GameCenter CX (domestically imported as Retro Game Master) is a Japanese television series where Shinya Arino, a member of comedy duo Yoiko, plays Japan's most popular classic video games and records his progress. From shooters (his worst genre) to puzzles (his best) and anything in between, Arino tackles an amazing variety of games. He is supported by his Assistant Directors (ADs) and staff, who offer moral support, tips and tricks, and occasionally take the controller and play themselves. He also gets the chance to interview game designers and to visit arcades all over Japan.
For the season 10 opener we have a game that was memorably mangled in its overseas release, it's Dragon Ball! As it turns out, Master Roshi doesn't like sandwiches as much as you might have originally thought. It's that time again as the Game Center CX crew pay a visit to the Tokyo Game Show and they brought the massive announcement of Retro Game Challenge 2 along with them. There was also some talk of the English release of Retro Game Challenge as well as Arino's usual visit to the Game Center CX merchandise booth. Sing Whatever The Hell You Want is the title for season 10's new segment and it gives you exactly what it says on the tin. In it Arino sings submitted lyrics to the tune of famous video game music or sound effects. This week's tune is the theme from world 1-2 in Super Mario Bros. To go along with the announcement of the game sequel a sequel to Project: Game Version has also been launched. Since the game is still in the very early stages this first report has Arino speaking to the producers about the vision for the game.
While puzzle games are traditionally Arino's strong suit, Super Gussun Oyoyo has a little twist. It's a block based puzzle game but you are using those blocks in order to guide an AI controlled Gussun to the exit of each stage. Arino will have to keep the little fella in one piece if he hopes to see the ending. Things get crazy at Miracle In, the location for today's TamaGe. But before things get too wacky, Arino partakes in a bit of magnetism and the thrill of reading technical manuals. Everything Important In Life, I Learned From Video Game Guides teaches us that Starship Hector contains an important message about overcoming our fears.
Koshien takes its name after Koshien Stadium, the regular home of Japan’s National High School Baseball Championship. All Arino has to do is complete the tournament in the game, a six-team gauntlet. For the occasion, AP Ishida will be keeping score, and AD Katayama follows by giving Arino a baseball cap.
As it was with the third game so it is with the fourth. Mega Man 4's challenge has entered its second day. After finally reaching the evil Doctor's castle last time out Arino has an uphill battle ahead of him as each stage is harder than the last until the final showdown with the Doctor himself. Once you get past the bizarre German theming and angel pig mascots, Tokyo German Village houses a traditional arcade inside its walls. Arino tries his hand at feeding some zoo animals before taking on some ADs at a game of soccer with a unique control mechanism. With the race relatively even one contestant will try to pull ahead in To Catch A Catch Copy by identifying a mysterious game, a game with strong enemies and a bird simulator.
Being the Puzzle Chief, Arino actually selected this game to be his last challenge of the fourteenth season during the new year's special. And so he will attempt to build a series of staircases to heaven in Namco's puzzle classic, Tower Of Babel. It is the final round of To Catch A Catch Copy and Arino and Nakayama are evenly poised to take the honors. One will attempt to pull ahead for good by matching games to taglines about the number one arcade port, a terrifying experience and a challenging game fit for a genius.
Arino takes to the hover track when he challenges Nintendo's futuristic racing classic, F-Zero. Arino claims he played the game exhaustively as an adult and so boldly sets the game to the highest difficulty. Will his confidence prove to be his downfall or is he really the fastest thing on no wheels? Today Arino will visit Miharashiya Candy Shop which is referred to as a children's store and it's easy to see why as the place is soon heaving with them. Arino tries to play some In The Hunt and Monster Land in the sea of children until he retreats into the store to buy some candy for himself. Arino and Ms. Nishiyama discover the true meaning of love when they read a key scene from Fire Emblem in Retro Read Aloud.
Evidentially setting the difficulty to expert wasn't a great idea as Arino's standard challenge of F-Zero enters its second lap. Arino will hope he can keep a certain elderly driver at bay as he races towards the finish line. A stationary store loved by children and even immortalised in a song will be the venue for today's TamaGe. The store has a few games outside including not one but two Metal Slug games, one of which Arino and AD Katayama play together. Inside the store, AD Takahashi just can't walk away from the opportunity to win a poster of his favorite AKB48 member. Ms. Nishiyama is slightly confused by an infamous scene from Dragon Quest 3 during Retro Read Aloud, but luckily Arino is there to set her straight.
