Japan’s influence on the video game industry has vastly gone unnoticed, it mustn’t be overlooked that Japanese developers are the creators of some of the biggest names in not only the Japanese video games industry, but the entire industry in general.
Japanese game companies make sure they only produce the best and this is noticeable with the sheer quality of games that have been produced in the past decades.
On this list, I’ll be covering the most iconic Japanese video games to date (2021).
#10 Super Mario Bros.
I’m pretty sure that everyone reading this list is well aware of the Super Mario game series. It is probably one of the most iconic retro Japanese game series in history, and for good reason. It dropped during the 1980s and shot its way into the mainstream video game industry due to its unique gameplay and features that weren’t present in games released at the time. This game changed the rules of the game; it is the best-selling video game in the past three decades and has further popularized the side-scrolling video game genre. Therefore, it is well known all over the world for good reason and is one of the best Japanese video games of all time.
Making its way into the list is another iconic game series, the Pac-man series. The game is fairly easy to play, you eat tiny dots to win points and try to avoid hitting the enemy. It is these basic ideas that have led to numerous games to release in the future. As a result of how popular it became, Pac-Man goes down in history, literally at the Smithsonian Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. As a result, Pac-man, in our opinion, is one of the most iconic retro Japanese games and best Japanese video games in history.
#8 Space invaders
This opened a whole new era of shooting games. It is also one of the first games to incorporate music and utilize an improved soundtrack as well as it did back in the day. Today, music and gameplay soundtracks are given way more important than in the past, they’re often given as much attention to detail as seen in high-budget movies!
#7 Star Fox Adventures
Rare's Star Fox Adventures was originally an unrelated action-adventure game until Nintendo suggested replacing the protagonist with Fox McCloud. The development of N64 also started on N64 until it was restarted for the Nintendo GameCube, and a version of the original game was recently leaked. A look at the original version reveals a very impressive N64 gameplay. This makes Star Fox Adventures one of the most iconic Japanese video games ever
#6 Donkey Kong Country
You can think of this as its franchise, but Rare’s Donkey Kong Country turned a Nintendo character into a platforming star. Not only is the gameplay as smooth as the best platform games on the SNES, but the graphics are very beautiful, beating almost all other games on the console. Rare will continue to make several other games in the series. The series remained on the air for a long time until Retro Studios was relaunched in 2010. This is one of my favourite Japanese video games ever.
#5 Pokémon: Red and Green
The youth and old alike must have heard of Pokémon at least once in their lives, this isn’t because of any coincidence. The Pokémon shot to instant fame and it was a sensation, video games weren’t the only things produced, later it was made into a movie, an anime series, a card collecting game and manga. To be honest, since then, no game has exploded like Pokémon. In addition, it opened an entire era of addictive handheld games that we love today. This is why Pokémon is one of the best creations of Japanese game companies!
#4 Fire Pro Wrestling Returns
When you think of Japanese wrestling games, what is the first name that comes to your mind? For me, it’s The Fire Pro series. It is known for its rich selection of fighters and extensive customization features. Fire Pro Wrestling Returns brings more of the same 2D action, including hundreds of different wrestlers, and the ability to create and save hundreds of wrestlers. The game also has a lot of grappling and actions, combined with the character design feature and the ability to create custom umpires, rings, signs, and belts, allowing players to replay any famous wrestling match from history. Up to eight players can go head-to-head or team up in a variety of game modes, from simple single-player battles, battle royale battles, to violent cage contests such as barbed wire explosions to the death. All these reasons are a testament to the fact that Fire Pro is one of the best Japanese wrestling games (PS2) of all time.
#3 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
This is not the first Zelda game, but it had made a huge leap in the 3D world and boasts that it is one of the largest game worlds in any video game series to date. It almost appeared with Super Mario 64, and both exceeded the limits set by the predecessors.
#2 Resident Evil
The survival horror genre isn’t the same as the action shooting genre. The game was released with the idea of surviving an encounter with a monster rather than conquering it. There have been a large number of sequels, and there is even a fairly successful film franchise. The idea of depriving players of power may be a response to other video games that allow players to do whatever they want. Survival horror brings back the challenges of difficult games of the past.
#1 Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy VII has been the reason for the change in all future versions of the franchise and it brought more players to the PS universe. RPGs will never be the same again, and storytelling in video games has been improved forever because of this instalment. This is one of the best creations of Japanese game companies in the history of the gaming industry, hands down.