The Metroid series is somewhat popular in Japan, but so much more in the U.S. that for Metroid Prime, Nintendo hired an American developer. This led to a humorous meme that Samus, being blonde and blue-eyed, was 'obviously' an American character. Several of the titles have released in the U.S. before Japan to cater to this fanbase, and some of them have English voice-overs even in the Japanese releases.
Metroid Prime was heaped with critical accolades upon its release in the West, earning several Game Of The Year awards, and is to this day considered by many to be one of the greatest games ever made. Not merely its sales, but in critical reception was, at best, lukewarm in Japan. The creators have always described the series' art direction as "American comic book style." They definitely know what they're doing. (And the Prime games still managed to sell better than Other M!)
As a testament to this trope, America and Europe recieved Metroid Prime Trilogy, a Compilation Re-release of the eponymous trilogy with the first two games reworked with Wii Remote controls and the credit system from the third game, while Japan has to settle for the remade first two Prime games as standalone titles as part of their Play it on Wii product line (New Play Control in America).
Interestingly, the latest game in the franchise, Metroid: Other M, made a strong effort to appeal to Japanese players, with anime-influenced FMV cutscenes, greater emphasis on story, emotional character development for Samus, and more linear gameplay in the style of Metroid Fusion. The fandom is thoroughly split over Other M, with many fans complaining about Samus's characterization and the emphasis on FMV cinematics, as well as complaints of the game being too linear and lacking in exploration. The game sold about as well as any other Metroid game in Japan, and its US sales were the lowest of any home console-based Metroid game.
A very similar example comes in the form of Blaster Master; its Japanese incarnation, Metafight, was a commercial failure and has laid dormant, barring a sequel released nearly twelve years. Blaster Master, however, remains a beloved Cult Classic among Western gamers who cut their teeth in the NES era, due to its Metroidvania-style gameplay and amazing soundtrack. So much so, that the direct sequel was produced in the UK (never sold in Japan), and by the time a PlayStation revival was attempted, even Japan got the American version of the story as opposed to the original Metafight one.
While the Final Fantasy elements of Kingdom Hearts were played up to sell it overseas to traditional RPG fans, the project sprang up as a game starring Mickey Mouse and was always intended to use the Disney elements to appeal to the massive Japanese fanbase that includes adults.
The character Xigbar is more popular in the west than in the East. His appearance in Birth by Sleep as his other, Braig, helped.
Shenmue was modestly well received in Japan. It fared in the West, however, largely because its setting, based on a real Japanese town, was exotic to gamers outside of Japan.
The Advance Wars series also has a considerably larger fanbase in North America and Europe than in its native Japan. This is partly due to the fact that the Japanese version of the original game, Game Boy Wars Advance, wasn't released until three years after its American release along with its sequel due to the unfortunate timing of the 9/11 attacks, allowing the series to develop a larger fanbase overseas during the gap, but even then, the second DS game in the series (Days of Ruin/Dark Conflict) was canceled in Japan after several delays. This is ironic, considering how long it took Nintendo to release the Wars series outside Japan.
Jon Talbain from Darkstalkers. Considered rather minor by the Japanese, compared to Morrigan, Demitri, Felicia, Lilith, and Anakaris, but has a very large following in America. Needless to say, they are very eager to see Talbain get featured in crossovers, but the Japanese don't get it.
English speakers can't get enough of Kefka from Final Fantasy VI because he's pretty much the poster boy for Woolseyism, being turned into an Expy of The Joker, if The Joker had god-like magical powers and was secretly a Nietzsche Wannabe. It's not so much that he isn't pretty, but that his original lines were obnoxious and moronic that he gets little love in Japan (though he has gotten a little more popularity thanks to Dissidia.)
FFVI (or Final Fantasy 3 in the original US SNES release) is this in general. It was a huge departure from the cartoony graphics and the Job System of Final Fantasies past, which made it less than popular in Japan, but the Darker and Edgier tone, combined with great writing, made it a classic overseas. It also helps that the US releases originally skipped the installments with the Job System and the last one to make it over was a simplified version of Final Fantasy IV Easy Type, so there was no perceived loss in gameplay variety or challenge.
