Saturday, 4 September 2010

Currently watching: Game Centre CX

Occasionally (very occasionally) I write about old video games (at least I did until I deleted the blog). As such, this show definitely appeals to my inner geek. For the most part, it's concerned with the presenter of the show, Arino, who has to complete an old game in the space of 12 hours. Watching him struggle with games (most of which I've never heard of – I was more of a ZX Spectrum/Commodore 64 player) is always satisfying as I remember my feeble attempts at completing games when I was a boy.

The studio-based sections are shot in a meeting room, which must make it the cheapest set on TV. His style of presenting is mostly him making feeble jokes about the game while the film crew laugh. At first, it comes across as being fairly amateurish, but after a while you get used to it, and you even start to laugh along too.

This page has a list of subbed episodes for download, and while it's not complete, I'm enjoying myself as I work my way through them. Notable episodes are the first one, in which he plays a game designed by Takeshi “Beat” Kitano. Famous for being weird and also not very good, there's an almost impossible section in which the player is required to sing into the microphone to clear a stage. This episode also has a section on the making of the game, which I wish they'd do more often.

Also, worth a mention is episode 2 when Arino has to play a dating game aimed at female game players and ends up getting quite involved in it, and episode 45, when the member of the crew who helps him complete parts of the game that he simply cannot do is, to his surprise, a woman. And quite a cute one at that. I may be reading too much into it, but it seems to me that Arino-san isn't entirely sure how to react and his jokes take a turn for the worse.

This show is definitely for Geeks with a capital 'G'. But outside of that, seeing a middle aged man struggle against the odds is strangely inspiring. There's no guarantee that he'll succeed, which makes every stage cleared all the more uplifting. I think most videogamers have games from their past that they'd like to see beaten and it's a relief to know that someone is out there willing to make the effort on our behalf.

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