It's time for Arino to challenge a game that was deemed too bad to be released in the United States, Bio-Warrior Dan. Arino will travel back to the distant past of 1999 and do battle across 5 alien worlds to try and prevent an evil alien, Increaser, from enslaving the future. Today's TamaGe isn't to an arcade but to Café Charade, a husband and wife run business with but a solitary slot game inside. After his luck turns Arino moves on from the game to an expensive capsule machine. Although Arino isn't too pleased with his prize an egg sandwich leaves him feeling much better. It's a classic scene from a classic game in Retro Read Aloud when Arino and Ms. Nishiyama read Frog's introductory scene from Chrono Trigger.
The last time Arino dealt with an Irem action game he dispatched it in record time but Metal Storm will prove to be a different beast altogether. Arino will have to wrap his head around Metal Storm's most famous feature, the ability to flip gravity at will, if he has any hope of completing this action classic. While the location of today's TamaGe technically doesn't have any arcade machines it more than makes up for it. Iseki is part laundromat and part candy store but Arino and AD Takahashi are far more interested in the AKB48 keychain filled capsule machine out front. In Retro Read Aloud, Arino and Ms. Nishiyama recite a heartfelt scene from the third Detective Saburo Jinguji game, The Dangerous Pair.
Things need a chance to cool down after what as a red hot challenge last time out and there's nothing cooler than noir. Arino will take on the role of the chain smoking Detective Saburou Jinguuji as he tries to solve of a case of murder most foul in neon lit Shinjuku. When he's not walking the beat Arino takes a casual stroll to a recreation center called Chiba: Daikeien. Arino shoots some 3s, has yet another rematch with his arch nemesis and swings for the fences in this laid back TamaGe. In Project CX, the staff discuss one of the most interesting peripherals of its time, Hori's Game Repeater. While a device that records and plays back your gameplay seems incredibly useful it soon becomes clear that if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Another DVD release brings another Christmas themed stamp rally in the latest bit of Game Center CX news.
Arino goes HIYA! in the first installment of the Super Chinese series on the Famicom.
Arino goes for the gold trophy in the first of Captain Tsubasa's Famicom adventures. How will Arino score in this adventure sports hybrid game?
Will Arino's team be taken out of the cup, or will he score the final goal and lead them to victory?
It seems that someone has been knocking people off in connection to a large family inheritance and it will be up to super sleuth Arino to crack the case in Famicom Detective Club: The Missing Heir. Arino will be struggling to keep his clearance rate in the red when he takes on this sprawling crime drama. Arino's off to pay a TamaGe visit to a quaint little candy store in Kiyose City which he hears has a number of classic 10-yen games. Once he arrives he's greeted by a few kids who quickly share some insider tips that'll net him the most bang for his buck. The Living National Treasure is presented with an early famicom game that he's familiar with by the name of Uradius. Unlike the similarly named Gradius, Uradius is a simulation of the life of a certain Assistant Director.
The subject of today's challenge is Namco's odd classic, Metro-Cross. Perhaps best known in the west for its appalling box art, this challenge will see Arino running (and skateboarding) for his life as he attempts to beat the clock on the game's 32 tracks. Toshimaen, an amusement park that features not one but two arcades is the destination for this week's TamaGe. Rather than trying out the typical arcade games Arino is more interested in the prize games typical of an amusement park but when his luck begins to turn he has a special guest step in. The two pugilists duking it out in Barcode Gambler this week are the notoriously lightweight protagonists of Spelunker and The Mystery Of Atlantis. It's a hero who is fallible to bird droppings versus a man who can be left crippled by a one foot drop in this dynamite battle.
Arino is racing towards the finish line in the pulse pounding conclusion to his Metro-Cross challenge. There is no let up after reaching the half way point in the game as the strange obstacles continue to pile on. Perhaps a little role-playing will give him the final push he needs towards the goal. Not only has Metro-Cross stretched into a second part but so has the TamaGe visit to the Toshimaen amusement park. First up Arino tries out a cooking game with a unique input device before he takes on Abe's daughter Amane in Mario Kart and Final Furlong. Two very fitting competitors have stepped into the ring for the latest round of Barcode Gambler. In the red corner is the incumbent, Street Fighter 2 while in the black corner is the up and comer Virtua Fighter.
Season 17 is a special season, the 10th anniversary season! In the first episode of this special season, Arino plays his first Disney game, the Capcom-made Magical Quest for the SNES. Can Arino-Mickey rescue Pluto and save the land from the clutches of the evil Emperor Pete?
