Friday, 11 May 2012

Retro Gaming Television

Happy Friday!  It’s been a long week but we have finally made it:)

Today I figured I would talk about my favorite television show.  I know this sounds really lame but I promise it is retro game related J  4 years ago I stumbled across an awesome show online called Game Center CX.

The star of the show is Shinya Arino.  On the show he is known as the Kacho which means Section Chief and depending on how good he does at his challenges he can either get promoted or demoted.  Arino is a comedian and child at heart who will be 40 this year, and has 2 little kids at home.  He played Famicom and Super Famicom games back in the day, but he isn’t a professional gamer by any stretch of the imagination.  He makes up with this with his perseverance; this guy is very determined and won’t give up easily.  He will do whatever he can to entertain the audience and not disappoint them.  

To help him on his quest are his Assistant Directors.  An AD is someone that will help Arino through a tricky part on a level, give him hints, or a strategy guide when he gets stuck.  The AD’s usually play through the game right before filming so if necessary they can help him out.  I almost forgot to mention the awesome narrator; he not only narrates but makes funny comments about what the Kachou is doing throughout the show.  He definitely helps guide the episode along.

Every episode Arino is given a game (usually Famicom or Super Famicom) that he is required to beat in a certain time limit, or complete a certain challenge.  So Arino sits in his room with his white board behind him, and his table full of snacks to give him energy throughout the day.  One of Arino’s signature items is his cooling head pads that are commonly used to help headaches.  When he gets really frustrated or tired he slaps one of these on his head to refresh himself and give him a burst of energy.  On a side note I’ve tried these and they work great if you are having a long gaming session.

The show is an hour long is mixed with footage of Arino sitting there playing the game, his great reactions, and in game footage of him playing.  Throughout the show there are different segments that are tossed in.  Some like You Should Visit this Game Center Sometime where he takes trips to arcades and game centers that viewers suggest he goes to or Moshi Moshi where Arino is playing a difficult game and calls viewers for their help.  Mix this with short Game Collection segments that show a collection of Famicom games that came out in a specific year (ie. 1985) and it never gets dull.  Plus I’m kind of evil and I enjoy watching other people play games and get frustrated sometimes.  It’s nice when you see other people have trouble with games you had trouble with too. It may sound like a boring concept, but this show has a great mix of comedy, drama and extremely tense moments so it’s totally worth watching.

This show is so popular that it is on its 15th season in Japan.  So far Arino has challenged 135 different games.  Some games he plays are Famicom exclusive but a lot of the games are ones we are familiar with.  I’ve actually figured out Famicom games to get or avoid based on this show :p There are a few groups out there that have taken it upon themselves to translate and subtitle episodes like Something Awful and TV-Nihon just to name a few.  If you do some searching it won’t be hard to find.  Kotaku even had the rights to air a few episodes on their site last year, but they subbed over the narrator parts which got pretty annoying.  I highly recommend they subtitled ones.  The cool thing is a lot of the episodes are up on youtube they have some if you want to get a taste of the show. Here’s the episode for Mega Man 2, it's one of my favorite games so I thought it would be a good one to choose. I can’t wait until they subtitle the Battletoads episode, that game is evil!

If you like the show be sure to check out Retro Game Challenge for the DS which is based on this show.  You won’t be disappointed!  And like Arino the Game Master says, be sure to game for at least 12 hours a day!