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 Season 2 – Back to Contents
Bunking With "Super Mario Bros. 3"


Season 2 ends with a special show "on location" at the Sun Hatoya hotel in Ito. 10 days after the Rockman 2 challenge, Arino spends the last show in style. He enters the hotel, and the woman at the front desk hands him his room key, and then reaches under the desk and hands him a Famicom! Arino first settles in with a meal, and then we’re brought up to his room: a lovely suite overlooking the ocean. The TV and Famicom are all set up, and he even has a new ergonomic chair to sit in and play with the least physical stress. And the game? One of the most stressful of all: Super Mario Bros. 3.

The game begins. Arino acts like he has to relearn video games as he slowly walks through world 1-1. He dies in world 1-2 and gets a Game Over, which forces him to restart. He then refers to the manual and learns how to grab Koopa shells, so he tries it out. First he holds it too long, which causes the Koopa to come out and hurt him, and then he kicks the shell against the block right where he’s standing. Eventually he gets to the first fortress and takes down Boom Boom, and then jumps onto the airship.

Arino carefully gets through the airship without much incident, and then faces Larry, the first boss, and quickly dies. The second try isn’t much better, nor the fifth. But finally on the seventh try he defeats the boss. It’s taken two hours just to beat world 1! Right around then is when Sasano steps in and informs Arino there’s an arcade on the ground floor of the hotel, and that he and the crew should check it out. He’s not particularly feeling it, but he gets up and follows the staff out.


The hotel’s game corner, "Marine Fantasy," is chock full of prize machines and video games. Arino starts with Namco’s Ryori no Tatsujin 2, a seafood-slicing sim, and then tries out a couple more games, including a "conbini catcher" with a hard-to-get Mario keychain.

When he gets to the video game wall, Arino notices something about the lone, oblivious man sitting at one of the games. He looks him over, and then says "excuse me." The man turns and then laughs. It’s AD Tojima! What a crazy coincidence. Clearly he’s back from America. Arino tells him he’s playing Super Mario 3 upstairs. He asks Tojima if he’s played it — yes, of course. Arino invites him up to help, and the two men return to the suite to continue the challenge.


Back at the hotel, Arino is joined by Tojima and Sasano. He introduces Tojima to Sasano and vice versa. Flanked by two ADs, Arino continues to world 2. He does a little better in the first couple of levels, blasting through the first fortress as well, but he fails like no tomorrow in 2-3. He calls over Tojima to help out, and naturally the old boy does well.

Arino moves on to the first "desert" level that features the whirlwind and the infamous angry sun. He gets past the twister, but the sun starts moving and freaks Arino out a little. Coincidentally, it’s the Koopas that kill him first rather than the sun. He gets a tad further on the next try, but gets caught in quicksand where the sun finally kills him. Game Over. He starts over and gets back to the level, but keeps racking up the deaths. Dusk has now set, and Arino’s not even half done with the World. While still facing off against the sun, he gets the idea to use a Koopa shell for protection.

With one more life left, he grabs a shell and takes it with him across the level, and when the sun swoops in, he lets go. Unfortunately he doesn’t get out of the way of the rebound and is killed once again. Arino laughs it off. Next time he gets it, and walks very carefully to the goal.

Shortly after, Arino comes across the Fire Bros. in the upper part of the level, and gets the whistle as a reward for defeating them. Using it, he warps to world 7. But even 7-1 turns out to be quite the bitch, with its numerous piranha plants and note blocks throwing Arino off. Exhausted, Arino decides to take another break and check out the hotel’s baths, taking Sasano and Tojima with him.

After the bath, Arino is refreshed and returns to the room still in his robe. He sits back down and studies the trusty Super Mario All-Stars guide. He decides to get right down to world 8 by collecting the rest of the whistles. He starts over from world 1 and gets to it.

Eventually he reaches world 8 and enters the first tank level. The Bob-ombs and cannonballs throw him off within a minute. It takes him over 20 tries and one hour, but still no progress. On try 32 he gets further than ever, but the huge cannon towards the end psyches him out again. Another hour of failure passes.

Finally, after attempt 42, he reaches the pipe to the boss. Inside is a Boomerang Brother. Arino yelps, but amazingly stomps the boss without incident. The next stage is the boat, but Arino dies there and gets another Game Over, which will send him back to the first level. Tojima steps forward and points Arino towards the strategy guide and tells him about the 1UP loop, but he’ll have to go back to world 1. Arino considers it, and almost asks Tojima to reset the game for him, but since he doesn’t work for the show anymore, he calls over Sasano to push the button instead.

Arino studies the 1UP trick in world 1-2, the one that requires Raccoon Mario to bounce off the Goombas enough times to earn consistent extra lives. Arino can’t seem to get the formula down, having to retry over 30 times. Sasano steps in and advises Arino by drawing out a pattern on the whiteboard and telling him when to push the A button at the right time to get the appropriate lift.

Arino has to stomp at least nine Goombas to start getting 1UPs, so a counter is shown on the screen tallying his jumps. After the 39th try, he finally gets the hang of it. He fails after a few 1UPs, but at least he got more than one. By the next try he has it down pat and finally gets 99 lives. Now he can really tackle world 8. He uses a P-Wing to blast through the tank level, but the next stage on the boat poses some problems. Luckily he gets through, then heads to the boss: another Boom Boom. At this point he somehow made it through as Fire Mario, so he just shoots down Boom Boom.

The next level, with the rapidly-moving mini-airships, turns out to be the biggest bitch of all. The combination of the rocket jets and the Rocky Wrenches prove nigh-insurmountable for Arino. He started the level with 75 lives, but rather quickly depletes most of them, getting down to 30. He vainly tries using a Starman to get through, but naturally, it just doesn’t help that much.

The challenge has been going on for 15 hours now. Arino heals his poor hands with a muscle spray, and once again heads into the level. 30 lives are whittled down to 1. He makes some close call jumps, and things look like they might pan out, but.. they don’t. Game Over. Sasano and Tojima step in and try tackling the level themselves, but even they can’t kick ass that well. After 28 more tries, Sasano gets to the end, but insists Arino defeat the boss. Another Boom Boom — Arino gets knocked down to small Mario, and grazes the boss once or twice. But amazingly, he defeats it.

He shakes Sasano’s hand, but just gives a cold look to Tojima. But it’s all in jest, and the two ADs leave Arino alone to tackle world 8-1. But by now 18 hours have passed, and the sun is slowly rising. Tired and beaten, Arino tries 8-1 with one life left, but just can’t muster up any more skill. He gives up here, to end the season with a whimper. But as always, there’s more where that came from.

I’d Like to Meet This Man

This final edition of the segment looks back on the interviews Arino has done this season, including previously deleted scenes. Clips include Yoshiki Okamoto, Yu Suzuki, Hideo Kojima, Koji Igarashi and Etsunobu Ebisu.

Game Collections: Mario

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