April 10th, 2007 | Feature
The Game Center CX Episode Guide
The front-to-back tribute to the Japanese TV show that flies in the face of Nintendo's epilepsy warnings.

 

Game Center CX Season 13 – Back to Contents
#103
A Youth of Sweat & Tears – "Koshien"

Chousen

This show hasn’t really been big on sports games, but this now changes when Arino is given Koshien, a Famicom baseball game that stretched out into a few sequels. Koshien takes its name after Koshien Stadium, the regular home of Japan’s National High School Baseball Championship. All Arino has to do is complete the tournament in the game, a six-team gauntlet. For the occasion, AP Ishida will be keeping score, and AD Katayama follows by giving Arino a baseball cap. Given that it’s white, Arino draws a baseball-style GCCX logo on it. Now, it’s time to begin, but before Arino can even insert the cartridge, someone yells "PLAY BALLLLLL!"

To set up the game, Arino must first choose his team, based on their balance in skills. He decides to go with Osaka, which isn’t balanced, but strong enough that they may help. After some extra steps (Arino accidentally sets up two computer-controlled teams to play), he hits the field. He’s playing as defense, so he starts as the pitcher. Arino gets rid of a couple of runners easily, but then one bunts, and Arino scrambles for the ball, unfortunately missing it, and watching as it continues to roll away, further panicking trying to figure out which fielder he’s controlling. The runner makes it to third.

The next batter also bunts, guaranteeing the other one to reach home base. The score is 0-2, but Arino keeps things at bay by catching a couple of fly balls and striking out some batters. This is all guest-narrated by a Fuji baseball announcer, by the way.

The other team loves to bunt, and pretty soon gets all the bases loaded, and again, Arino scrambles for a bunted ball, accidentally takes his 1st baseman away from his post, and ends up letting more runners hit home, making the score 4-0. Soon the bases are loaded again after Arino misses a line drive, and then the inevitable happens: the opposing team hits a home run, making the score a painful 0-10.

Eventually, finally, a change, and Arino can get his turn at the bat. Annnnnd he gets three outs in a matter of minutes. When the scoreboard is shown, the game is officially called, and Arino loses. Well then, I guess Osaka didn’t work out.

Arino gets back on the horse. He strikes out once, but after that hits a long line drive that touches the back wall, giving his runner enough time to round the bases. Well, that’s one point! But with all of Arino’s careful play, we reach the bottom of the ninth inning with Arino at 1-0, so the pressure’s on to keep the lead by the end of the 10th inning (10 is the minimum in Japan).

Arino keeps the opposing team at bay. They almost get a home run, but it hits the wall. Still, they get a runner to second, who stays there due to the next guy getting an out. But then, Arino clinches it by getting a third out, and ending the game with his 1-0 victory. Finally! Our coach is given a break by AP Ishida, who hands Arino a container of honey lemon slices, an especially nice national treat.

The next game is against Dai-ichi Nishi, who quickly scores a run just from hitting singles. Arino misses a chance to catch a fly ball, which lets the rival team get another point. And then of course they bunt, which screws up Arino once more, bumping the score to 0-6. Arino cannot pick up that ball for the life of him. Another bunt, and it’s 0-9. Eesh. 0-10, and the game is called again.

Arino starts all over, and goes back through the team selection. He happens upon the Hiroshima team, who is maxed out in every stat! We’re briefly shown the first game, where Arino blazes through 4-1. On the next game, it’s not as easy; the opposing team gets to 2-0 within minutes. And when they change sides, Arino gets bases loaded, but loses one to an out. Another change, and the rivals get up to 8-0. This is starting to seem hopeless. And indeed, it is; Arino loses 11-2.

It’s already been six hours of play. After Game Over, AD Katayama returns to tell Arino that there is a way to continue where he left off. And so he does, starting right over at the second game. We rejoin him in the middle of it, though he’s losing 6-2. A home run (his first) bumps that to 6-4, but there’s still a long way to go.

