Game Center CX Season 7 – Back to Contents
Character Game Festival – What Will the Kacho Choose?
Arino walks in and sees a banner on the whiteboard; an inspirational one that an old man painted on the streets of Insadong last time in Korea. Kibe-kun then steps in and asks Arino what he thought of the trip. Well, the gambling failure still stings. Kibe also gives him that squishy pig ball thing for a stress reliever.
But anyway, onto the challenge. This one’s going to be a bit different: a "character (licensed) game" selection. Arino’s handed three Famicom games — Musashi no Ken from Taito, Ninja Hattori-kun from Hudson and Gegege no Kitaro from Bandai — all of them based on anime shows. Arino’s allowed to sample each one, then decide which will become today’s challenge. He starts with Musashi no Ken, a platformer starring the main character Musashi, with the main goal of each stage being to race a dog to the end. Arino jumps and slashes his way through the first level, until he grabs a tiny key. All of a sudden, Musashi zooms halfway across the stage! He makes it through another couple of stages before dying and moving onto the next: Ninja Hattori-kun, a beloved old game.
It’s a tough one, though, thanks to Hattori-kun’s slow movements. Arino dies once before ending stage 1, then turns it off and reaches for the next game: Gegege no Kitaro. He starts the game and, after about 7 seconds, he jumps into an enemy and dies. Arino’s silent while Kibe can’t contian his laughter. The second and third tries end just as quickly. Arino grabs the pig ball and slams it on the table.
Stage 2. Arino jumps and runs through the multi-tiered stage, but he just keeps running into projectiles. The next stage is just as bad, of course. But Arino jumps in a certain spot, which reveals a door to the next stage, but he jumps into an enemy again and gets another Game Over. OK, enough of the trial period: what will Arino finally choose?
Musashi no Ken! Arino restarts the game and warps through most of the first stage, like last time. And then it’s not long before he gets a shoe power-up, which doubles his speed. He dies soon after, and two more deaths later he finally reaches the end of the stage. But then the screen starts flashing, and he has to attack a bunch of falling logs before exiting. Dead again.
Wait! As it turns out, after Arino gets a jump power-up, he just had to collect the "G" at the end of the stage to exit. Good! He dies pretty quickly in stage 2, though, and is forced to restart at stage 1. Nope, there’s no continues here. More stupid deaths occur in stage 1. Arino decides to take a little break and check out the snacks he got from Korea (see TamaGe below). He tries the flatbread-wafer thing, then gets back to the game. Dead. The challenge passes the two-hour mark.
After dying again, Arino once again throws the pig ball down. This game seems merciless — enemies and projectiles constantly rain down out of nowhere! A nasty part of stage 2 right before the end has Arino virtually stuck in one place trying to get rid of falling boulders, but then he gets a Time Out! Toichi, the dog, made it to the goal first! Arrgh!
A few more stupid deaths later and he finally gets the "G" and moves on to stage 3. But he soon dies once more and gets a Game Over. Back we go… and the same outcome occurs. After another Game Over, Arino decides to try a secret item – the thumb pads he got in Korea. Can these help!? No, he takes them off immediately.
Another Game Over in stage 3, and another slam of the pig ball. Two hours have gone by on this stage alone! But a stroke of luck happens on the next try: Arino grabs an invincibility item! He then makes a beeline through the area as best he can. The invincibility wears off, and he’s now at a decent pa– and he falls in a hole again. And then dies again. And grabs a speed power-up only to run off into a hole. Arino throws the ball again.
Eventually he makes it out of the dojo into the last quarter of the area. Of course, he dies there. After that, he’s chased at close range by a little kendo enemy, but jumps to safety. But then, tiny enemy whales blow water into the air, which hit Arino and send him plummeting down a pit again. Game Over!
Some time later, Arino makes it back to the stage and finds another invincibility item, plus a speed power-up! He jets through the section, but with the incresed speed, he almost doesn’t make the jumps across the big gaps (the staff screaming each time doesn’t help, either). Indeed, he finally loses it and falls.
