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This game is made by a man who hates videogames
July 25, 2009 2:34 PM   Subscribe

Takeshi no Chōsenjō: it came before the endurance test that is Desert Bus, and served as an inspiration for Janey Thompson's Marathon. In English it is known as Takeshi's Challenge. Released in December 1986 for the Famicom system, the game mechanisms include use of the Famicom microphone to sing karaoke for an hour. And that's after you drink to the point of blacking out, divorce your wife, quit your job, and learn to hang glide AND learn the Hintoba language, amongst other things. All of this takes place in lands populated with nothing but people that want to beat you to death. Of course, you can skip that all and complete the game in a mere 4 minutes by simply walking off the edge of existence, and magically ending at the final treasure room.

Not sure about finding a rom or buying the game online, and you don't have access to the Japanese Wii store? Sit back and watch the game, with an on-screen timer to remind you that this was 27 minutes of your life. Bonus: playable glitch room. The Japanese video game show Game Center CX researched the game and strategy guide production history, and then tried to play the game with limited success. (Bonus: these videos are subtitled, including translations of the game dialogue.)
posted by filthy light thief (42 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Another video of interest: for those who enjoy in-game deaths, Takeshi no Chōsenjō will not let you down, as there are two "instant deaths" possible from the first option in the game.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:35 PM on July 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


The titular Takeshi is "Beat" Takeshi Kitano. Of Sonatine/Boiling Point/Violent Cop/Hanabi/Kid's Return/Kikujiro etc. and Takeshi's Castle which might be more familiar to you as MXC.

He's awesome. And he had a bit part in Johnny Mnemonic (which was awful of course but does not in any way diminish his awesomeness).
posted by juv3nal at 2:50 PM on July 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh how could I forget? The excellent Zatoichi as well.
posted by juv3nal at 2:55 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


When you wake up, you will be at home. Be careful because both your wife and kids will attack you.
Heh, everyone really is out to get you.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:56 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's like River City Ransom with a healthy dose of existential angst thrown on top for good measure. I've often thought that someone should make a game where you die of cancer no matter what you do because that's what happens in life anyway.
posted by dortmunder at 3:08 PM on July 25, 2009 [5 favorites]


juv3nal: thanks for that clarification. I rather forgot to mention that in the body of the text, but added it as a tag.

Foci for Analysis: It seems most of them can be avoided by a lot of jumping, from the videos I've seen.

dortmunder: That would be "Life: 2010," which was panned as an update to The Game Of Life: A Family Game. Something about being too realistic.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:14 PM on July 25, 2009


Wasn't Beat Takeshi the head of the Battle Royale program, also?
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:18 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wasn't Beat Takeshi the head of the Battle Royale program, also?

No. He was a teacher.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:21 PM on July 25, 2009


The Painstation
posted by jcruelty at 3:28 PM on July 25, 2009


The Nerve Game (hint: there is no way to win)
posted by jcruelty at 3:28 PM on July 25, 2009


I love how none of the descriptions of the game are consistent with each other. On the Wikipedia page, it claims that throwing 20,000 punches on the opening game screen will take you directly to the game's ending. Another site's description shows the game's end game message screen and states that this is actually the end boss and that he has 20,000 hit points, which you have to punch away one by one. And yet another site simply says that the end boss has over a million hit points.

I'm sure the game is quite ludicrous, but it's hard to take any of the particular claims out there seriously (especially since so few of the people writing about the game have actually played it).

On an only slightly related note, I love Takeshi's Castle because it's the only game show I know where most of the contestants seem to just be trying to get on TV as opposed to actually trying to win.
posted by ErWenn at 3:37 PM on July 25, 2009


On an only slightly related note, I love Takeshi's Castle because it's the only game show I know where most of the contestants seem to just be trying to get on TV as opposed to actually trying to win.

It's a gameshow participated in solely for the sake of doing it, which I think is a positive contribution to culture.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:41 PM on July 25, 2009


I love shit like this.
posted by silby at 3:52 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


God, I remember reading about this a couple of years back. While I get his snarky criticism that videogames are too fucking long and repetitive in pointless ways, this form of aversion therapy fails completely.

Me personally? I'm happy to see the rise of the casual games, and am hoping for the return of the 1-10 hour games that people who both work AND sleep can finish.
posted by yeloson at 4:16 PM on July 25, 2009


But he was far from innocent! WAKE UP SHIIPURU!
posted by No-sword at 4:23 PM on July 25, 2009


Dammit ... this was previosuly covered back in 2006, but without all the videos and such.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:34 PM on July 25, 2009


Also filed under 'you'll never get this far but it's fun to watch': I Wanna Be The Guy
posted by jcruelty at 6:17 PM on July 25, 2009


The Nerve Game (hint: there is no way to win)

Huh? Sure there is.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:40 PM on July 25, 2009


The Nerve Game (hint: there is no way to win)

Huh? Sure there is.


