Countryside Bears![" 'The Gaijin Restoration' is a weekly examination of underappreciated Eastern games that never cross to Western shores. This week's 'special edition' column looks at games, both Japanese and not, highlighted at last week's E3 Expo.]

E3 is over. Worked fourteen days in a row. 170 hours. Before this starts sounding like a LiveJournal with byte diarrhea, I’ll stop. But consider yourself warned. With no time to play games, and with Simon, the patron saint of obscura ludo, blogging the bejesus out of games ripe for this Gaijin, all I have to offer is my lateral thought patterns on the organized chaos that strikes three days each year.

As Simon mentioned, my good friends at the U.S. D3 (who just released a killer Cabbage Patch GBA game, featuring – get this – puppies!) shocked me on two fronts. First, the lovely Baito Hell is coming state side under the guise of WTF. I’m very interested on how the translation will be handled and how they’re going to price this sucker. Also, surprising but awesome was the resurrection of the 100 Bullets license - though for all-new games, not the cancelled Acclaim title. Smart moves like that coupled with the cash Naruto most be bringing in, I really peg this as a publisher to watch. Hopefully we’ll get a shovel-load-ware of Simple XXXX games in the States some day soon.

Speaking of ballsy U.S. publishers, I take my hat off and offer a low bow to Atlus - Rule of Rose is coming Stateside. Now, after Hot Coffee (and perhaps Michael Moore) nudging publishers like Atari to censure games like Fahrenheit, it takes some big cojones to bring out a game that’s constantly dressed in an odd mist of amateur pedophilia. Now, I’ve seen about six trailers for this game and the first few hours of gameplay, and while it’s by no means a child molestation simulator, that odd inkling of writhing preen limbs and fat girls going a little heavy on the lipstick does help lend a certain aura of creepiness that you can chalk up to cultural differences and perhaps natural perversion… still, it’s in the minutiae that the games atmosphere truly locks you in. Screw the cool AI dog companion, it’s all about using your weapons, like a FORK (Ultima VI joke here), in situations where your character puts one hand over her face and starts swinging blindly.

On the flip side, Final Fantasy III on the DS looks fantastic and will hopefully destroy Dirge of Cerberus, which is horrid and is only trying to dry hump the cash cow. FFIII was my first import, and you never forget your first. It’s also the only FF game I’ve ever completed, and while I can’t speak much of the overarching plot, the scenario writing is fantastic, with a job system that is lenient enough for exploration but obvious enough to keep you floating on that linear quest for crystals or whatever. Bonus: you can turn your party into frogs or tiny heroes. Like Yoda.

Slumming through Kentia Hall and the country-specific booths in the main halls led me to the cornucopia of cell phone games. I got to play Gamevil's Nom2, in its entire one button splendor: it’s the real deal. The GameQuest Direct guys seem to have republished the entire Shadow Hearts series for those who missed out on it the first time, and the definite rip-off artists Phoenix, complete with British accents, were trying to hawk 8 quid Disney-esque games like Mighty Mulan, Son of the Lion King and Countryside Bears. [We just noticed they have a game called 'Furry Tales', too - yeeeeeuch!] Barry Hatter was, sadly, MIA.

Speaking of Disney, Korean company Windysoft wins the Engrish 06 award for their press CD. Reading: “Windysoft: Disneyland of Online World! Compant (sic) that shares dreams with customers”, I found myself re-evaluating Korea’s standing in the games industry. But I leave you with a final game, also Korean. Diet Queen [we found a pic on the E3 2006 Korea site] from E3net is a cell phone game that promises you that slim body you always wanted via mini-games, jazzercise and aromatherapy. It also has a calorie calculator. This is perfect for that imaginary girlfriend you were trying to break up with. And now I sleep.

[Ryan Stevens is the associate producer on the various Cinematech shows on G4TV, which showcases many of the games written about here. He's been known to do the collaborative blog thing at That's Plenty.]