Taito's Space Invaders 30th Anniversary Celebration to end with a bang

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taitohappystation_buppan090302_42I received this a couple of days ago but as it was all in Japanese in a form that the online translator could not do anything with it (I have noticed many Japanese sites like to do that, where all the text is done in the forms of JPEGs or something similar), I had to resort to other means to figure out what on earth this Taito promotion site was talking about. Thankfully, Aaron Auzins of bemanistyle.com was able to translate what it was that was going on and so here is his rundown on what Taito is doing this Thursday in Japan.

“Even though it’s 2009, Taito is still looking to party like it’s 2008 with one, final event in recognition of its flagship Space Invaders’ 30th anniversary. For an event on Thursday, Taito will be rolling out special versions dubbed Space Invaders CX to six different Taito Happy Station locations in Japan, putting up exclusive goods and a chance to attend a special event later that evening.

Space Invaders has been showcased in arcades since 1978 and a special event in Akihabara’s UDX Gallery will be home to a special “retro free play” event from 14:00-18:00 on March 26. The game’s page shows a
number of cabinets with release dates ranging from 1986 onward, so, hopefully this represents titles that will be present at the event. From top to bottom, the page includes photos of Ninja Warriors (1987),
Darius (1986), Night Striker (1989), as well as two recent Taito games shown at AOU, Hopping Road and Senyoru Nippon.

However, attending the event is more than a matter of showing up at the door. Starting at 10:00, prospective attendees must attend events set up at six different Taito Station arcades.

In a cross promotion with GameCenter CX (GCCX), a popular television series in Japan now in its 11th season where comedian Shinya Arino plays video games under a time limit and goal, the event is being
billed as Space Invaders X (pronounced “cross”) GCCX and places Space Invaders CX machines at the locations. The show was popular enough to be made into a Nintendo DS video game entitled GameCenter CX: Arino’s
Challenge in 2007 – a title that was recently brought to the United States (sans references to the televisions show that would be unfamiliar to the region’s audience) under the title Retro Game Challenge – so Game Master Arino is no stranger to being featured in a video game. The CX version of the arcade machine seems nearly
identical to the original game, however, a caricature of Arino replaces the mystery point UFO.

The Station locations featuring the machine include Shinjuku, Shibuya, Akihabara, Ikebukuro, BIGBOX Takadanobaba (Tokyo) and Ueno, with each location hosting two sets of machines. When the event launches,
players can pick up a stamp card. Players get one chance per location to shoot down the flying Arino and if they are successful, they receive a stamp on their card.

It seems if you receive two or more stamps from the various locations, you can be admitted to the UDX Gallery event, where, if I’m translating this correctly, you can receive a business card from Mr. Arino himself. While this might sound silly to those outside of Japan, business card trading is very serious in the country and I
would be led to believe the business card would be from the GameCenter CX Company, the fictitious company Arino works for in the television series, making it a gaming collectible. Also, each of the six stamp
locations has a unique stuffed mascot character available, being based on Arino and some of the characters from the GCCX video game RPG, and original GCCX merchandise will also be available for purchase during
the event.

This sounds like a fantastic promotion and it also seems the stamp card craze is still running strong in Japan’s arcades. Konami is also running stamp card promotions in which AOU attendees and members of other events could receive stamps toward Bemani tumblers (coffee mugs). Hopefully the Space Invaders’ 30th anniversary finale goes out with a bang, leaving us wondering what could top such a grand event for the series’ 40th or even 50th anniversary.”

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