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A roundup of quirky and wonderful import-only consoles from the land of the rising sun.

Video games may have been invented in the United States, but it didn’t take long for their technological charm to spread throughout the world. Japan became particularly enamored with the playful art form in the late 1970s, and so the Land of the Rising Sun played host to its own native game consoles—many of which never made it over to the US.

To explore this fascinating and sometimes slightly odd world of “unreleased” Japanese consoles (I can’t say “Japanese-exclusive consoles” because some were released in other regions, such as Australia, but not the U.S.), I fired up my computer and jumped on the Internet. Exciting, I know. But the best part is that I asked Wikipedia’s premier console photographer, Evan Amos, for permission to use his wonderful console photos to illustrate our jaunt through video game history.

Amos said yes, of course, and so now we have beautifully detailed photos of these odd and interesting non-American consoles to pore over during our tour. When you’re done reading, I’d love to hear from anyone out there who is a fan of these obscure machines. Have you ever imported one of these yourself? Let us know in the comments.

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