The same could be said of Sazh in Final Fantasy XIII. Case in point: in the sequel, while the rest of the original main cast either make physical appearences or are very significant to the game's backstory, Sazh only appears for a Big Damn Heroes moment during the final battle. (He did end up getting his own DLC episode.)
This trope is the reason why Choi Bounge from The King of Fighters who is rather unpopular and reviled (not as much as Bao, but still reviled) everywhere, managed to get into SNK vs. Capcom: Chaos. Why? Because Koreans consider him top-tier, and love him. More than in-universe Korean hero Kim Kaphwan (who's also featured). So they added Choi to cater to the Korean fans.
SNK games were (and probably still are) huge in large portions of Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean, mostly because the Neo Geo MVS cabinets could hold multiple games at a time, and the games could be replaced by simply buying a new game and inserting it, rather than buying a whole new cabinet, making them more economically feasible for arcades. In these areas, it's not uncommon for characters like Terry Bogard to be more recognizable than the likes of Mario. SNK has not failed to notice this, and has added more Mexican (Angel, Ramon, Tizoc) and Chinese (Lin, Duo Lon) characters to its roster.
The Neo Geo fighting game version of Double Dragon was a cult success in the Latin American market, especially in Mexico, which is why Evoga produced Rage of the Dragons as a Spiritual Licensee of the series.
Although well received at home in America, the dungeon-crawler RPG series Wizardry was HUGE in Japan, with over 20 Japanese-made ports with dramatically enhanced graphics and original games made, as well as an anime series.
This has gotten the point that although the Western branch of the series has died off after the poor performance of Wizardry 8 in 2001, the Japanese branch is still going strong, with releases in both the series proper and the de-facto spinoffClass Of Heroes coming out as recently as 2011 — 2012 for Class of Heroes.
Cheetahmen II, a crappy American game, has one stage song, and it's surprisingly awesome. So awesome, that there are many remixes of it on the video site Nico Nico Douga. Which is a Japanese video site.
In most major gaming regions, the Nintendo DS outsells the PSP, same with the Wii towards the PS3. In the Philippines, it's the other way around, due to Sony already having a much bigger fanbase there than Nintendo due to PS1 and PS2 games, which use CDs and DVDs, respectively, being far easier to pirate than N64 cartridges or GameCube mini-discs (Never mind that Wii modding changed all that for GameCube games with its backwards compatibility), resulting in more affordable (yet pirated) copies which can easily be found and bought. The PSP is in a similar situation, except you pay real money for downloads. The PS3 is also catching up there despite that there's no pirated copies of the games, but this time, you can buy affordable original copies for almost 1,500 Philippine Pesos (Equivalent to US$35 depending on exchange rate) per copy there.
Same in Poland. No one there owns a DS, you see kids with PSPs everywhere. Same in case of the PS3: More people own them than Xbox 360s. Ironically, it is easier to pirate for the 360 than the PS3. So why is the PS3 popular? A. Its games are region-free to begin with and B. Microsoft will unleash the banhammer on your 360 for piracy. And you gotta have good luck to find a Wii owner, despite it being by far the easiest (and safest) 7th-gen console to pirate for.
Also, there is virtually no support for Xbox Live in Poland - Microsoft promotes (hell, the menus are in Polish!) something that can't be legally used in the country, since you need a foreign e-mail account to do anything.
Funny enough in the PS3 era, the PS3 did less in the US but is more supported in Europe and Asia.
In Russia, PSP is more popular than DS for the same reason that Sega Genesis was more pupular than SNES: It's insanely easy to pirate games for without any additional peripherals. The fact that mainstream genres (like shooting, driving and sports games) are much more prevalent there than any "casual" games or unique projects (though indie scene is slowly changing the situation) and the lack of popularity of Nintendo in Russia are also the cause of this.
No More Heroes was initially considered a flop because there was almost zero interest for the game in its home territory of Japan, but did slightly better in the US and Europe (208,000 copies) that a sequel was made entirely because of the overseas sales.
Suda51 has stated that the game was made with a more western audience in mind and not a Japanese one.
Despite the heavy editing it goes through in order to be legal for sale there, the Command & Conquer series enjoys extreme popularity in Germany, so much so that EA's official webcast is given air on cable television. Coincidentally, guess which actor has a cameo in Red Alert 3. C'mon, guess. It's Hasselhoff.