Yeah, I just won. Or do you mean that to win this game is to lose? Specious hippyshit.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:51 PM on July 25, 2009


er, how do you win?
posted by jcruelty at 6:54 PM on July 25, 2009


A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?
posted by zoinks at 6:54 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


er, how do you win?

Here's what I did, rot13'd:

Yriry lbhe fgerff hagvy vg'f synfuvat (fnl lrf gb gur svefg guerr guvatf). Gura fnl ab gb gur erznvavat pubvprf. Lbh'yy neevir ng jbex jvgu obgu zrgref synfuvat, ohg lbh jva.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:00 PM on July 25, 2009


hahaha, i'll be damned. i honestly didn't realize you could win! that totally changes how i view the game :)
posted by jcruelty at 7:04 PM on July 25, 2009


Never heard of Takeshi's Castle until now, thank you for this precious gift.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:33 PM on July 25, 2009


Me personally? I'm happy to see the rise of the casual games, and am hoping for the return of the 1-10 hour games that people who both work AND sleep can finish.

Please don't say that. Nintendo hears "casual game" and thinks "they'll buy any fucking tech demo we vomit out the door." It's because of this that, despite buying the Wii on release day, I haven't played the damn thing in probably almost two years.

I agree that it'd be nice to have shorter, grind-free, less expensive games. Most particularly the less expensive bit. However, I don't want to lose depth or complexity (just breadth and length). Unfortunately, most of what is passing for "casual gaming" now is simply bad gaming.

It's a step back to narrative-free, character-free button-mashing. As if somehow the bright, shining future of the medium is just Asteroids in 32-bit color.

The "casual games" movement as it stands today is roughly equivalent to the idea of the movie industry in 1930 dropping sync-sound narrative films and going back to 30-second kinos of dudes on bicycles.
posted by Netzapper at 8:29 PM on July 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


A game where you have to learn pointless things and suffer for no reason surrounded by people who want to beat you to death? No thanks, I already did middle school once.
posted by jewzilla at 10:01 PM on July 25, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh how could I forget? The excellent Zatoichi as well.

You also forgot Brother.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:12 PM on July 25, 2009


What's great is that most of these articles appear to be based on each other, rather than the game itself — they tend to make claims such as that it contains a disclaimer on the title screen that it was made by someone who hates video games (yet it contains no such thing, clearly) and all seem to involve the number 20,000 somehow, but rarely with the same purpose in any two articles.
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:47 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


The fact that someone chose Dortmunder as a user name on metafilter makes me smile.

The fact that Dortmunder commented in a thread about a game that emulates a miserable existence where everyone is out to get you and there's almost no way to win is too perfect for me to contemplate.

RIP Mr Westlake.
posted by phearlez at 7:00 AM on July 26, 2009


It's a step back to narrative-free, character-free button-mashing. As if somehow the bright, shining future of the medium is just Asteroids in 32-bit color.

I don't think that really describes any of the stuff that PopCap puts out.
posted by LogicalDash at 8:06 AM on July 26, 2009


So, Takeshi no Chōsenjō is the Chuck Norris/Dos Equis Man/Juraj Mikus of video games?

"Takeshi no Chosenjo's final boss is actually Chuck Norris, who Dos Equis Man delivers to your house via his rocket-Zeppelin. Near the end of the fight, which you are losing, badly, very badly, Mikus steps out of the shadows and LOOKS AT YOU. You may be a bloody pulp, but you have been seen by Mikus, and you have breathed the same air Mikus breathed. You die smiling."
posted by notyou at 8:59 AM on July 26, 2009


The "casual games" movement as it stands today is roughly equivalent to the idea of the movie industry in 1930 dropping sync-sound narrative films and going back to 30-second kinos of dudes on bicycles.

And what's more, the 30-second kinos of dudes on bicycles are raking in fat sacks of cash at much higher rates of return than the two-hour epics.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:43 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


You also forgot Brother.

And the one I watched this afternoon -- A Scene at the Sea
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:53 AM on July 26, 2009


Also: I usually hate MeFi game posts, but this one was wonderful.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:13 AM on July 26, 2009


"Beat" Takeshi Kitano has a long history in cinema, with a background in comedy. I glossed over his life, as there's enough for another hefty post or five.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:53 AM on July 26, 2009


It's a step back to narrative-free, character-free button-mashing. As if somehow the bright, shining future of the medium is just Asteroids in 32-bit color.

I don't think that really describes any of the stuff that PopCap puts out.


Are you kidding me? That perfectly describes everything they seem to make. Well, okay not "button-mashing" since PopCap makes primarily puzzle games. But the rest of it is spot on.

Who's the main character of Peggle? How's the writing in Bejeweled? Do you feel immersed in Zuma? What literary themes would you say that Chuzzle explores?

I'm not claiming these games aren't fun, but I am claiming they don't satisfy any of my needs as a gamer. They're like cellphone games or solitaire: something to do when you have nothing better to do; a thing to relieve boredom at work. But I really can't imagine clearing my schedule the Saturday after release and snuggling up in blankets on the couch with a beer and a bong and a bowl of popcorn ready to experience the sweeping immersion of Peggle. They're not art in the way that, say, inFamous is.

