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Obscure & Cult Japanese Games & Their Boxart


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If you've ever dared to dream of living the fast-paced lifestyle of a fast-food employee in Japan, your time has come. Success' game puts you on the daily emotional roller coaster that only a member of the food-services workforce could ever experience.

Yoshinoya is a company that was founded over a century ago in Japan and that has built an empire around the simple pleasures of a bowl of rice with some thinly sliced beef and onion on top. The chain of reasonably priced foodstuffs has expanded from a family-run store, which opened in a fish market in Nihonbashi, Chuo-ky, Tokyo, in 1899, to more than 1,000 stores worldwide as of 2001. Having conquered the food sector over the last few decades, the chain has set its sights on the video game world with the help of Japanese developer Success and the simply titled Yoshinoya for the PlayStation 2.

So how on earth could a game even hope to capture the essence of such a company in playable form? Surprisingly easily. If you've ever played the classic game Root Beer Tapper, you'll have a small sense of what Success has done. You'll take the role of a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed trainee at a Yoshinoya store who must work his way up through the ranks of the apron-and-hat-wearing set to be the best employee to ever seat a customer, pour tea, prepare a bowl, and shout "Arigato gozaimashita!"


The serving sequences during your three shifts are pretty basic. You'll guide your character behind the counter as customers come in and sit down. When you near them you'll see the type of bowl they're looking for, represented by a thought bubble displaying one of the four face buttons on the PlayStation 2 controller. You'll just have to press the corresponding button to serve them a bowl and send them on their way. Each level will have its own requirements for success, usually revolving around serving a certain number of customers in an uninterrupted chain. This gets to be challenging as the stores you man get larger and the customers get more impatient. If you take too long to serve a customer, the customer will stomp out in a huff and knock the onscreen chain counter back to zero. To add insult to injury, walkouts will also lower the onscreen customer-happiness meter. While this may sound a bit simplistic, there's actually a little bit of depth thrown in. You'll be able to direct customers where to sit, and you can create combos by grouping together customers craving the same kind of bowl. Serving one of the customers in the chain feeds the whole lot of them and adds more time to the game clock, which is always running down. The bigger the group, the more time is added and the more dramatic the effect used to underscore your combo.

The second gameplay type is the "boss fight" that happens at the end of your third shift in the game. A customer will walk in and require your personal attention in a series of fast-paced minigame-style segments that go through the serving process. The "boss fight" begins with a brief intro and the customer placing an order--a sequence of buttons you'll have to memorize and repeat a moment later. You'll then have to pour the customer a bowl of tea, which requires you to stop a meter at the right time as a mug is being filled. You'll then shift to preparing the order, which uses a similar mechanic. You'll have to stop meters as a bowl is filled with rice and the meat mixture is ladled on top.

Following that, you may have to pick up a few more items in a roulette-style sequence that has you selecting specific items from a rolling line of food. The final segment requires you to mash the circle button and give your food a healthy glow before passing it on. (No, we don't really get this either, but trust us, it's amazing to see.) Your offering is then rated as you present it to the customer. Your rating is determined by how well you timed your meter stops. If your work is mediocre, you'll be dissed by some unpleasant sound effects and have to try again. If you did well, your customer will be pleased, and you'll be treated to some loopy graphics effects. Then, depending on the level, you may be required to repeat the process until time runs out on the clock or your customer is completely satisfied. If you manage to do everything correctly, you'll be treated to a promotion and sent off to the next store.

While the game is in Japanese and has little in the way of English text or voice--with the fantastic exception of a few phrases such as "Wonderful!" and "CPU" (don't ask)--the language barrier is hardly a problem. The game is pretty self-explanatory after about five or 10 minutes of playing.

And if you can't be bothered reading the above, then check this video out....

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The only Japanese imports I have are Ouendan and Ouendan 2, which I am currently enjoying immensely.

Yoshinoya is like a ultra simplified Ouendan. I'd give Ouendan 9.5/10, but Yoshinoya only deserves a 6/10.

Just got this Ouendan poster today....


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I was just trying to think of something Japanese that I've played recently that was any good and wasn't Ouendan, and all I could think of was Rhythm Tengoku. Which probably isn't obscure enough to warrant mentioning, but on the off chance that someone hasn't bought it yet (and the fact that the thread title doesn't feature the word 'obscure')...



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what is it ? and how do I type it ?

Chousouju Mecha MG. It's a 3D mech battler, where you create your own 'bot and then use the cranks, levers and knobs on the touchscreen to guide it into bashy-smashy action. Looks nifty. I might well order this later.

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So which is the best - trains, planes or automo-buses?

I'd say buses, i really hope Tokyo Bus Guide come out for PS3.

Because all the vehicle simulators are real locations in Japan scaled out, you can do the following (if you're a geek like me)....

First play Jet de Go! 2 (PS2) and travel from Kansai Airport to Narita Airport (takes approx 1 hour). Then insert Train Simulator Keisei (PS2), and travel from Narita Airport To Shinjuku in Tokyo (approx 1 hour). And finally Tokyo Bus Guide 2(PS2), and travel Tokyo for a average route time of 45 minutes.

So thats 3 relaxing games, all connected for 3 hours of sunday afternoon relaxation.

Fuck I'm a geek! :)

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The three Kururin games...

Kuru Kuru Kururin (GBA - also got a European release)

Kururin Paradise (GBA)

Kururin Squash (GC)

...are all excellent.

Edit: I give up trying to post these images, they're on Wikipedia.

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