Two Famicom Detective Club games are being localized for the Nintendo Switch. Here’s why the release of these visual novels is so exciting.

The recent Nintendo Direct was full of some very surprising game reveals. Of course, some Switch announcements were fairly expected, such as Skyward Sword HD. However, there were several key games shown off that no one saw coming. At the top of that list were a pair of Famicom Detective Club remakes. The Missing Heir and The Girl Who Stands Behind are two classic, Japanese-exclusive Nintendo games.

While these may look like standard visual novels to modern players, these games are incredibly special chapters of Nintendo’s history that date back to the Famicom era. Back in the 80s, Nintendo released a pair of Famicom Detective Club games for the Famicom Disk System. The Famicom is better known by Western audiences as the NES, but the Famicom Disk System is largely an oddity to overseas players.

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Famicom Disk System was an add-on released exclusively in Japan. Essentially, it plugged into the Famicom system and ran games off of modified floppy disks. It had a rather robust library, even if most of its games also released on cartridge worldwide. It was also home to the first two Famicom Detective Club titles: The Missing Heir and The Girl Who Stands Behind. There was a third Famicom Detective Club title that never left Japan too, but that one was released for the Super Famicom add-on, the Satellaview.

Official screenshot from Famicom Detective Club

The first two Famicom Detective Club games are most important, though, as they’re the ones being remade on Nintendo Switch. Naturally, since both games released originally in the late 1980s, these are night-and-day remakes. However, their roots can be traced faithfully back to the original games spearheaded by Nintendo legends Gunpei Yokoi (best known for his work on Nintendo hardware) and Yoshio Sakamoto (best known for his work on the Metroid series). Considering the talent behind Famicom Detective Club, it’s very exciting that these games are being remade and localized.

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Plus, the May 14 launch of both titles is especially fortuitous because it’s now a worldwide release. These remakes were originally announced in 2019 for Switch, but at that point they were only coming to Japan. The games will now release in all regions, finally giving players access to two of Nintendo’s many region-exclusives that deserve to be localized.

Since the Famicom Detective Club games are mystery-themed visual novels, they’re certainly niche releases. But the fact that their audience is relatively small makes the localization all the more exciting. Often, it’s a struggle getting Nintendo oddities like these localized, often requiring concerted fan efforts that don’t always pay off. Sometimes, these campaigns result in series like Xenoblade Chronicles coming West. Sometimes, though, these requests fall on deaf ears, like Mother 3. As such, it’s heartening that Nintendo is making the effort to bring Famicom Detective Club overseas, making this pair of titles a key release in early 2021.

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