There are plenty of us who don't play games for the repetitive gameplay. There are many of us who treat them as interactive movies or books, sucking out the marrow of narrative and then tossing them aside. We enjoy the gameplay, of course; but, not enough to come back and play again after we already know what happens. Novelty, good sir. Novelty.

There are games I consider casual that I do like. Just not too many of them. Katamari Damacy; Rock Band; Guitar Hero; maybe a couple others that I've forgotten.

And what's more, the 30-second kinos of dudes on bicycles are raking in fat sacks of cash at much higher rates of return than the two-hour epics.

Well, the economics of it are a little more complex than that implies. It is true that "casual" games cost radically less than AAA titles--many orders of magnitude less. So they break even after far fewer sales.

Which is good, because people who play casual games, buy fewer games as evidenced by the abysmal sales for third-party games on Wii. As a hardcore gamer, I'm willing to gamble on buying a game in my quest for novelty--I personally buy an average of .7 games a month. I know two people with Wiis, one's had hers as long as I have, who only own Wii Sports. Well, okay, to be fair, a couple months ago, one of them looked at me in shock, "There's Guitar Hero for Wii?" and bought that too.

So, yes, you break even at a lower sales total on a "casual" title. If you can get any of your audience to actually buy it.

Part of the problem with discussing "casual games" is that we're talking about games marketed to two distinct groups. Unfortunately, most people assume that these two groups are identical.

The first group is made up of people like my mother who can't handle complexity. They want their game to be simple and elegant, with perhaps one or two gameplay mechanics. They don't want to experience fantasy worlds, they just want something to occupy their mind until the oral hygienist calls them back. They wouldn't play Fallout, even if it did fit into their schedules.

The second group really wishes it could play Fallout, but doesn't have the time. These are the people who played videogames until they got a job and got married and now can't devote 2 hours to get through a mission. They try to play AAA titles and give up on them after a few weeks, since they literally can't make any progress.

The first group, I couldn't care less about. They're well served by a profusion of 99¢ iPhone apps and free Flash games. They have no appreciation of the games I love, and no interest in building that appreciation. They feel as my mother once said, "All of those games are so boring, same thing over and over again, just shooting after shooting. They're not fun like Tetris."

On the other hand, I care about the second group. And I would really very much like to see games adapted to the current market. And it would be very easy to do: remove all grind, remove penalties for failure, and replace checkpoints with PC-style free save. People can make some progress in ten or fifteen minutes, not lose every bit of it if they make a mistake, and can then save all of that progress without having to reach some developer-designated point.
posted by Netzapper at 3:24 PM on July 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


They're not art in the way that, say, inFamous is.

With all due respect: neither one of them is art. The difference is that Peggle doesn't think it is.
posted by Amanojaku at 4:27 PM on July 26, 2009


With all due respect: neither one of them is art. The difference is that Peggle doesn't think it is.

The exact same sentiment--"not art; it's an entertainment industry"--was expressed toward film for the first fifty years of its existence. And yet nobody today argues that Le Voyage dans la lune isn't art. Is X-Files or Lost not art?

I really don't see how inFamous is substantively different from Law and Order. It's an audio-visual narrative, created by a group of humans attempting to produce an aesthetically pleasing (and sometimes thought-provoking) experience.

Whether or not it's good art is, of course, debatable.
posted by Netzapper at 5:22 PM on July 26, 2009


If kinetic sculptures are art, so is Peggle.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:10 PM on July 26, 2009


Actually, in light of Pope Guilty's comment, I realize I misspoke:

Peggle is not the same kind of art as, say, inFamous.

By which I mean that inFamous and Peggle have roughly the same relationship as Caddyshack and the Budweiser Frogs. They're both clever, and use the same medium, but have completely different goals and impacts. I may like both, but I certainly don't think they have equivalent value.
posted by Netzapper at 6:29 PM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


What I was actually trying to get at is closer to what Pope Guilty said, albeit from the opposite direction.

I fully believe in games-as-art, but not because they can somewhat ape the tropes of other media -- even the most cerebral game narratives, bluntly, suck ass compared to what even a mediocre book or movie can accomplish. Bioshock would be a heavy-handed, transparent novel; any character in Metal Gear Solid 4: The Movie would be greeted by howls of laughter any time they opened their mouth and deep snores by the time they closed it. That kind of game only seems more "artistic" because we can easily compare them to what we're already familiar with.

So why are games valuable, if not for story/character? Because of what they can do that other forms can't -- interaction. What you're doing and how you're doing it is the essence of a game; everything else is just gilding the lily, to some degree.

And on that level, the gulf between "pachinko/bubble-bobble mash-up" and "3rd person shooter/sandbox game" isn't as far as you might think.
posted by Amanojaku at 8:16 PM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


To me game design is an art in and of itself; carefully balancing the elements of a game is little different from carefully choosing a colour palette for a painting, or getting the proportions of a statue just right. The medium changes, but the underlying activity seems to be the same to me.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:50 PM on July 26, 2009


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