Can you play a Japanese N64 Game on a European console


Back in Europe I have a N64 console. As I am currently living in Japan, I find myself tempted to buy some old N64 games in Japanese. However, the articles about the N64's region locking usually assume Japanese games on an American console…

My question thus is: Can you play a Japanese N64 Game on a European console?

Best Answer

Out of the box, no. The Nintendo 64 has a region lockout chip which prevents NTSC (Japanese and US) games from running on a PAL (European) machine.

However, through the use of third-party devices, most games should work. I personally own a N64 Passport Plus which I use to play Hey You, Pikachu! on my own N64. It basically works by using a second, local cartridge to authenticate with the lockout mechanism.

I don't have first hand experience of this, but according to that Wikipedia article, some games won't work even with this - presumably, they perform additional hardware detection, so they might be hard to do anything about. It may be possible to somehow bypass these through Action Replay codes; I don't know exactly how these games perform those checks.

You could also buy a Japanese N64 and bring that home. You'll need a power converter to make it run on 230V, and a TV which will accept the input, but you could run any Japanese game that way, and any US game if you remove the plastic tabs.

As an alternative, if you have a European Wii, at least some of the games might be available on the Virtual Console, saving you the trouble of messing with adapters.