A similar case could be made for the Golden Sun series, although that's more because of a dedicated Fanbase.
Case in point: The news for the upcoming Golden Sun DS first released in Nintendo's E3 2009 Conference. And as told by the E3 Report in Camelot Software Planning's Website, CEO Hiroyuki Takahashi commented a bit on how well the previous games did overseas and his wish for the game to be as successful with the Japanese before his surprise with the in-conference and web-coverage reactions.
The Sega Master System wasn't really much of a success in its homeland of Japan or the United States due to Nintendo's dominance in those two countries. It held its own against the NES in Europe and against Famiclones in South Korea, and was even more successful in Brazil, where it's still supported today. Many of Sega's games for the technically identical Game Gear were ported to the system in the 1990s for European and/or Brazilian release after it had been discontinued in the US and Japan.
The Mega Drive (known in North America as the Genesis) also had great success in these areas, and like the Master System, it was manufactured in these areas long after it was discontinued in the US and Japan in favor of the Saturn. Licensed variations on the hardware are still sold in games stores to this day.
The Mega Drive was also very popular in China and Hong Kong because it could play any cartridge inserted into the system while the SNES/Super Famicom blocked all games not approved by Nintendo.
It's rare to have a Brazilian character in fiction, much less in Video Games, but when it happens, Brazilian gamers usually share their love with it. Examples are Tekken capoeira fighters, and Carlos Oliveira from Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, who Word of God says is Brazilian.
In Disgaea, Captain Gordon, DEFENDER OF EARTH!! has more of a fanbase in America than in Japan (he has considerably less fanart than Laharl, Etna, Flonne, Mid Boss, etc.). This might be because Americans relate to the Affectionate Parody better, which also makes him a case of Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales. Sapphire from Disgaea 3 is also more popular in America. See Americans Hate Tingle for characters that are less popular in America than in Japan.
Battle City became extremely popular in the ex-USSR and Asian countries where it never was officially released... Basically due to the fact that every second famiclone got this game on a bundle multicart. The vast majority of hacks of this game come straight from there.
This extends to platforms as well: In the US, Japan and most of Europe most consoles routinely outsell PC-games, while in Sweden PC gaming remains the largest platform.
PCs were tax deductible in Sweden from the late 1990s to 2007, Filesharing is also big in Sweden. This makes PC gaming attractive.
Likewise, PC games are also more popular than console games in Russia.
More than that: while in whole world PC is considered platform for rich snobs and consoles are for more everyman-gamers, in Russia it's completely reversed.
Dungeon Master, first released in 1987, was very successful and enjoyed several ports and translations. Japan, however, seems to have adopted the series while the West gradually forgot it. A remixed, lighter version called Theron's Quest was released for the PC Engine; the official sequel was released in Japan first, and only much later in the West; and the last official episode of the series, Dungeon Master Nexus, is a Sega Saturn game that never left Japan.
The Silent Hill series is more successful overseas than in Japan, so much so that the last three titles have been developed by Western studios and had belated releases in Japan. Understandable, in that the series specifically targeted a Western audience to begin with.
Skullgirls has a loyal following in the West, but has such a large fan following in Japan that Lab Zero is working on both a retail disc version of the game for Japan (since Japanese gamers don't care for DLC) and an arcade version. Word of God mentioned that this might have had something to do with the fact that it's a series that plays like Marvel vs. Capcom minus the Marvel (which isn't very popular over there).
Phantasy Star Online 2 is a big success in Japan, but also has a very large a dedicated group of non-Japanese gamers playing, so much so that it came as a surprise to Sega, which may have played some role in getting the game announced for localization (even though said localization is now in Development Hell).
The arcade game scene started in the US with games like Pong, but in Japan arcade games grew to be much more popular. Today, while arcades in Western territories are a dying breed, viewed as little more than overpriced novelties (with the exception of rhythm games), Japanese arcades are still going strong. It certainly helps that Japanese-developed arcade games are very creative.
For a more specific example, there's crane games (or UFO catcher, where you use crane to catch dolls or prices), which are huge at Japanese game centers; they're big enough that their appearances in some anime are not ignorant of modern Japanese arcades. They're often placed at the entrances to game centers to attract passersby, and some game centers are dedicated entirely to hosting crane games. There is even a national crane game competition.
