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 6 – Back to Contents
#41
ファン感謝デー 決着!? 「マイティボンジャック」
Fan Appreciation Day: The Conclusion!? "Mighty Bomb Jack"

This extra special episode of GCCX is part challenge, part documentary. What seemed to be a simple promotional show for DVD Box 3 turned out to be a full-blown production: a live version of the show, and the ultimate fanservice.

Mighty Bomb Jack has been the game that drew the most drama to the show in the sixth season, perhaps ever. A three-day saga filled with crazy stunts and extreme determination. Arino eventually moved on to another game, but things would not so simply end where they did.

December 23, 2006 – The Japan Education Hall, Tokyo

In the morning hours, the Game Center CX staff piles into the Japan Education Hall and starts setting up equipment. Camerman Abe sets up his gear and AD Inoue prepares the TV and Famicom for the challenge. Soon, the audience is let in to sit down and prepare for the show. The auditorium has 800 seats; about 650 of those will be filled by the start of the show. The merchandise counter in the lobby has quite the crowd around it.

And inside the performer’s dressing room, Arino is sitting down with his own Famicom, playing Mighty Bomb Jack to warm up. Before long, it’s time to get in place for showtime. Inoue is silent; visibly nervous. Arino has to go to the bathroom, and even a seasoned performer like him is nervous.

Chousen

The lights are dimmed. The familiar dance mix of Beethoven’s 9th rises up, as does the curtain. The stage is bare. The music changes to a rendition of Jingle Bells (well, it was that time of year). A man emerges from the side. It’s enginner Suda! Without words, he goes up to the TV on the desk, fiddles with it, then leaves, dumping a pair of headphones on the console at the edge of the stage.

And then in comes cameraman Abe to the tune of "Buchigiri Rock ‘N Roll." His assistant scurries behind him, setting down his chair behind the camera. A pause. A ringing phone echoes throughout the auditorium, and then a meager voice… "Yes… Inoko here." Coming down from the seats is a "tardy" Inoko MAX, who hurries up to the stage and places the snacks and cold pads on the desk. He then turns to the audience and summons the Kacho. After an entrance movie, Arino busts in from behind the stands!

The surprised audience erupts in applausse. Arino makes his way down to the stage, high-fiving every fan along the way. He gets to the stage, and then the narrator prefaces the challenge. Inoko MAX hands Arino today’s challenge game: "Ah! Mighty Bomb Jack!!" The audience "oohs" and cheers. A recap of the last two episodes is shown, and then we’re brought back to the stage, with Arino sitting quietly at the desk. Inoue sits down with him. He’s spent the morning trying to get back to where they left off in the game, and in that time has made it to stage 12 with 33 lives. Someone from the audience yells "Inoue, good job!"

The narrator announces the start of the challenge! The "DUHN-DUHNN" noise echoes through the hall and the lights turn a dim blue. Arino laughs at the tension of it all, stalling in a way. Once again the narrator says "START!" *DUHN-DUHNN* Everybody laughs again. Arino says to Inoue, "that man’s scary, huh?" Finally, Arino unpauses the game and begins.

He glides through stage 12, getting applause as soon as he exits. But there’s still the Palace room to get through! Arino collects the bombs in the middle, leaving the last one in the upper left corner. A lone spark enemy is coming up from the other side, though. Arino pauses and tries to plan this out. He needs to get the bomb and evade the enemy, then dash across and back up to the exit. He unpauses and goes for it. He narrowly escapes the enemy, sending the audience (and himself) in a tizzy, but he manages to shoot up, grazing another enemy and successfully getting out! He warps to the stage 13 Palace.

He darts through the room, the audience yelping throughout, but he’s eventually hit and loses his first life. And since he "warped" from stage 12, he’s sent back there. He gets through the main part and back to the Palace. A few people instantly shout "warp!" or "save!" Arino goes with warping again. Back to the 13th palace. Now Arino wonders aloud what course of action to take. The crowd starts yelling again. It’s too much for Arino, so he asks for an applause check. Those who want him to save start clapping, then those who want him to warp. The "warp" group is comparitively scattered. So it’s settled, right? The audience continues to yell out advice.

Arino goes for it, but the enemies close in. He squeezes past the group, but they catch him in the end. Back to stage 12! Arino dies in the Palace room right after getting the last bomb. 28 lives remain, but not for long. Arino’s skill starts faltering, losing life after life while still in the main room of stage 12! But the crowd is still cheering. At one point Arino misjudges a jump and starts floating along the insanely long bed of fire in the stage. The audience’s moans grow higher and higher until Arino reaches the end–!! But dies.

With 25 lives left, the narrator/producer chimes in. He asks Arino to let Inoko MAX handle this one for a while. Arino cheerfully and quickly hands the controller to Inoue. Unfortunately, Arino paused the game when he was less than an inch above the fire bed. Inoue looks pained; there’s no way to escape a pinch of that magnitude. He takes his time hesitating, and the crowd yells out their encouragement. Unpause — "Dahhuh!" — dead.

