April 10th, 2007 | Feature
The Game Center CX Episode Guide
The front-to-back tribute to the Japanese TV show that flies in the face of Nintendo's epilepsy warnings.


Game Center CX Special – Back to Contents
It’s the End of the Year, So Let’s Talk About Games! 2008

Rather than a live show or something super crazy like in previous years, Game Center CX dials it back a bit for a low-pressure, pre-recorded special featuring Arino and a few of his comedic colleagues. He’s joined by Hiroyuki Amano, Ryuuta Yamasato, Satoshi Inoue, and actress Mao Miyaji.

After an introductory chat, the gang pores over boxes of retro game goodness, from games to systems to phone-book-sized collections of cheat codes. Arino’s in search of Makaimura (Ghosts ‘N Goblins), and AD Nakayama comes over to point it out. And then, Arino sits down to play with everyone watching. He’s a little, shall we say, rusty since playing it on the show so many years ago. The gang continues to wax nostalgic as he plays, and then, of course, he gets them in on it. Yamasato lasts about five seconds, and so does Miyaji when she plays.

The activities continue when Arino gives each of his guests a sheet of paper and asks them to write down their favorite gaming moments of 2008. Arino in particular had some trouble with Mario Galaxy.

And then it’s time for the great equalizer: a Street Fighter II tournament. Amano and Yamasato start, playing Honda and Ryu, respectively. Yamasato ends up winning that one, and then it’s time for Inoue (Ken) and Miyaji (Chun-Li) to face off. It turns into a tie, but Miyaji pulls ahead. Yamasato and Miyaji must then fight for the honor of facing Arino.

Yamasato takes the lead, but then Miyaji wins a round. And then, just as Yamasato is about to win it — blip! Someone hit the Reset button! Gee, I wonder who.

The judges rule in favor of Miyaji, and then she goes on to fight Arino’s unstoppable Dhalsim. With the assistance of Noogie Power, Arino defeats the young woman.

In the next segment, Arino steps over to the bar and meets the men of the comedy duo America Zarigani, who educate the kacho on the evolution of RPGs, showing a montage of key games like Dragon Quest, Pokemon, and Tengai Makyou.

And of course, one of the premier RPG series is Final Fantasy. We then get a separate segment on the history of the series, going over every game from the Famicom to the PS2.cAnd the America Zarigani dudes just happen to have an exclusive new trailer for the PSP title Dissidia: Final Fantasy. Well, it was new at the time.

The minutes-long trailer is the climax of the show, and we then join the gang over dinner: the main course being cameraman Abe’s legendary Abe-Nabe.

The Far South Game Travelogue

Arino’s in Hawaii!! Just kidding, it’s Okinawa. Like in 2006, when he went to Hokkaido to find the northernmost game centers, now he’s gone south to the island of Okinawa to find the southernmost game centers. At least the weather’s better.

Things start with a nice walk down the road in the town of Yomitan Village. Up ahead, Arino spots the "Yadokari Inn," a mysterious red kiosk on the side of the road. Inside: a handmade crane game! You control the crane using wooden wheels, and then try to catch the "treasures" in the bed of sand below. Arino wants whatever’s in the clam shell, but he can’t even latch onto one. "This is a game!?" he says. After 15 minutes, he finally grabs one of the shells, and carefully pulls it up. Miraculously, he gets it in the dropbox. And inside the shell!? … A drink voucher for the actual Yadokari Inn.

Next on the itinerary is Okinawa City, and lunch at a local tempura shop. After that, Arino and the crew head to Naha City. Somewhere in Naha’s narrow roads is a candy store, Yamaya. They have a few video game cabinets, including that TamaGe mainstay, Metal Slug. Arino plays, and one of the little kids watching him lets him know of a secret trick to get a bunch of fruit to boost his score. After a few minutes, Arino loses the game, and the boy scurries off.

Arino then takes some time to shop, grabbing some treats, and playing some chance games (think pulltabs, but for kids) in order to win some extra goodies — in this case, toy fingernails.

Then it’s back southwest to Senaga Island, where Arino visits the Senaga Island Sports Park, the largest game center so far. One of the games Arino tries is Sega’s Let’s Go Jungle! He notices it has a "love test" mode, and immediately calls over Kibe-kun. The two begin play, shooting the numerous horrific jungle monsters, and end up with an impressive 85% compatibility. Awww.

Day 2. It’s raining now, but Arino is determined to get to the southernmost point and see what’s there. His first destination is Himeyuri Meeting Hall, in the middle of the town of Ihara. He finds the manager outside, and asks if there are any games inside. Well, there’s some UFO catchers — that’ll have to do. And at least one of them is an official Sega UFO catcher that plays Sonic music!

Arino tries to get one of the Dragon Ball toys inside, but can’t grab it. He calls over the manager and asks him to place the toys a little more fairly. The old man puts Hello Kitty on top of the Dragon Ball toy, which Arino then knocks into the dropbox. Hooray! That’s one prize, and the only one he’ll take away from Japan’s southernmost game center.

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