Amazingly, Arino gets bases loaded, and then makes a long drive, but it only gets him an extra run, since the opposing team was quick enough to get the ball back to the diamond. We reach the 10th inning with Arino behind 8-3. Another failure.

He’s just plain stuck. Consecutive attempts to beat the second game end in more wildly off-balance scores. It’s been another four hours. Katayama returns and offers to play for a bit to help Arino along, but only on defense. After the change, Arino takes over, and hits a home run! It’s 1-0 Arino, now, and the teamwork seems to be successful: Katayama strikes out the last batter, and with that 1-0, Arino wins the second game. Just, uh, four more to go.

In the third game, Arino keeps things at a tie for quite a while, but missing another bunt lets them sneak a run by. At the change, Arino is determined to bat a home run, and crazily enough, that’s just what he does. The score’s still tied when Arino moves back to defense, but then the opponents get in another run. 2-1. Not good.

On the change, Arino finally scores two more runs, the latter one a heart-thumping rush to home base after the ball’s tossed from rear field. But then, the other team has one runner on third base, and they have two outs already. If Arino can’t get rid of them one way or another, it’s back to hell.

Amazingly, he strikes the batter out, and the third game ends 2-3 Arino. Game 4 begins, and Arino keeps things in check for the first inning. But then it all goes to hell, as the other team scores four runs in one inning. Arino’s batting skills are failing him, too, as he keeps getting out. Well, he does get two runs in, but it’s still not a win.

No, it most certainly isn’t, not after the other team gets two more runs, and then hits home run after home run. 2-8! 2-10! 2-13! Arino restarts the game, but it’s no use. And then, he’s handed the clock. He’s been at it for over 13 hours now, and he’s given one more chance.

Arino pitches well enough to keep things at 0-0 for a few innings, but then the opposing team manages a home run. A fly ball is hit, and Arino keeps one guy at second. And then, once at bat, Arino hits the ball right to the 3rd baseman for an instant out. Change, and the other team keeps scoring homers. Arino loses with a pitiful 0-11. The game is called before the ninth inning. After 14 hours, Arino learns that even high school baseball is no day at the park.

TamaGe

We find Arino out by the highway in Ichihara, a city in Chiba, to visit Loco Bowl, a bowling alley with a fairly large game center in it. As Arino walks in to check out the games, the first thing he sees is a group of three little girls playing a gun game. The one manning the gun is hilariously hopping around and shouting. Arino walks up to her and congratulates her with a salute, but he just quickly salutes back.

The girl, Kurumi, becomes Arino’s unofficial guide to the arcade, as she sticks around to watch him play Catchinger Z, a crane game-ish machine where you must direct a robot to catch a fast-moving ball from a tube above. Arino tries and tries, but can’t seem to hold the ball.

He asks Kurumi where a good game is, and she takes Arino over to Wani Wani Panic, Namco’s classic gator-hammering game. Arino takes the mallet, and Kurumi backs him up by just slapping them. Thanks to their cheating, Arino gets 1st place with a score of 89!

Arino’s about to check out another game next to the Catchinger Z, but Kurumi wants to play it one more time! He does, and fails. But then the two new friends go over to a candy catcher, where Arino picks up a fair bit of treats, and of course, Kurumi gets one too.

And then it’s time to hit the lanes. Arino calls over AD Watanabe (who was still around at the time of this taping), and he asks her if she knows how to play. Yes, very well, in fact! Watanabe’s first ball hits nine pins, which isn’t a strike, so she still curses herself. As if to mock her, Arino follows up with a perfect strike.

Watanabe still only gets nine pins on her next turn, but the two continue playing for the rest of the day.

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Inoue shows more shocking death videos from Genpei Touma Den, Transformers (especially quick deaths in that one, too!), and Operation Wolf.

Game Collections: 1990: October – November

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