Arino laughs, then jokingly asks if Inoue remembers what button does what. Inoue properly restarts and gets to the stage 12 Palace. The crowd continues to yell their suggestions, but Arino pushes for a warp. Inoue slips up on the first try, but gets through on the second and again warps to 13. Pause! One person in the audience suggests getting Abe’s advice. Arino laughs, then goes ahead and asks Abe what he thinks they should do. Without a beat he says "save." Inoko MAX goes for it, but ends up getting trapped again.

It’s time for something new. Time to bring in the big guns. The narrator announces the arrival of "Ace" AD Shun Urakawa! Chair in hand, Urakawa steps up onto the stage and asks Arino for one chance to play. The audience applauds, and Urakawa sits down.

Urakawa blasts through stage 12, but as soon as he gets to the Palace room he accidentally gets the first fire bomb, causing an unwanted "save." It doesn’t matter much, as he ends up dying anyway. Arino takes a deep breath. If the power of these three men can’t get past this one stage, what more is there?! Urakawa starts over. He gets the last bomb, but there’s already a group of enemies there. In an amazing display of skill (or luck?) he grazes past them through the one open spot and dashes to the exit.

Urakawa continues to stage 13, and reaches the Palace room. He collects a few bombs, then remembers to pause. Warp or save? As usual, the crowd shouts their suggestions. Arino decides to ask Abe again. "Save." All right then. Urakawa goes for the rest of the bombs, but it thrown off and killed. But he saved at 13, so it’s a little bit shorter of a climb back to the Palace room. He dies again. Silence. "…Sorry!" He restarts, makes it back to the Palace, but then it’s about time to hand the controller back to Arino.

He dies pretty quickly, though. And again, and again. He’s now down to 15 lives. A few more deaths dwindle it down to 12. The narrator chimes in again. Arino’s not alone with these ADs, in front of him is a "staff" of 800, after all. Why not get some help from the audience?! Arino understands, and the three men stand up. Arino asks if there’s any Mighty Bomb Jack pros in the house. Only a few hands go up, much to Arino’s chagrin. He ends up choosing a glasses-wearing boy from the crowd, who then makes his way up to the stage.

He sits down without a word and instantly starts playing. They didn’t even get his name yet! The kid dashes through stage 13, and to Arino’s surprise he uses one of the B-button powers to turn the enemies into coins. But pretty soon he slips off a cloud and plummets to his death. On the next try he gets to the Palace room, and insanely squeezes past the enemies to get the bombs. Not once, not twice, but three times. The crowd yells in pain, but not as much as Arino does. Eventually the kid is pinched and dies. "This’ll be it," he says.

He dies within a minute, then sets down the controller and gallops back to his seat to a round of applause. And they still didn’t get his name! The fun isn’t over, though. Arino calls out for another kid to help, and they get one: a 9 year-old boy this time. He reaches for the controller, but Arino stops him to get his name: Takashi. Arino asks Takashi-kun if he’s familiar with Bomb Jack. Nope, not at all! Hoo boy. Takashi starts the game, moves around for a second, then falls right off the first platform to his death. Arino yanks the controller back and sends Takashi-kun off. But not before thanking him and waving goodbye as the boy returns to his seat.

Arino gets some older volunteers. A couple guys in their late 20s and 30s step up to give it a go. At least they’re of the Famicom generation, so they should have an idea what to do, right? Not so much. The audience participation part of the show ends without any progress. Arino sends Inoko MAX back to the fray to try and get through this damnable stage.

He bounces across the Palace room, once again stopping the hearts of everyone in the auditorium. He almost makes it, too, if it weren’t for a turtle that quickly flies right into him. He tries again and again, but still no luck. 3 lives left. The controller is handed back to Arino, and as soon as it is, a voice from the crowd suggests putting on a cold pad. Of course! Arino pulls one out and then restarts stage 13.

He gets to the Palace and grabs the "P" symbol that turns the enemies into coins, and gets to the last one right as the power-up tune ends, very nearly killing him. He leaps out of the way, but it just delays the inevitable. Two lives. Arino retstarts, but flies right into an enemy before reaching the door to the Palace. One life. He makes it back to the Palace, but is killed rather quickly. Game Over.

… But not the show. The audience chants for an encore, and the narrator announces a break in the action. Our three challengers bow, and the curtain lowers for an intermission.

The second the curtain touches down, the staff goes into action. Inoko MAX goes back to getting as far as he can with as many lives as possible. The staff gathers around the desk and does some quick planning. They eventually leave, but Inoue is stuck replaying the game.

After some time, the curtain rises again, and Arino is joined onstage by Urakawa, with Inoko MAX still plugging away at the game in the background. Arino asks him how many lives he’s gotten now: 8! After that, it’s time for a small presentation of the Game Center CX News. The DVD sets have sold well and the show was officially recognized as a hit by Fuji, so it’s been a great year so far. Kibe-kun then joins Arino to read some letters of encouragement, and then the narrator announces it’s time to get back to business.