It's a Wild Mass Guess, but this may be due to the fact that UFO catchers in Japan are more about skill than they are about luck. Normally in the West, crane games (and other such games like Stacker) pre-determine if you're going to win or not once the game starts. In Japan, UFO catchers are set up so that you can eventually knock a prize down... but it takes a bit of know-how to do it. For example, a game will dangle the prize on a stick and the goal is to use the grabbing action of a half-hook to move it off. It's actually harder than it sounds.
The Neverhood was a bit of a low-key cult hit in the West. The PC version got a Japanese PlayStation port called Klaymen Klaymen... and Japanese gamers absolutely adored it. In addition to getting some cool pieces of promotional merchandise, the Japanese company that localized it (and its sequel, Skullmonkeys) made a spinoff called Klaymen Gun-Hockey, which is about as weird as it sounds. The game is also very popular in Russia, Poland, and the former Czechoslovakia.
I Wanna Be the Guy is much more popular in Japan than its home country of the US. On YouTube, the most viewed video of that game has less than a million views, and the second most viewed has less than 500,000. On the Japanese site Nico Video, however, there's tons of videos of it with 100,000s of views, including several that have over a million. What's more, multiple Japanese-developed fangames exist.
The fact that it was inspired by a Japanese web game ("Jinsei Owata no Daibouken", aka "The Life-Ending Adventure") might have something to do with this... in fact, the final version of "Owata" included the first few screens of IWBTG as its final level in an extended Shout-Out!
The Marvel vs. Capcom games have never been popular in Japan (considered the Mecca of fighting games) but have a large, rabid following in the United States, especially in the East Coast. MvC2 is considered one of greatest fighting games of all time in North America.
In Israel, the word "PlayStation" is almost synonymous with "console", and is still selling better than its competitors despite it being ranked a distant third behind the Wii and Xbox 360 in most other world markets for the past few years.
Lumines is much more popular in North America (it sold 300,000 units there) than in Japan (70,000 units), so much so that the sequel featured mainstream American music.
Katamari Damacy was a sleeper hit in the United States, but it was moderately popular in its native Japan.
The Real-Time Strategy game Battle Realms was outcompeted into obscurity by Warcraft III, yet it enjoys enough popularity in the Philippines that it is still played in computer rental shops to this day.
Exemplified by the song written about it from Swedish producer Basshunter.
Americans regarded Spelunker as decent in its arcade and Commodore 64 forms. However, its Nintendo Entertainment System port, produced in Japan by Irem, inexplicably sold extremely well, and now the game is looked back on fondly due to its charming badness and, most of all, the endearingweakness of the main character. In fact, the Spelunker might very well beat out Master Chief, Gordon Freeman, and the like as the best-known American videogame character in Japan simply by virtue of being "the weakest videogame character" - he's a cultural icon, to the extent that supe taishitsu, "having the constitution of a spelunker," is a common idiom in Japan (meaning, of course, being easily injured) used in professional sports commentary.
Despite going almost completely unnoticed outside of Japan, Tamagotchi seems to have a sizable fanbase in Poland.
Starcraft is the poster child of this trope for video games. It unexpectedly became intensely popular in South Korea, to the point of being played in national competitions with team sponsorships with major companies. Over half of all the copies of Starcraft sold in the world are in South Korea. Starcraft players are professional athletes. They have groupies and rivalries. Tournaments cater to packed stadiums filled with hundreds of thousands of people just to watchDon't believe me?. Starcraft in South Korea is like football is to Americans. When Starcraft 2 came out, it was pandemonium. Blizzard went to South Korea and held basically a Korean BlizzCon dedicated solely to Starcraft in the Seoul Olympic stadium.
Russia seems to be very fond of classic turn-based strategies, further reinforcing the stereotype of Russians being good at chess. Among the favorites are Civilization, X-COM, Jagged Alliance, but most importantly, Heroes of Might and Magic, specifically the third part (Widely believed to be the best in the series by many, Russian or not). Go ahead, just try to find a gamer that won't play a multiplayer match or two of "Troika" with you.
Also, that's a reason Nival Interactive's been trusted with making HoMM V. Russian fans wouldn't have forgiven them for doing badly, and, for the most part, it paid off.
