It’s a popular trope to associate alcohol with brilliant writing. Writers like Ernest Hemingway, Dylan Thomas, and F. Scott Fitzgerald are examples of talented authors who seemed to find inspiration at the bottom of a bottle. However, in the interest of equal coverage, it seems only fair to point out that, while Hemingway may have written the literary brilliance that is The Sun Also Rises while three sheets to the wind, Takeshi Kitano was purportedly wasted when he came up with the ideas behind Takeshi no Chōsenjō (more commonly called Takeshi’s Challenge). So, the correlation between booze and brilliance is tenuous at best.

Taito developed the game, but it’s a far cry from Space Invaders. You play as a Japanese salesman. I suppose you could describe the game as a side scrolling action platformer where your goal is to find an island filled with treasure, but that doesn’t really give you a sense for it. Here, in no particular order, are a few of the games stranger elements:

  • Your character must get divorced, at which point you lose a significant amount of your money.
  • You must quit your job.
  • You can punch literally anyone, including women, children, and the elderly.
  • You sing karaoke using the controller’s microphone. In fact, you are required to do this to gain access to the treasure map you need. And you have to sing well. 
  • Once you gain the map, you have to set down your controller and not touch it for an hour. That is, if you want the map to be more than just a blank sheet of paper. The only alternative is to scream into the microphone after a few minutes.
  •  You hang glide and UFO’s try to shoot you down. While hang gliding, you can also crash into a mountain.
  • You can die and witness your own funeral.
  • You can lose the game before you’ve even started it by choosing “Punch the Old Man” on the password screen.
  • If you complete the game and leave the final screen on for roughly five minutes a secret message will appear that reads, “What would you do if a game like this were serious?”

It’s worth noting as you ponder this hot mess, that Kitano apparently hated the medium of video games, making the entire thing a giant trolling of the people who bother to play it. I suppose there’s a certain, Andy Kaufman like brilliance to such a dedicated practical joke. Then again, there’s a reason so many people wanted to punch Andy Kaufman in the face so often. 

Until next time, I remain…

Just Another Geek in the Geek Kingdom

Shaun Jex Shaun Jex (0 Posts)

Shaun Jex is a lifelong gamer, a journalist, and pop culture historian.His love of video games began with a Commodore 64 he played growing up, late night sessions on his NES, Game Boy and Sega Genesis, and frequent trips to the local Tilt arcade. He edits the Citizens' Advocate newspaper in Coppell, Texas and writes about Disney and Walt Disney World history for Celebrations Magazine and the Celebrations Magazine blog. He runs a weekly vlog called "The MCP" dedicated to retro video games, and a channel with his wife Kara called "The Marceline Depot," dedicated to Disney, amusement parks, and travel.