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LONG BLOG

Ultimate Retro Pain: The worst game in history

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Now, granted, the worst game in history is a very subjective thing, but I'm pretty sure when someone actually set out to create the worst game in history, they pretty much deserve the title. The someone in question is Japanese comedian Takeshi Kitano (better known as Beat Takeshi). And the game in question is Takeshi no Chousenjou.



Here we have a game that was developed by a comedian who specifically intended to confound video game players with completely unintuitive solutions to a very absurd situation; one in which Takeshi is a workaday salaryman who dreams of quitting his job, leaving his wife, and going in search for treasure so he can live the rest of his life out in the lap of luxory.

You may not be familiar with the title of the game, but it's very likely that you may have heard something about it's ridiculous solution techniques, such as leaving the controller untouched for 60 minutes in the middle of the game, screaming into the microphone (of the second player Famicom controller) at particularly inappropriate moments, and clobbering a man who provides you with a treasure map to death. You cannot win unless you divorce your wife and quit your job. The box itself claims that "common sense is dangerous."



Yes, this is that game, and I feel that it's safe to say, with relative confidence, that I have written the first English walkthrough ever for this late 1986 game. At first, I really didn't think I was going to attempt it, but I found a few good Japanese web sites about the game and set about translating them through babelfish, @nifty translations, and Jim Breen's WWWJDIC. Eventually, I managed to piece a walkthrough together, complete with appropriate menu option in Japanese, to guide non-Japanese speakers through the game. Although most of the humor will be lost on those who can't read Japanese, at least you can claim you played through the game that is known as the worst game in history (but was later nominated for a Japanese retrogaming award in 2007)

Most of the game's zaniness is in the first half where you wander through the streets of Japan, utterly destroying your former life and burning bridges (figuratively) wherever you go. The second half of the game seems more like a punishment to people who actually bothered to get that far. The Hang Gliding portion of the game contains one tiny portion of land that you can actually land on, and most of the final section of the game can only be accessed by squatting over a tiny sliver of pixels, so you must know exactly where they lie or you will spend forever searching for them. I just want to make sure that you know what you're getting yourself into if you sit down and attempt to play this game.

Protip: To see the ending of the game right away, all you have to do is tap the punch button 20,000 times on the title screen. Easy.
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About Procyonone of us since 10:16 AM on 12.08.2006



My name is Scott. I've been playing video games since my hands were big enough to hold a joystick. I started with the Atari 2600, and graduated to the Atari 800 computer where I taught myself how to program in BASIC. I eventually got a NES, and later a Game Boy. The first summer I ever worked, I was a CIT at the day camp I attended. I worked all summer long to save up enough money to buy the SNES the very day it came out.

I attended college at the University of Pennsylvania. I was introduced to the internet my freshman year in 1993, and I fast became a console pirate, purchasing a copier and downloading ROMs off of IRC channels. Good times. In my senior year, I purchased the N64 as soon as the street date was broken, and skipped classes for the next three days to play Mario 64. I also bought a used PSX the same year.

After I graduated with a degree in Computer Science and a degree in Psychology, I was accepted to Digipen. I was part of the very last class that attended the school in Vancouver, before they moved the campus to Nintendo of America's HQ in Redmond Washington (across the street from Microsoft). After completing the program, I got my very first job as a programmer at Ubisoft.

I lucked out with Ubisoft because they were actually opening a studio near my hometown in NYC, so I actually landed my dream job and got to live on the east coast near my family. I worked on Batman: Vengence. I met a number of cool people, but the only one I still keep in touch with happens to be a buddy of mine who was the lead designer on "Army of Two." He is without a doubt, the greatest game designer I have ever had the privilege of working with.

The studio in NYC didn't pan out for Ubisoft, and they decided to fold the team up to Montreal. After living in Vancouver for a year and a half, I decided I had enough of Canada, so I stayed in the NYC office, which transformed into GameLoft. I stayed there until me and the buddy I mentioned landed a job at 3DO. We both moved out to Redwood City and started working there.

3DO wasn't a great company, but it wasn't terrible, and I met a crew of people who became some of the greatest friends that I have ever had. I worked on Dragon Rage, which was being led by Kudo Tsunoda. He told the execs that it was going to be an Army Men game with an art asset swap, and it would take 6 months to complete. The truth was we were building a new engine from scratch, and it would really take a year to get it done right. When the six months were up, the execs asked for the game, and we weren't even close to finished, so we had to do 12 hours days, 6 days a week until the game was finished. 3 months later, nobody cared about it anymore, and it went straight to the budget bin.

3DO closed down very shortly after. While I was at 3DO, I got to know two people who amazed me: Howard Scott Warshaw and Tod Frye, two of the original Atari 2600 programmers. Getting to meet them and talk with them about "the good old days" at Atari was an amazing thing to me. (I totally recommend visiting Howard's site, Once Upon Atari and ordering his DVD about what those days were like.) I still run in to Howard infrequently at retrogaming conventions and it's always a delight.

After 3DO, I worked for a THQ studio that used to be called (oddly enough) Pacific Coast Power & Light. It's known as Locomotive games today. I was put on the WWE Crush Hour game, the game that was designed to mix the WWE up with Twisted Metal. I created the game's shell and character selection screen. It was actually a pretty cool game, but THQ's love for WWE had cooled down when the game was close to finishing (right after WWF became WWE, the ratings started to tank), so they rushed it and laid off the whole team.

Wishing to return to the east coast, I applied for jobs that I could find there, and actually lucked out with a job opening at Firaxis Games in Hunt Valley, Maryland, home to Sid Meier. When I got there, they were toying with the idea of remaking Pirates, and were prototyping a lot. The results were mixed, and Sid decided to get involved with the development personally. They knew they wanted to make a console version, and they put me on the small team responsible for porting the game to the Xbox. I had doubts about the game, and I wasn't enjoying the tasks I was being given (such as working on the in-game glossary), and things didn't work out. I made a lot of good friends there who I miss working with.

By this time, I had been with four companies in six years, and my girlfriend at the time was in the middle of going to school to get her degree, so I did something drastic: I grew up. I ended up looking for any available programming job, and accepted a position with a UPS owned software company as an algorithm designer. I've been there since 2005, I get paid more money, and work fewer hours than I ever did as a game programmer. But I really miss the creative environment and working with people that I have a lot in common with, i.e. a love and passion for video games.

I am currently own and operate StrategyWiki, which strives to become the best online source of video game guides and walkthroughs anywhere in the world. I am now living in northern Maryland. Welcome to my blog.
Xbox LIVE:ProcyonSJJ


 

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