Hey everyone, Brando here with a new translation of Sakurai’s Famitsu Column from a few months ago. In this one, he shares some thoughts about the show Game Center CX (which he also talked about in a previous column from 2007). Enjoy it!
Note: Do not repost the full translation. Please use the first two paragraphs, link to this translation, and credit Source Gaming. The following is a selection from Famitsu. This translation is for fan use only, and may not accurately reflect the opinions of Masahiro Sakurai. If you enjoyed this article, I would strongly encourage you to support Sakurai by buying his books.
Talking About Game Center CX
Originally published in Famitsu on March 8, 2018
A package arrived at my house. I eagerly opened it up to find… a Game Center CX DVD box set!! It’s even signed by Chief Arino himself.
It might be hard to see in this picture, but he wrote, “Please write about this in your column.” Can you believe that!
Well okay, I’ll write about it. Of course, time to write about it!!
I always watch Game Center CX, without missing an episode. I don’t watch much TV, so it’s a rare habit of mine. Usually, I’ll get comfy and check out the action when I’m eating at home on a day off.
Once a season starts, a new episode airs every two weeks. As I’m writing this column, the most recent episode is Virtua Fighter 2. For fighting games, Chief Arino has to win five matches in a row against his staff. The episode before that was Game Freak’s masterpiece, Bazaar de Gosāru no Game de Gosāru!** It’s one of their classic games, and it’s a rare title nowadays. For that episode they didn’t give away a signed copy of the game like they usually do, so I’m assuming they borrowed it. And personally, the episode that really sticks out in my mind is Ninja Gaiden.
**Translator’s Note: Released in 1996 for the PC Engine, before Game Freak made Pokémon games. Check it out on their Japanese site here.
I’ve secretly appeared on the show before. They also asked me to be in the Game Center CX movie, but I was too shy so I declined. They wanted me to be an art teacher, but viewers instead got to see the likes of Mr. Masanobu Endo and Mr. Toshihiro Nagoshi**.
**TN: Masanobu Endo is a game designer who worked at Namco, where he created Xevious. Toshihiro Nagoshi is the chief creative officer at Sega and creator of the Yakuza series.
Some people say Game Center CX is the original “Let’s Play.” However, I have to disagree. The big difference is that the show is edited really well, and it’s not a one man production.
The amusing narration fills the tsukkomi** role well. Sometimes the other staff members bring in materials like hand-drawn maps and charts to help out the Chief, and I think these parts make for nice breaks in the action. Of course, Chief Arino says some funny stuff, but you’ve got to have both the boke and the tsukkomi to make it work.
**TN: In Japanese comedy duos, there are usually two roles: the “tsukkomi” (the “straight man”), and the “boke” (the “funny man” Chief Arino in this case). These two personalities play off of each other to create the humor.
Chief Arino makes a lot of blunders while playing. It’s a regular occurrence for him to mess up several times in a row, even in the easiest of spots. So if you think that Chief Arino isn’t very good at games, well…. that’s actually far from the truth.
People tend to conveniently remember only the moments when they played well. Once we beat a game, we forget all about the slip-ups that happened leading up to that point. And personally, I’ve also gradually been beating many games which made me give up when I originally played them. Games which have been featured on the show recently, like Mesopotamia, the PC Engine version of Märchen Maze, and Earthworm Jim, I don’t think they get played all the way through. I think your goals and willpower change when you have a TV show to make, but still, those old games are really brutal, you know.
However, they’ve already done 254 episodes. Even Sega Saturn and early Playstation titles are fair game now. I feel like they’re slowly running out of famous games that’ll capture the viewers’ attention. In the later episodes of the show, they’ve had to do some “location scouting,” which includes testing out games and beating them ahead of time. It seems like it’s getting difficult to come up with interesting material…
But at the same time, I feel like that might not matter. I think the show has a lot of young fans who didn’t know the games from back then, who are enjoying them now as a fresh, new experience. I bet if the show was available on normal channels instead of just CS**, it would have a lot more support. I do hope they’ll keep making it.
**TN: In Japan, there are 12 basic television channels (terrestrial), and more channels are available via broadcast satellite (BS) and communications satellite (CS) arrangements.
I wonder what game I’d want to see on the show… Maybe something hellish like Thunder Force 3? Oh—surprisingly, I don’t think they’ve done the main game in Kirby Super Star yet, so how about that? With a five-round contest of Samurai Kirby at the end?
(Since I watch every episode, I’ve already got a pretty good idea of what’s on these DVDs!!)
Game Center CX: A gaming show that’s been running for 15 years. Shinya Arino, (from comedy duo Yoiko) tries to beat requested games in the segment “Arino’s Challenge.” It mainly runs on Fuji TV ONE (CS channel), and special episodes also sometimes get broadcast on terrestrial digital channels infrequently.
Thunder Force 3: Use the 3 buttons at your command to battle your way through 8 stages in this hardcore side-scrolling shooter. Clearing the game for the first time is tough, but if you repeatedly practice and learn the patterns, it becomes easier to beat, which creates a perfect sense of balance.