So far as video game characters are concerned, in Pokémon, Charizard is perhaps the most well-loved Mon in the US.note "Well-loved", not "most well-known", since Pikachu is the most well-known Pokémon anywhere in the world. This even extended to the Card Game, where everyone wanted his card, despite being fairly useless. In English-speaking stores, Charizard merchandise tends to sell faster and at higher prices than other Pokémon, even Pikachu. The big lizard also won two Pokémon popularity polls ran by American gaming websites (IGN and Dorkly).
Actually, it was zig-zagged until Gen VI, as Charizard was generally hated amongst Smogon battlersnote which pretty much the majority of the battling community in the English-speaking world, given that Smogon is the most well-known and well-played. This was due to Charizard actually being not very useful until the buff for Generation 6, and Scrubs attempting to use Charizard regardless adding to the ire. See the Tier-Induced Scrappy, and The Scrappy entry within the Pokémon pages.
And in Pokémon Black and White we have Zekrom. He's quite popular in Japan (not as popular as his counterpart Reshiram though), but more so in America, overshadowing Reshiram and countless others (and selling more copies of White in North America than Black).
For the characters themselves, Anime Misty still has a massive popularity on the West for someone who left the main cast in 2003. Japan, well, was able to move on and likes May, Dawn and Iris just as much if not more.
A similar divide exists for "tough, Badass Pokémon" (America) vs. "cute, beautiful and whimsical Pokémon" (Japan), hence the difference of opinion between fans on Reshiram and Zekrom (above). Another demonstrative example: while ghostly chandelier Chandelure is the most popular Pokémon in Japan from Pokémon Black and White, in the US you'd be more likely to find fans of Haxorus, Hydreigon and Golurk.
It should be noted that among fan artists, western artists tend to enjoy drawing the Pokémon themselves more than the human characters. The reverse is true of Japanese fan artists.
In a 1999 interview, Satoshi Tajiri has said that when Japanese players think of Pokemon, they immediately think of Pikachu. For Americans it was Ash and Pikachu. Because of this, he believes that American fans understood the teamwork dynamic. Oddly enough, the fanbase has evolved since then; the American fanbase is now pretty much Charizard all dayevery day (as stated above), while Ash and Pikachu both suffer from the opposite of this trope. The "teamwork" aspect has also been inverted, with Japan featuring the anime's trainers on much of its merchandise and promotions, and America focusing on the Mons themselves, often not exporting Japan's trainer merchandise (with some exceptions).
The American players now relate more to Red (The Generic name for the trainers in the original Pokemon games) AND the aforementioned Charizard. So the teamwork still applies.
In French-speaking Quebec, you're much more likely to find fans familiar with the English names and translations than the French ones. At the height of Pokémon's popularity, the games were only available in English there (and remained so until 2010), and an edited version of the French dub was made that used English names. As a result, the sudden appearance of France's French games turned out to be rather jarring for many fans, who simply stuck with what they were familiar with.
Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors sold far better in the US than it did in Japan. While it got a slow start, this actually caused a supply problem (Aksys had only manufactured a small number of games, anticipating sales similar to Japan) and until the second release the game often sold for upwards of $80 on Ebay/Amazon.
In an interview, Chunsoft noticed a majority of the view count of the sequel's trailer came from English-speaking countries.
This has actually gotten to the point to where this trope is preventing the proposed third game from being made because there is too little support from Japan itself.
The Sonic the Hedgehog series is only fairly popular in Japan, but Sonic has never stopped being a cultural icon in America and is especially loved to pieces in Europe (Alton Towers even has a Sonic themed roller coaster and a Sonic themed hotel). Over the years, SEGA's marketing became increasingly western-oriented, and major releases, Sonic Generations notwithstanding, came out in America and Europe before Japan by about a month.
Shadow's popularity particularly leans west, and it was because of this that Shadow the Hedgehog was created. Unfortunately, it may have taken its dive into America too far, as the use of guns and swearing (because what's more American than that?) turned off most critics and a good number of fans.
Sonic, particularly the Adventure era, also has a sizable fanbase in Russia.
The early Western RPG series Phantasie caught on in Japan, to the point where Phantasie IV was a Japan-exclusive release.
