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Japan Charts: Market looks up after slump as Nintendo's Hamtaro debuts on top

The Japanese software sales market seems to be picking up slightly after a major slump in the past few weeks, with a number of new releases reinvigorating sales, including Nintendo's latest addition to the Hamtaro franchise on GBA.

The Japanese software sales market seems to be picking up slightly after a major slump in the past few weeks, with a number of new releases reinvigorating sales, including Nintendo's latest addition to the Hamtaro franchise on GBA.

Tottoko Hamtaro 4 went in at number one with sales of 65,000 units - lower than the previous instalment in the Hamtaro series, which managed 71,000 units in week one, but still a promising debut for a series which has traditionally sold slowly but surely (the previous title accumulated sales of around a quarter of a million units in total).

The Hamtaro franchise doesn't seem to export terribly well, however - despite launches for some of the games and an attempt to push the TV series and merchandise in the west, the brand hasn't been able to replicate its Japanese success overseas to any significant degree.

There's another new entry this week at number two for Pachinko (a popular Japanese gambling game) title Ultimate Pachinko Station V7: Tensai Bakabon 2, and then a rather surprising number three - namely EA's Japanese release of the PS2 version of Max Payne. A western game in the Japanese top ten is a rare enough sight, but Max Payne enters the chart only weeks after K2's Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven topped the rankings. Fluke, or a sign that western software is achieving wider acceptance in Japan? Only time will tell.

Elsewhere, Nintendo's GBA catalogue continues to prove massively popular despite the overall sales slump, and there's space in the top ten for Wario Ware Inc, Pokemons Ruby and Sapphire and Fire Emblem: Sword of Recca as well as Hamtaro. Enix' GBA RPG, Dragon Warrior Monsters: Caravan Heart, is also still selling well and is at number six this week.

Pos. Platform Title Publisher Released
1. GBA Tottoko Hamtaro 4 Nintendo 23/05/2003
2. PS2 Ultimate Pachinko Station V7: Tensai Bakabon 2 Sunsoft 22/05/2003
3. PS2 Max Payne EA 22/05/2003
4. GBA Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ Nintendo 21/03/2003
5. PS2 Taiko no Tatsujin: Doki! Spring Festival Namco 27/03/2003
6. GBA Dragon Warrior Monsters: Caravan Heart Enix 29/03/2003
7. GBA Pokemon Ruby Nintendo 21/11/2002
8. GBA Pokemon Sapphire Nintendo 21/11/2002
9. PS2 Phantom: Phantom of Inferno Princess Soft 22/05/2002
2. GBA Fire Emblem: Sword of Recca Nintendo 25/04/2003

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Rob Fahey avatar

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.