Arino and Urakawa sit back down with Inoko MAX. He’s returned to stage 13, with 13 lives! Arino starts at the 13th Palace, and naturally is dead within seconds. But on the second try, he manages to get the P coin at the right time, get the last half of the bombs and exit just as the enemies are turning back to normal! That’s worth some applause, for sure. He only saved, but that’s OK; at least he’s made it to stage 14 now.

He pauses as soon as he enters 14, and takes a drink of water. Inoko MAX interjects and tells Arino where the Sphinx item is: right under the first treasure chest. Arino unpauses and uncovers the Sphinx, but dies right after that. On the next attempt he gets it, and slips through to the exit door. But there’s another big room to get through, and the spaces are tight! Amazingly, he gets through to the 14th Palace.

Pause! Now what: warp or save? The voices are strong: save!! Arino begins. The monsters are easily trapped under the platforms, which may or may not have resulted in another completely lucky power-up situation. Arino finishes up and flies out to another happy crowd. Stage 15 is next, and Arino glides through it fairly easily, until he’s decisively trapped by a bug enemy. On the next try he dies just plain stupidly. Now only 9 lives remain. He makes it to the Palace this time.

Arino decides to warp, so he leaves the one fire bomb alone. Once again, a P coin just happens to travel his way and he cleans house. Unfortunately, he grabs the fire bomb before the end, negating the warp, but still, it’s a safe exit. The end is getting ever closer! Arino’s getting pretty nervous now, but there’s no time for nervous when a room of several hundred people want to see you succeed.

Stage 16 begins. Arino shoots through the first room, but the second is a doozy, with another long fire bed to glide across. The audience panics, but Arino makes it across safely and into the Palace. He ends up saving, but is clipped by a fireball anyway. The next attempt is still tense, but he gets back to the Palace. Per Urakawa’s suggestion, he waits for the mummy enemies to drop, then jumps over to another P coin which turns the mummies-cum-birds into coins. He doesn’t finish by the time the music ends, but he does manage to get the last three bombs, which are conveniently right next to the exit.

The next stage begins, but Inoko MAX interrupts. He needs to show Arino something important, but can’t do it on just the TV. The three men stand up and Inoue, with pointer in hand, goes over to the giant projection. He directs Arino to another Sphinx hidden in the blocks. But it’s buried pretty far, so it will require a few jumps. And with the unpredictable enemies, that won’t be easy. The trio sits back down with a hesitant Arino. He breathes, then begins. And dies.

Arino continues to weave back and forth, up and down the stage, but the enemies just aren’t giving him a break here. He hops back up and down onto the point where the Sphinx is. He clears two blocks, then jumps out of the way before he’s hit. Just one more and the Sphinx is his! But then he slips and falls all the way to the bottom. The crowd goes nuts, but he doesn’t die! He jumps down into the slot he created, reveals the treasure chest, then leaps out again. Holy. Crap. He jumps to the top, floats down, turns right, turns left — dead.

He dies three more times, getting down to three lives left. He starts again, and goes through the same careful motions. And then someone yells out. He should get the chest on the other side! Arino gives it a try. Inside the chest is a P coin! The enemies transform, giving Arino a wide open window to get the Sphinx. He runs over to the block, but he can’t – quite – position himself. The music ends and the enemies return! Another wave of noise from the crowd. Arino goes for it: he jumps down into the hole, jumps again, and again, and boom, the Sphinx is his! Instant pause while the audience claps.

Of course, now he has to get out. Arino takes a minute to think about it. He could use a B-button power-up, but doing so may make the next room with the tower of chests nigh-impossible. Arino considers it, but the crowd wants him to do the right thing. He unpauses and presses B to turn all the enemies into coins, then rushes into the next room. Still powered-up, he runs straight through the bottom chest to get the next Sphinx, then back out. Now it’s just a hop, step and a jump up into the exit door. Whoosh!

Inoue calls for a pause before doing anything else. The narrator chimes in and tells Arino: this is the final screen of Mighty Bomb Jack! Four days worth of playing has finally brought Arino here. Inoko MAX stands up and runs over to the screen. The imprisoned king in the middle of the stage is surrounded by several blocks, but only one of them can be jumped on and broken to free him. Arino needs to break the block, get the King, then get out. The audience starts chanting for Arino’s success. This is the absolute peak. Arino wipes his hands on his legs, takes off his jacket and cracks his knuckles. One final suggestion from the crowd: a squid stick for power! Of course! And it’s a tasty one, too.

Arino unpauses and begins. He hops onto the blocks. The enemies come in, but he presses B to transform them. He goes in and grabs the king. The power-up music ends just as he leaps out of the cell and grazes an enemy on the way up.

It’s good.

We get some comments from audience members on their way out, and then we see Arino in a boardroom, getting one final taste of Bomb Jack.

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