you just need to link this Switch account with the Japanese account you just created. Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be taken to a Japanese Nintendo page; feel free to hit the home button to back out since your account is already good to go.
I Have a Japanese Account; What Now?
Once you’re set, you just need to access the eShop using your Japanese account, and there you go: tons of Japanese games, including your favorite arcade classics, right there for the taking.
Some titles worth noting, which we couldn’t find on the US eShop, are R-Type, Zippy Race, and Front Line. These three were announced late last year as Hamster, a developer who has become increasingly famous for his amazing Neo Geo ports on the Switch eShop had acquired the license to work on them.
For those who are not familiar with the games:
R-Type is hugely popular side-scroller shoot ‘em up arcade game, which was originally developed by Irem and released in 1987. This title quickly became one of the company’s most popular titles due to its smooth gameplay, awesome visuals, and difficult-yet-fair levels. This game’s success has seen it ported to multiple home consoles, including the Turbografx 16, and the PC Engine. The latter version was, in turn, one of the first titles to be featured on Nintendo’s Virtual Console service for the Wii, Wii U, and Nintendo 3DS.
Front Line was developed by Taito and released in 1982 and consisted of a military-themed run n’ gun shooter, where players had to travel across in a vertical bottom-to-top fashion, fighting against enemy troops along the way. The ultimate objective of each level is to reach the enemy’s compound, which is a heavily-armed tank enemy and destroy it by accurately lobbing a grenade over a brick barricade, destroying the tank and ending the level. Front Line was a trendsetter as it spawned several conventions when it came to these types of games. Ikari Warriors, for example, was an NES game that closely followed suit to the mechanics shown in Front Line.
Last but not least, Zippy Race was another one of those games that, while certainly not impressive by today’s standards, it still managed to leave an impression on many of our younger selves. Like R-Type, it was also developed and released by Irem, though in 1983 in this case. The game was known in the US as MotoRace USA and consisted of taking a motorbike and traveling from Las Angeles to New York City. The game’s multiple stages consisted of either tarmac tracks or dirt roads as the player made his toward the end of each level. Furthermore, each track was divided into two perspectives, and overhead view in which the player could overtake cars and increase his rank, and an over-the-shoulder perspective where they had to avoid oncoming cars while he makes the final approach to the home stretch.
These are only 3 of the games that you can find on the Japanese eShop, and the number will only continue to grow as more ports are developed. Do you know any other awesome arcade classics that we can pick up on the Switch? Let us know in the comments below!
Here at PrimeTime Amusements, we like to keep ahead of the curve in arcade game rental and sales and pride ourselves in providing the best service in the country. If you’re looking for a game in particular, or have a few questions about the industry, feel free to give us a call at 1.800.550.0090 or to swing by at 5300 Powerline Rd. Suite 210, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 33309.