Of other note is that Fire Emblem Elibe also remains rather popular in the west. Not only in the ROM-Hacking scene (the most tools exist to hack them, specifically Elibe over Sacred Stones) but because for many, it was their first Fire Emblem game, and one of the things that had contributed to Shadow Dragon being poorly received, as westerners were spoiled due to Elibe and Tellius. Fire Emblem Awakening meanwhile crashed the E-Shop when it released in America, and it's pretty hard to find physical copies due to demand for the game.
Not that he lacks popularity in Japan, but from BlazBlue, Iron Tager has a surprisingly large American fanbase, aided by the Values Dissonance of how manliness and toughness are more valued personality traits among American males (Tager and Bang Shishigami are the two most "manly" characters out of the main cast). Jamieson Price's great voice work also helped out a lot, along with a few America-exclusive memes like "REAL SOVIET DAMAGE" and "GIGANTIC TAGER!" (one particular Story Mode scene uses this as a hilarious Sound Effect Bleep; the Japanese version instead has Kenji Nomura shouting out Ragna's "GAUNTLET HADES", and thus misses out on the joke).
Skyrim is also popular in Japan and holds the honor of being the first Western game to ever receive a perfect score in Famitsu.
Sweet Home is an obscure Japanese RPG based of the movie of the same name and was almost forgotten. In the US, a high amount of interest surged after it was discovered to be a huge inspiration for Resident Evil.
While the Nintendo 64 and GameCube were beat by their Playstation rivals worldwide, the N64 and GC did even worse in their native Japan, while they actually did pretty decent in North America and Europe. It was very often when the Playstation 1 and/or 2 version of a game got a Japanese release while the N64/Gamecube version stayed in North America and Europe (sometimes, even North America only).
Wiiware also fits this trope, Wiiware was way more successful in North America and Europe than it was in Japan, where they preferred D Siware for portability, and the Virtual Console.
The Metal Gear series wasn't very popular during the 8-bit days, but when Metal Gear Solid came out, not only did it become popular in Japan, but even moreso in America, likely similar to reasons such as Silent Hill due to its Western setting. The original game sold so much better in America that most subsequent games have actually been released there first.
Popular as Lode Runner was in Western countries, it seems to have had wider and more lasting popularity in Japan. One could make a long list of the console versions never released in Western countries.
Swedish-made Minecraft, while very successful in its home country, is pretty much loved by the entire world. Japan gets a special mention for introducing the Creeparka (a Creeper themed hoodie).
The series in general has this; Probably because of Super Smash Bros., there are tons of people who joined the fanbase who weren't even alive when EarthBound was originally released in North America, which helped it become a best-seller on the Nintendo eShop when it was finally released on the Virtual Console. The series's Japanese fanbase nowadays is more comparable to that of the Soul Blazer trilogy, although it's not quite the same due to the celebrity behind the series.
Korean gamers love Ao Oni if the number of Korean fangames is of any indication.
Japanese players have a liking to Dead Space in general. Mind you, shooters in general are a niche in Japan, but Dead Space is the one that sticks out amongst the shooters because it was never released in Japan and never had an official translation. Despite this, there are fanwikis dedicated to translating the entire game series and has a widely popular Memetic Mutation in the form of Isaac's helmet for his speech.
Despite The Xbox and Xbox 360 selling poorly in Japan, the Halo series is quite popular over there. While not insanely popular as it is in the west It is popular for an Xbox game there . In fact Western games as a whole have been becoming more popular as of late in Japan.
Point and Click adventure games. While they were popular in North America through the 90s, for the most part, they're mostly seen as experiments or are only as Indie games that rarely become as popular as they were in The Nineties, and it's rare to see much buzz about them. The same goes in Asia - while not unknown (Clock Tower, Another Code), they're few and far in between. Meanwhile in Europe? The Adventure Game genre still lives and is going strong. (Especially in Germany.)
The Neverhood - While it does have a cult following in North America, it's a lot more popular in Eastern Europe and Japan. (Especially Poland!)
In fact, try looking up a Let's Play for a LucasArts adventure game, and look how many results are German.
LucasArts veteran Tim Schafer name-checks Germany as the one viable market for adventure games in the present day in his famous Kickstarter pitch video for Double Fine Adventure.
Point and click adventure fangames are quite popular in Germany as well. It's pretty hard to find a fangame based on a LucasArts or Sierra adventure game that doesn't have at least one member of the development team from Germany.
