Cinematech Episode 158 is an important one because I peg it as one of two eps that inspired the creation of Cinematech: Nocturnal Emissions. This one exclusively features games from Japan, while the other ep... came later and featured games that were much gnarlier than these.
This ep actually showed a few games that were used in the pilot ep for C: NE.
Timecode: 0:16: Snatcher, a legendary Science Fiction Visual Novel from Hideo Kojima. The game came out for many different consoles (most notably in North America, the SEGA CD, believe it or not), but this ep showed the SEGA Saturn version. Unfortunately, it is all in Japanese, so I have no idea what's going on. There does appear to be a Metal Gear parody at one point; perhaps one of the characters in Snatcher is playing the game?
One of the main reasons why Snatcher hasn't been rereleased since the '90s is because the game takes a lot of... inspiration from sci-fi movies such as Blade Runner. The main character, Gillian Seed, looks a lot like Harrison Ford's character from the movie, and another character named Random Hajile (these names!) looks like Rutger Hauer's character from the movie. So Konami would apparently rather keep it in the vault than deal with potential legal troubles or heavily alter one of their classic games.
I heard that the later versions of Snatcher censored some of the gorier scenes in the later ports.
1:11: Vib Ribbon (PS 1, 1999), a rhythm game from the same company behind Pa Rappa The Rapper. This game used vector graphics and a horizontal plane to allow the player to complete stages where the obstacles were generated from tracks on music CDs inserted into the system. The main character was a cute little bunny named Vibri. The more damage she took during a stage, the more scrambled her appearance would become.
6:54: The intro to Dragon Ball Z Ultimate Battle 22 (PS 1, 1995). The intro is cool and shows a bunch of the most popular DBZ characters, but the game itself was not even considered very good when it originally came out in Japan. So of course, it made sense to Atari to finally translate and release this game over here in North America... in 2003, which was the same year that saw the mediocre but Fanservice-laden Dragon Ball Z Budokai.
12:10: Trailer for the Sakura Wars Collection for the SEGA Dreamcast. Sakura Wars began on the SEGA Saturn, so it made sense to rerelease SW 1, 2, and 3 for the then-newest (and ultimately last [sniff]) SEGA system. This is a cool trailer because it shows some behind-the-scenes stuff like some of the people who made the game, SW merchandise, a brief glimpse at women dressed up as the women of SW1 (the one dressed as Kanna looks horrible – they translated none of Kanna's anime-style flair to her costume!), and some of the high-quality anime scenes from the game.
SW remains extremely niche in North America. Only two games featuring SW characters have been officially translated over here: Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love (multiplatform, 2010) and Project X Zone (Nintendo 3 DS, 2013). My favorite part of the PXZ demo was seeing the SW characters and hearing snippets of the classic theme song. Squee!
14:12: Authorized Japan Sumo Association (PS 2, Konami), a Japan-only game about sumo wrestlers. IIRC, it got really high ratings from Famitsu, the long-running, weekly video game magazine in Japan, which is known for being stingy with high ratings. The character models for the wrestlers look pretty good for an early PS 2 game.
15:14: Shin Megami Tensei NINE... for the Xbox. Truly a curiosity, it is not actually the ninth game in the SMT series. The NINE in the title refers to the variations in alignment that exist in the main SMT games (Law/Neutral/Chaos, Good/Neutral/Evil). This departure from the norm (in a series with plenty of subseries already!) was produced by Cozy Okada, who produced several classic SMT games, but the character designs were done by Yasuomi Umezu. This game was actually a test run for an online SMT game, but the "Standalone" version of the game was so unpopular that there was no online version made.
I think it's kind of fascinating when good series like SMT have some really bad entries, like Ronde (pronounced "Rondo"), which was a Majin Tensei game for the Saturn in 1997. Majin Tensei is the tactical RPG wing of the SMT series. The Horrible.Video Games page on here says that Ronde was so bad, a demo for the game caused a record number of preorders to be cancelled. That's kind of impressive, in a warped sort of way. Thankfully, no harm was done to the SMT franchise overall, although it did take years for another TRPG game to be released in the series (Devil Survivor).
In 2007, SMT did get its MMORPG in Shin Megami Tensei Imagine.
Reader Participation: What foreign games do you wish would be translated and released in your region? I wish that the "lost" Tales Series games would come over here.