He restarts, powerless, and dies two more times by getting hit by airborne enemies, then gets another Game Over. He gets the invincibility again and starts jumping over the whales. Then he dies again by missing the narrow ledge. Holy crap. The three-hour mark passes. Arino finally makes it past the narrow ledge, but in a split second he slips off another and misses the last ledge before the goal!! He blames the controller for that one. Right.
He makes to the end on the next try, but the "G" is too high and he misses it! He tries jumping towards it again, but just falls! Again with the ball. Again with the deaths! Finally, finally, blind luck allows him to grab the "G."
Oh god, if only that were it. Unfortunately, now Arino has to engage in a kendo duel. He pauses instantly, wondering what’s happened. A check of the manual explains it: he has to defeat five opponents in duels. Round 1 begins and Arino furiously waves the sword around, but the opoonent, Udou, gets him with a lower hit. He keeps losing rounds spectacularly until finally, a Game Over. Gulp.
Like a trooper, he restarts from stage 1 and does it all over again. After some more time, he makes it back to the kendo duel, only to get rapidly defeated again and again. But once he gets into the groove, he defeats Udou and moves on to Inui. He beats him handily, then faces Ohishi. The wins rack up! It’s all smooth until he faces Musashi’s rival, Shura, who beats him immediately. Back to the start, where Udou beats him up again and then, another Game Over. On the next attempt, Arino blazes up the ranks again, even though he starts getting scared.
Back to Shura. Arino scores an early first hit! Just one more to go. Boom! Again! Arino wins! Musashi is the kendo champ! An animation of Musashi tossing a trophy is shown. Ah, sweet relief. But then, the screen flashes. Stage 1!? Wait, the color palette is different… Arino plays it for a while until getting a Game Over. Restart and… back to the normal stage 1. Ohhhh crap.
Kibe walks in. He tells Arino the bad news: the game needs to be beaten twice to get the best ending. "The Makmaimura pattern," says Arino. Yes, but it’s not all bad. Kibe says that Arino can win this challenge. All he has to do is face the staff in a kendo tournament via the game’s Vs. mode!
Back to that old device, eh? Arino just needs to win 3 times and he’s done. Fine; he rips off the label to reveal his first opponent: Abe-san. "Abe-san!?" The camerman!? An easy win, maybe? Maybe: Abe starts by darting back and forth in the corner, trying to psyche Arino out. It works, and Abe scores the first hit. But after that, Abe loses it and Arino scores two more hits.
Arino rips off the next label. Kibe-kun is next. Kibe seems to know what he’s doing, and gets the first hit. But Arino gets in a sneak attack, and then slips in another lucky hit! Kibe buries his face and leaves. Just one more win to clinch it!
Next is Suda-chan. Arino gets the first, but Suda whacks Arino in the face for the second. And then another! Arino’s first loss! He rips off the next — always leaving behind some paper afterward — to reveal his manager, Noda.
Arino wins that one in a cinch. Yay! Technically, Arino’s won, but Kibe comes in to tell him there’s one more name left. "That’s fine! I don’t need to see them!" Still, Arino is coerced into it. He rips the paper. It’s AP Tojima!
Of course, Tojima would have to be the one who did kendo in real life — guess that’s why he was last. He immediately gets the first strike. And then the second. That was what, 10 seconds? Arino whacks him with the massage stick from Korea. Grah! But he won anyway, so it’s all good.
The Korea trip lives on in this last TamaGe segment from the journey. Arino visits a small store called Husoi Super. Out in front are a few very, very squat arcade machines for the kids. Arino sits down with one of them, which has an obscure game called J.J. Squawkers, a two-player platformer. Arino and one of the little girls play a round. In a sad twist, the girl dies in the game first, and she just stands there with a blank stare. Aww!