True Love Junai Monogatari was one of the less popular offerings of the undistinguished H-Game publisher Software House Parsley in its home country of Japan; it's better known in its English translation, since it was one of the first Dating Sims to receive one.
While its sales numbers do not diverge widely between countries (due to the "children's JRPG stigma", you could say), Western players and critics are much more enamored with Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch than Japan. There are two reasons for that: first, Eastern RPGs are becoming steadily more scarce in the West, especially on home consoles, so a big-budgeted one for the PS3 like Ni no Kuni draws attention. Secondly, and more importantly, Japan was "burned" by Ni no Kuni: The Jet-Black Mage (NDS) back when it was released. Level-5 promised that the two games would be widely different and also complementary to one another, but they only had very minimal differences in terms of plot and gameplay (putting it another way, they were promised Persona 2, but got Pokémon Crystal). Those who bought the DS version (and they were many, it sold really well) didn't want to buy the same game twice, and critics couldn't quite "forgive" it. However, since that version was never released in the West, the PS3 version became much more unique and could be judged (and sold) as its own, standalone title. It seems to have paid off.
This may also be to do with handheld games being much more popular in Japan than in western countries.
The Last of Us is already on its way to being one of the best selling modern Western games in Japan.
While Fruit Ninja was developed in Australia, it became one of the most popular iOS games in China and the United States.
Terranigma was way more loved in Germany than back in its native homeland in Japan (Germans will even try to convince you that it's the greatest SNES RPG ever made). One of the main reasons for it is the fact that it's the only SNES RPG that ever got a release in Europe in its original SNES format.
One of the main reasons for its popularity in Germany may have to do with the fact that Germans in general are way more tolerant towards Japanese RPG's than any other western country (Dragon Quest IX for instance, whilst not seen as that great in Japan, was very well-liked in Germany and kids will still bring this game up and tell you it's one of their favorite video games ever).
This is probably the reason why the German Club Nintendo published a 32-page long comic about it.
Hugo, a Europe-exclusive game series, is often said to be one of the worst video game series to play on the PS1 in the UK, where it originated from (up to the point that the UK version of the Official Playstation Magazine featured them on the top of their list of the worst Playstation characters) , but it seems to be successful in Denmark, Sweden and Finland, where Hugo is considered to be one of the best video game characters in gaming history.
The Hugo game was adapted to a phone-and-TV format in Chile, and was a kind-of cult classic in The Nineties. Even as a "call and play" game for kids in Denmark, Hugo was hugely famous, gaining several games for him besides the (ill-received) Playstation title.
Ponpoko made little impression in its native Japan, but in South Korea it is regarded a classic and has been remade numerous times.
League of Legends subverts this with Mordekaiser, a champ with a huge mace and a hulking suit of armor. There is a huge thing about Brazilian players playing Mordekaiser because of the meme about him being a Troll associated with the "Huehuehuehuehue". But the truth is, normal Brazilian players that do not troll usually don't use Mordekaiser much so his usage in the region is actually just as low as the rest.
The original Donkey Kong became stupendously popular outside of Japan, especially in the United States, to the point where the status of "world record holder" is frequently traded amongst American players; not a single confirmed world record since 1982 has been performed by a player from Japan. There is even a documentary revolving around the Donkey Kong world record scene in the U.S., The King of Kong.
Of course it was designed to be marketed to the West in the first place. It actually did better in Japan than is was supposed to, so Nintendo licensed Falcon to temporarily sell Crazy Kong in Japan while they were sending their boards to the US to keep up demand.
Donkey Kong as a franchise is far more popular in the West, to the point that, like Metroid above, Nintendo has mostly left development of the series to Western developers like Rare and Retro since the mid-90s, and Western fans tend to be baffled by its smallish representation in Super Smash Bros..
Professor Layton, whilst pretty successful in Europe, is a massive hit in the Netherlands, where every part of the series was translated to Dutch so that non-English speaking Dutchmen (and there are a lot) could enjoy it as well.
Mach Rider, an early NES launch title made by Nintendo, has a sizeable fanbase in America and is almost forgotten in Japan.
On a similar note is Thexder (by Americans considered to be the best NEC PC-88 game ever).
Tales of Xillia did so well overseas that the sequel's localization was announced about a week later and Tales Of Zestiria became the first game in the series to get a worldwide release.
