I’ve developed something bordering on fanaticism for the Taiko Drum game and spend way too much money and time in video arcades as a result.
“Game Centers,” as the kids call them, are usually a few floors with gambling on the top, old school NES and cigarette smoke in the basement and claw machines in between.
There’s a few big machines: Dance Dance Revolution or the Taiko game are usually busy with players and spectators. This is never the case for a machine called Cho Chabudai Gaeshi, or “Flip the Dinner Table.”
The premise of “Flip the Dinner Table” is that you are angry. You can choose to be a jilted bride, a middle-aged woman annoyed at the waiters in a host club, or a dad whose kids don’t listen to him. The new version adds a fast-food clerk, a salaryman and a teacher.
As the title implies, the game doesn’t get too complex. You pound your hands on a plastic table. Then you launch the table upwards in a cathartic spray of pixelized devastation.
Throwing the Table is, apparently, a “Japanese thing.” Wikipedia, which you should just read instead of my blog, says:
Literally, it describes the act of violently upending a chabudai as an expression of anger, frustration, and disapproval. Video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto characterized chabudai gaeshi as an “action of old-fashioned Japanese fathers” which “would destroy the family” if attempted literally in modern Japanese society. Chabudai gaeshi may also figuratively describe an analogous outburst and upheaval.
Releasing a game based on “destroying the family” is certainly a recipe for fun. But I question the wisdom of marketing this thing in Japan, where people hesitate to reveal anger or frustration in a social setting. The American equivalent might be a game where you weep more humiliatingly than your opponent.
The game is two years old. It keeps getting updated but I never see anyone playing it. And I go to the game center twice a week to play Taiko No Tatsujin, arguably the most adorable game ever invented (and it usually has a line). Here’s me playing Taiko No Tatsujin*:
*= That is not me playing Taiko no Tatsujin. But I can handle the musukashi level, for real.
Heh…I’ve seen this one but never tried it. Perhaps one day I’ll let loose.
For 200 yen it’s worth playing once, especially if you can get a bunch of high school kids to crowd around you while you’re playing it. They seem to enjoy the sight of a foreigner smashing tables. :)
I played that one when I visited Japan August 2012. I inadvertently chose to do the funeral one, in which you flip an open coffin at the elderly mourning crowd. It was worth the 200 yen.
Also, I’d note that in addition to “Flip the Dinner Table,” Shigeru Miyamoto invented Super Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong.
Secondary legacies to the fine art of table throwing… since this post, sadly, it’s disappeared!