Game Center CX Season 11 – Back to Contents
Welcome Back! The Fukuoka Homecoming Special
An event that couldn’t be covered before season 10 ended was Arino’s cross-country adventure to promote the DS game Arino no Chousenjou 2, called "The Kacho’s Repayment Tour 2009." He hit three cities — Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka — in one day. And for this episode, we’re following Arino and the rest of the staff’s journey to all the game centers and other cool spots in Fukuoka.
The first stop is the Daizaifu Amusement Park, which is preceded by a long market street. Arino spots a restaurant with a young woman handing out samples of the house soup, and he gets himself a cup. He also steps into a gift shop and then a small restaurant that serves mentaiko (walleye eggs). Unfortunately, all this eating has distracted him from looking for video games. At least he catches himself, and this time starts looking for an arcade.
Well, it’s not quite the same, but Arino does find a couple of shooting galleries to try out. He gets a couple of prizes, but inside the boxes are just miniature sea life. He shows them off to a group of little schoolgirls, who gladly take them from him.
Arino and the staff then stop at the nearby shrine and do the customary praying, and even get a group photo. He then writes down a wish for continued success on a wooden plate.
Then it’s time to enter the amusement park proper. The place is pretty empty at this time of day, so there’s plenty of fun to be had! The first thing that catches Arino’s eye is a Mini Viking boat, much like the one he rode on in South Korea. He calls over AD Watanabe and the two get in. It sarts swinging slowly, but then the fanciful music starts. They’re not in there long.
The next ride Arino drags Watanabe onto is the Sky Cycle, essentially a pedal monorail. With cameraman Abe and VE Suda in the front cycle Arino gets the bright idea to try to bump into them. Things quickly turn into a high-speed chase, but please, folks, leave the horsing around to the professionals.
Finally, Arino finds the arcade and as usual, starts with the crane games, and then finds Namco’s Wani Wani Panic. Back outside, Arino finds another ride: a tiny battleship. He sits on the bow and puts Watanabe up on the guns in front. The poor girl can barely fit in the seat, though, which opens her up for mockery from Arino. He even playfully leaves her behind after the ship shuts off.
Up on a hill is the next attraction: a larger shooting gallery with "bazookas" that fire softballs at dinosaurs from a distance. Arino can barely aim, and when he gets Abe (whose idea it was to go to the place), he’s not much better.
The next stop is in Hakata: the Starlanes Plaza, a gigantic bowling alley with more than a few arcade games on its spacious floors. What Arino goes for first is 30 Test, the Namco button-pressing machine that he tried back in the day with AD Inoue. He doesn’t risk losing this time, though, so he continues. He walks by a bank of Sega UFO Catchers, and one of them has a blue Hello Kitty caught in its claws, as if it’s been hanged. After looking at it in amazement for a few moments, Arino tries to shake it loose. It’s really stuck on that claw, though. Guess we know why it wasn’t claimed. It looks like Arino might give up, but nope, he puts another coin in. The crane’s reset, of course, so he moves it a little and — plop — Hello Kitty falls back into the pile. Now he gives up.
Arino spots a cool-looking video game called Mawasundaa!! from Taito. You spin a large wheel to control a series of minigames, like rolling a sushi kaiten to give patrons their desired dishes, or get a guy that looks like the Penguin out of a ruin as he’s chased by a huge stone statue. Right next to that game is Namco’s Panic Park, where two players push levers from side to side in a series of competitive games. Arino gets Watanabe to join him, and he ends up winning the series of games, much to Watanabe’s chagrin.
And then, oh boy, a motorcycle game! Arino gets camerman Abe to join him in Namco’s Cyber Cycles, but this time, they have to play against each other rather than Arino riding bitch. And Abe’s from Hakata, so he has home field advantage. Needless to say, Arino crashes a lot. But at the end, miraculously, he gets 1st place! Abe is more than a little humbled.
Then, it’s time to go bowling. Urakawa joins Arino for a few frames. The kacho knocks over a few at first, but "Ace" Urakawa naturally gets a strike on his first go. Arino then mimics the goofy guys a few lanes down, and joins in their also-goofy dancing when he picks up a spare.
Night falls, and that means dinner. Arino and Watanabe sit down at an old-fashioned ramen stand and have a bowl of noodles (or two, in Watanabe’s case). That’s the end of the Fukuoka visit!
Chousenjou 2 Tour
For the first part of the Kacho’s Repayment Tour, we go to Fukuoka, of course. The day starts at almost 8:00 in the morning, and Arino and some of the staff make their way to the local Tsutaya store. The GCCX event starts at 9:30, where Arino does his usual sketchbook presentation, then the fans come up to get their autographs, though in this case, Arino is putting his handprint on them. From salarymen to hysterical women to happy couples, everyone gets Arino’s hand on something, whether it’s their pregnant bellies or even their Wii consoles. By 10:15, it’s time to say goodbye, and Arino and his orange-inked hand travel to the next city, Osaka.
It’s now after noon, and Arino dashes to the car that will take the staff to Osaka — the event there starts at 1:30, and it’s almost 1:00! The traffic gods smile upon them, though, and they make it just in time. Even as the event ends and the audience applauds, Arino runs offstage and back outside to head to Tokyo.
The Tokyo event is in the evening, and a bunch of fans show up in the theater in the Bandai Namco building. Not only is Arino there, but all of the staff from Chousenjou 2 developer Indies Zero. The fans continue to get their stuff stamped, including the woman who ended up as an "extra" in Chousenjou 2’s detective adventure game. Another guy who won the signed karaoke game Arino got in South Korea even found the elderly shopkeeper from the same place and got a picture of him.
Game Center CX News
Promotion of Retro Game Master continues, as far away as Dubai and the city’s Character Dubai expo. Representatives had a booth to show off the show and even sell merchandise to the Arab attendees.
In the next segment, we follow Arino as he visits the Taito Happy Station arcade, which is featuring Space Invaders CX for the final day, as well as a ton of classic Taito games. Arino samples games like the positively ancient Speed Runner and the Breakout-like Acrobat. And of course, he also plays Space Invaders CX again.