Little Busters!: Kurugaya, the game's resident Action GirlCool Big Sis, tends to be extremely popular among Western and Latin American audiences, especially female fans, compared to in Japan where she's more of a fringe favourite for fans of older women over Moe. Also, while Kyousuke/Komari is one of the most popular non-canon pairings in Japan, it's almost unheard of among English speakers who tend to prefer them in yaoi/yuri relationships with Riki and Rin respectively, while among Western audiences Kurugaya/Riki seems to be much more popular than in Japan.
The Fujitsu FM Towns Marty is this. Back when it was released in Japan it was dismissed because of its high price tag and lack of Japanese games, since most of the games for the console were western developed, due to western developers being more gifted with 32-bit machines. But it's exactly its huge amount of western developed games and the fact that the console was the very first 32-bit console ever that made it one of the most reckoned holy grails in video game console collecting in the western world.
Earth 2140 is virtually unknown in its native Poland. It however did get some good sales in Turkey, due to it being one of the few games with a Turkish language option.
The Gamate, a Taiwanese game console, is a console that is virtually unknown despite being released in presumably every market except the Japanese one, unless you're in Italy, where the console has found a niche. The fact that the people who marketed the gamate in Italy were the same ones which published the NES there seems to be the reason, as all the others were less competent marketingwise.
Danes Love The Sony Playstation: The first Playstation well outsold the Nintendo 64, with the successor (which it did internationally) outsold both the Xbox and the Gamecube combined. Due to the PS3 not being released around the same time as the Xbox360, the 360 have become this, dualing this position with PS3 when it was released. The PS3 is still a slightly bigger console in Denmark, but the Xbox360 is still a favored console in gaming stores like Gamestop, selling a lot more 360 games than PS3 games.
Due to the PS 4 being released in Europe along with almost every other country internationally, compared to the Xbox One's delay in most of Europe, it's sales have been large in Europe, aiding the PS 4 in earning 7 million sales (as of March 2014), 3 million more than the Xbox One.
Danish Gamestop Loves The Xbox: To aid the Xbox One in sales, serveral Danish Gamestop stores are importing the UK version of it.
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun had a tepid critical reception in the west lead EA to cancel two planned sequels to it. However, the game had high reviews in Japan.
Both Rockman 2 as well as Rockman 3 got rather average reviews on the mainstream Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu (Rockman 2 was awarded with a 28/40 and Rockman 3 was awarded with a 23/40) but Nintendo Power gave both games (which are known in the West as Megaman 2 and Megaman 3) a lot of positive coverage and considered them to be some of the best games in the NES era.
Usually, Luigi is living in the shadow of his extremely famous brother Mario in the Mushroom Kingdom, but in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, it is shown that in Rogueport it seems to be the other way around. Due to a very high-selling book about Luigi, he is far more well-known than his brother.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story suggests that Brocksnote whom we only find out in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team to be called that Punny Name when more of their species appear love Bowser. Broque Monsieur dislikes the Mario Bros. for their block-smashing ways, but accepts help from, aids and routinely deals with Bowser at his shop. Madame is friendly with but dismissive of the brothers, but her vivid description of the perfect romantic interest describes some of Bowser's earlier actions, and he winds up giving her many massages. With help. However, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team reveals this is a subversion, as only Brock Monsieur hates them for their block-smashing waysnote With his friendliness towards them being a facade, as you can discover via an optional cutscene in a Continuity Nod - the other Brocks, Broque Madame included, hold the same opinion towards the Mario Brothers and Bowser as any other race and have neutral feelings towards them at worse.
In one episode of Telltale's Sam & Max: Freelance Police series of episodic games our heroes are cast as the stars of a TV show called Midtown Cowboys, which in a later episode proves to be insanely popular in Germany despite being cancelled right after the first episode in the U.S.
In Ace Attorney Investigations, it turns out that the Steel Samurai is incredibly popular in Allebahst while the Jammin' Ninja is very popular in Babahl.
Any downloadable content in Rock Band becomes this in Solo Career mode, due to all the DLC being played in the Japanese venue. Humorous when you download a lot of songs by a particular band.
In Mortal Kombat, one of Johnny Cage's earlier movies flopped in America. However, that same movie was very popular in France.... because it was mostly about mimes.