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.