Game Center CX Season 13 – Back to Contents
The Man Who Made "Dragon Quest" – Yuji Horii Special
Last time, Arino played through a classic adventure game from Yuji Horii, but in the middle of the show, Horii actually showed up, and then the two men went off for a bit to have an interview in the Game Center CX storage room. This episode is entirely that interview (well, except the regular segments below).
Horii’s game career began in 1983, but before that, he was kicking around as a freelance writer. But his love of games led him to enter an Enix game design contest in 1982, the same contest that Koichi Nakamura, another part of the Dragon Quest team, would enter. Horii’s entry was a game called Love Match Tennis. Both his and Nakamura’s games ended up published, and from there, Horii was in it to win it.
As a writer, Horii was attracted to adventure games, and wrote a few murder-mystery games for Enix in the following years. Horii’s confidant back then was Sakuma Akira, a fellow writer who later helped create the Momotaro Dentetsu series. Horii further tells Arino about how The Okhotsk Disappearance came to be, including the secret "nude scene" in the game. (There was much deliberation over how long the player should wait before it shows up.)
After that, Horii talks about Dragon Quest, the name that propelled him and his co-creators to true stardom. Inspired by the computer RPGs he loved, Horii set out to create his own, but with a focus on the Famicom market. And as the story goes, horii and Nakamura enlisted the help of Akira Toriyama for character designs (and they were pretty impressed even by the simple brilliance of his Slime character), and Koichi Sugiyama for the music, who they got ahold of after seeing Sugiyama’s registration card for one of Enix’s games.
Conversation moves on to Dragon Quest III, which rounded out the Loto trilogy, and Dragon Quest IV, which started anew with the chapter-based story. Horii’s overall favorite is Dragon Quest, which has the story he enjoyed working on the most. And when it comes to DQIX, Horii’s put in a lot of time with that himself, especially the game’s tag mode, with which he’s collected the info of over 1,000 other players.
But what non-Horii game is Horii’s favorite? That would be Famicom Wars (later Advance Wars). Others include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and most recently, Heavy Rain. That last one makes sense, since it is kind of the closest cousin to Horii’s old mystery adventures.
This time, Arino is in to visit the "Hybrid Leisure Land," the Tobu Zoo. It is more of a commercialized park than a zoo as you may know it, which means there’s plenty of space for carnival games, rides, and, of course, video games.
Arino enters through the gates and heads to the fish feeding pond, filled with giant koi. After that, it’s a trip on the park’s mini-train to reach "Rainbow Town," the park’s stretch of carnival games. He heads for the first one he sees, a standard shooting gallery game, where instead of separate moving tracks, the prizes you shoot down are on one big platform going back and forth.
Arino does his usual cheat of leaning right over and pointing the pop gun right at a prize, and though the girl behind the counter doesn’t stop him, she does tell him not to brace himself down with his free hand. His prize? A Minnie Mouse eraser.
The next game is Bingo de Pon, where you toss three very bouncy balls into a series of holes to try and form a straight line, or a "bingo." Arino manages to get two balls in the middle, but the third lands in a spot too far up. Arino walks a few feet to the next game, Otedama, where you toss bean bags at prizes moving on a small ferris wheel. The bubbly attendant girl is following him to each of these games, and when Arino wins at Otedama, she starts ringing a giant hand bell. Embarrassed, Arino asks her to stop.
Arino’s prize there is an Anpanman mug. And then, finally, he reaches the game center, which is a bit sparse, but has a decent selection of games. Arino notices a rack of props for the print club machines, including animal hats. Arino immediately puts one on, then goes to try a nearby ball-tossing game called Fun Fun Cup, where you try to shove as many balls as possible into a giant Cup Noodle container.
Arino madly shoves armfuls of balls into the cup, and at the end, he gets the top rank. But for some reason, the machine isn’t dispensing a prize. Disappointed, Arino takes off the animal hat and continues to look around the arcade. He soon finds Inu no Osanpo, Sega’s dog-walking arcade game where you walk on a treadmill holding the leash of a plastic dog, who is also represented onscreen.
Inu no Osanpo actually has a story behind it, where your virtual dog can get into some reasl drama, going up against bigger dogs and such in a very not-serious series of minigames. Following that is another Sega classic, Jambo Safari. Arino drives the game’s safari jeep around and tries to catch the wildlife with a whiplike rope. He does OK, but the fun is short-lived, as he gets a Time Over.
Later on, Arino Georama Tetsudou, which is basically a large model train display under glass, but consoles outside the machine show the view of cameras attached to the front of the trains. Pretty darn cool. From there, the game is similar to Densha De Go, where you must simply make every stop swiftly and accurately. But once again, his time with it lasts just one session.
Outside the arcade is a fleet of motorized animal cars to ride. Arino invites Inoko MAX over to ride one, and so he does. But Arino fakes out Inoue, staying put while watching the AD putter away on a horse.
Crash Videos MAX
In this final installment, Inoue shocks Arino with scenes from Shockman, Ninja Spirit, Altered Beast (that transformation scene was scary), and Wonder Momo.