I was excited that there was even a show entitled “Retro Game Master” on Kotaku, and after my first few episodes, I was hooked! It seemed like such a great idea to have a former comedian play older games with the objective of finishing them. He had help from his Assistant Directors (ADs), he had a lot of witty, humorous banter, and most of all, he was playing games that I haven’t even heard of.
Then came those who commented on Kotaku, saying that the original version was much better, and that the dubbed announcer was garbage. My initial reaction was more or less, “Hey, you should be lucky that Kotaku got the license for this, so shut the hell up.”
As of this moment however, my opinion has gone the opposite. After about 11 or so epidsodes, my brother Zanz got onboard with the Something Awful forums and finally got a hand on those fan-subbed episodes, and let me tell ya, the comments are spot on.
Each episode of “Game Center CX” (yes, I even think the name “Retro Game Master” is stupid now) is not only chock full of nice editing, but fun gameplay, great interval segments ranging from visits to old arcades to meeting gaming staff from Konami and so forth, and an awesome announcer who really knows how to make things sound epic. Our dubbed announcer doesn’t even come close. For Kotaku to even cut out this much material is absurd. and I don’t think they’ll run against any licensing issues for any of the interview or game tour material (if they do, please correct me).
For me, the episode that really REALLY broke the camel’s back (in a good way) was the LIVE Mighty Bomb Jack episode. That has to be THE BEST episode ever thanks to the sheer amount of suspense found in playing this SUPER HARD game, the awesome energy emanating from the audience and finally, the hilarious interactions between the show’s actual announcer and the show’s host, Shinya Arino, which is quite funny to say the least. As I stated before, the voice over for Kotaku’s announcer is dry, has awful Japanese annunciation, and doesn’t quite have that ability to humorously inflate the importance or direness of a situation going on in a game (because, in all seriousness, its just a video game). I mean c’mon, how many times can you mispronounce Inoko MAX? I don’t remember him being called “Ey-Noh-Kuuuh MAX.”
Last week, Kotaku was unable to show the latest episode on their site, and with no word yet as to why, I’m wondering if they’re doing a good job managing the show. I know it’s too early to say, but when I have trouble accessing the damn link to “Retro Game Master” on the parent site, then one has to wonder. My bet is that it may have something to do with Arino and Co.’s recent visit to California, but I could be wrong.
Kotaku made a great move, for the most part, in getting the license to distribute “Game Center CX” here in the U.S. and if it weren’t for them, the show itself would not have reached as many people as it has now had it stayed on the Something Awful forms, but the amount of content that’s been cut counts as a big loss to those who’ve seen the fan-subbed work in the past. The interval material provides a wealth of great insight and context to not only gaming culture in Japan, but Japanese culture as a whole and how good of a job its done to interact AND co-exist with said sub-culture. If Kotaku was looking for a way to elevate its dialogue about Japan in a way that not only avoids focusing on the fringes of its other sub-cultures, but highlights some of the more positive aspects of its gaming culture, then they should keep and subtitle the interval segments of “Game Center CX.” This show needs some more love Kotaku, because it seriously deserves it!!