It's hard to believe but it's been 8 years since the last time Arino took on a power pad game. Back then it was a sprightly 33 year old who took on a mad count in Attack! Takeshi's Castle Showdown, but fronting up to challenge Power Pad: Jogging Race is a battle weary 41 year old. Will the middle aged Chief have enough left in the tank to go the distance and complete this marathon of a challenge? As if Arino wasn't getting enough exercise this episode, there's also a TamaGe at Ohtsuka Batting Center. After Arino tries in vain to serve the perfect beer he spots a competitive motorcycle game and Abe instinctively knows what's up. While the games were fun Arino really wants to work on his batting, a task AD Matsumura might be able to help him with. Famicom Sniper is a brazenly bizarre new segment where Arino has to identify a game that he has previously challenged. The twist is that he's trying to spot it from a sniper's perch as it's being exchanged surreptitiously by two individuals. For his first shot, Arino spies a red cartridge, but before he can take the shot he needs to nail down what was on the label.
Today Arino will be challenging a video game adaptation of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer. While this action adaptation is far less infamous than the RPG interpretation produced by Square it is far superior in the weirdness department. Arino needs to beat all 6 stages and save Tom's girlfriend Becky if he wants to close the book on this challenge. To escape from the insanity of the challenge Arino heads to a pinball heavy arcade called Neverland for a TamaGe trip. Inside Arino tries to ascend to the peak in the classic Mountain Climbing Game before he closes out his visit with an education in pinball basics from the owner. Arino has two men, a bicycle and a white cartridge in his sights in Famicom Sniper. Will Arino be on the mark with his guess or will it be another near miss?
Metafight (Blaster Master to the rest of world) is a swift kick in the pants for a guy who realizes he can barely make out the tiny print in the manual these days. The Kacho keeps at it though, and through failing eyes and sluggish thumbs tries to push through some treacherous boss battles, and towards that end screen.
In what is a first for the show Arino's challenge of Donkey Kong Country 2 was stretched into a third day. With only the last world standing between Arino and victory he'll be praying that this challenge won't throw up any more surprises than it already has. For this week's TamaGe Arino is tipped off about a miraculous toy store. First up Arino plays a class beat-em-up before speaking to the owner in order to discover the true nature of the miracle of which the postcard spoke. Arino will have to deal with a special guest who's quick on the draw if he hopes to guess the game in Famicom Sniper. This Project: Game Version 3 segment brings us what will undoubtedly be the first of many production meetings to discuss ideas for the third Retro Game Challenge title.
While Arino may not initially be familiar with developer Natsume he won't soon forget the name after he challenges their stylish action game, Shadow Of The Ninja. Bearing a striking resemblance to a pair of Ninja themed action games that he previously challenged, Arino will be hoping that those similarities don't also extend to its difficulty if he hopes to notch another win for season 17. It's a candy store TamaGe this time out as Arino visits Harada Market in Kawasaki. More than its limited selection of games, the store is known for its adorable elderly owner who isn't afraid to toot her own horn. In the latest edition of Project: Game Version 3, Arino pays a visit to G.Rev HQ to see how things are progressing. After sitting down with President Maruyama he gets to see which, if any, of his proposed ideas have been included in the game.
A shooter! As the show enters its 10th year it's finally time that Arino conquers his fear of the shooting genre and the challenge that will hopefully help him transition is Namco's Skykid. With such a cute aesthetic and a grinning plane as a protagonist Skykid seems like the perfect starting point but it's not longer before Arino begins to experience some turbulence. The attendees of 2013's United States Of Odaiba event were once again treated to an on stage live challenge. This time out Arino wanted to right a wrong that occurred during the recent Power Pad: Jogging Race challenge. In Project: Game Version 3 Arino shares some ideas with the staff at G.rev including an ingenious pitch for a versus game.
Today Arino will be challenging Rocky Rodent which marries two of his favourite topics, hair care and organised crime. Apparently the Mafia has kidnapped a girl and with the incentive of free food as a reward Arino is on the case. During this week's TamaGe outing Arino will be visiting Ichise Market with the promise of meeting the famous Mr. Tora. After checking out a few of the games, including a rare appearance by Metal Slug, Arino discovers Mr. Tora along with a bevy of other famous faces. Celebrations of the SG-1000's 30th anniversary continue as Kibe and Arino check out 3 more hot hits from the system's library. Which of Congo Bongo, Yamato or Star Jacker leave the biggest impression on Arino? In Project: Game Version 3 we get a run-down of the videos that will be included on the DVD that comes with limited edition of the upcoming game. We also get a glimpse of the filming of one of these videos, namely Arino's challenge of Retro Game Challenge 2.