Arino moves on to a crane game called Touch Crane. The items in the case are all inside little cages, which theoretically makes them easier to grab. Fat chance, though; the cages barely lift up once the crane grabs them.
Arino then heads inside the store and starts grabbing snacks. YanYan, dried squid, some sort of flatbread … all for about 1,000 yen. Not bad!
Let’s Do This Quickly!
Remember all those games Arino got in Korea? Well, it’s time to check them out! Arino and Kibe sit in a room with the games splayed out and the systems ready to go. The first one Arino tries is the black, scratched-up, blank pirate Game Boy cartridge.
He pops it in the Super Game Boy and up comes "Pocket Color Block," an Arkanoid clone with a slithering monster instead of a paddle. Cute, and not entirely awful. A good start!
Arino then checks out the other, labeled GB game. Come to think of it, the label on this one also says… yep, Arino turns the power on and it’s the exact same game. Kibe bursts out in laughter. Arino’s not quite as amused. "I’ve been deceived!"
Next is one of the copies of Elnard, a.k.a The 7th Saga. For some reason, Arino’s surprised that it’s in Japanese and not Korean. The list of saved games are pitiful — none being played more than 10 minutes. Arino ejects it and tries the other copy. A-ha, this one has only one file, but the character’s at level 47 with over 32 hours of play! The name of the file ("FUFUFUFUFU") suggests that it was someone who didn’t exactly know the language.
Now for the Famicom. Arino grabs another pirate cart, a "12-in-1" with "DANCE NOW!" written on it. He turns it on… and there’s nothing but an animation of three cartoon girls dancing. Three minutes go by and nothing happens. Well, the label was technically accurate.
Next up: the Go tutor game that he got for free; the one with the fat nerdy guy on the box. This one’s as advertised, as the nerdy guy shows up on the title screen and the game is, indeed, a Go tutorial. Arino plays around in the menu before giving up trying to understand it.
Finally, the kooky karaoke game that comes in a lunchbox case. The cart has a jack on the top to plug the stubby pink microphone into. Arino checks the manual, but it just has sheet music in it! The game starts, and a cartoon Michael Jackson moonwalks along the screen. Oh, this has gotta be good.
Arino starts singing whatever comes to mind as MJ continues to dance along the screen. After that, he gives Arino a score of 74! Not bad, apparently. Arino then picks his "favorite" game of the bunch: Dance Now!
Well now, it seems everything is coming along nicely with Arino no Chousenjou. The camera sneaks up on Arino, who is playtesting the game.
And then we’re finally shown actual footage of it! The player is sent back in time by the Game Devil King Arrino, and must play a series of "Game Computer" cartridges. We’re shown Cosmic Gate (a Galaga-like shooter), Haguruman (a panel-flipping action game), and screens of Rally King.
The game also has Arino as a little boy, and even a fake game magazine with tips from the ADs! After that, we’re shown Arino in the studio as he records his voice for the game — though it’s just little grunts and gasps to punctuate the game’s text. Then, back in the playtest room, Arino shows off some ideas sent in by a viewer. November can’t come soon enough!
Game & Watch Hottokenai Yo
It seems that the Game & Watches get bigger as the history goes on, and this proves it: this time Arino looks at the Tabletop Series, two G&W games with big color screens and big plastic bodies (just like the old Coleco tabletop games).
Arino tries out Mario’s Cement Factory first. He gets the aim of the game, but he doesn’t seem to realize that he can’t jump down to a lower elevator, as it kills him.
A couple of misses later, he moves on to Donkey Kong Jr. Compared to Mario, this one’s pretty complicated: Junior must navigate the jungle, get a key, then put it in the keyhole Papa is swinging around… four times. Arino nearly dies twice riding the balloons up, then a few times more evading the enemy birds. And then he drops the key when he misses Papa!
So how much do they run? How about 29,800 yen for Mario ($250) and 10,000 more for DK Jr. ($335)! No way Arino is touching that.