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GameCenter CX

– Shinya Arino

GameCenter CX (ゲームセンターCX, GēmuSentā CX), or GCCX, is the low-budget Japanese gaming variety show, by Fuji Television and Gascoin Company, that has been on the air since November 4, 2003 with over 20 seasons and counting.


The show features the TV personality, Shinya Arino, as the “Kachō” (課長, lit. “Section Chief”) of a fictional company. It was initially based on Weekly Shōnen Brackets, so the show's first season was mostly Arino interviewing video game companies. However, one particular segment of the show had unexpectedly captured many people's interests that it later became the main focus of the show in subsequent seasons.

From thereon, the show focuses on “Arino's Challenge” (有野の挑戦, Arino no Chōsen), featuring Arino in a conference room with 12-14 hours to beat a game. He is assisted by ADs (Assistant Directors) who usually scout the game, present strategy guides, etc. Arino is not good at video games, so he'll usually run out of time and the “Last Continue” is declared before the challenge is deemed a failure.

If Arino fails the challenge, then the AD must show the ending. However, challenges may be extended at the producer's discretion and Arino's will to continue, revisited at special events, or some form of alternative challenge may be presented. That aside, each episode will normally have the “Tamagē” segment,1) a “Game Collections” segment,2) plus a third special mini-corner or segment that's unique to each season.

List of seasons

Toggle chart.


International licensing

In 2008, StyleJam had produced dubs of two GameCenter CX episodes to sell the show overseas and they showed it off at the 2008 New York Asian Film Festival,3) but it didn't find any success. Out of nowhere, Gawker Media acquired 12 episodes that they dubbed and hosted Retro Game Master on Kotaku in 2011.4) However, non-challenge segments were notably cut out.

Their licensed expired, but it was announced on February 29, 2012 that Discotek Media had acquired the 12 episodes with plans to make a DVD box set.5) On September 18, 2012, the Retro Game Master: The Game Center CX Collection box set was released, featuring new subtitles by an “SA-GCCX” member and two extra episodes,6) and there was even a short advertisement with the local Yamanote Line.7)

In the following year, Fuji Television published a formal video of Arino asking foreign television companies to buy the rights for GameCenter CX if possible.8) However, there hasn't been any indication that they plan to release another DVD Box Set, nor has there been any success in having the show come to online streaming platforms (e.g. Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc.) or foreign television networks.

Fansubbing groups

There are several fansubbing groups for GameCenter CX, though efforts have slowed down after the show realized its popularity and began doubling its episode count with Season 15 in 2011. A significant chunk of subtitles were done by “SA-GCCX”, though the more recent subtitles are coming from newer groups such as “GooseCanyon” and “LocationScouts”. Also, be careful with bulk torrents.9)

  • TV Nihon (2008–2013) - The first fansubbing group with a Tokusatsu focus, thus #21 (Ultraman) and #45 (Ultraseven), then did the first season and eventually put it on indefinite hold.10)
  • SA-GCCX (2011–2018) - The fansubbing group at Something Awful which took over after TV Nihon stopped. They have produced the most GCCX fansubs, but haven't been active in a while.
  • LC-GCCX (2013–2017) - Another fansubbing group. They haven't been active in years. Also, they teamed up with the “VRiSFAGS” encoder, but not much happened after that!11)
  • GCCXRUS (2013–) - Russian-language fansubbing community at VK, still going strong.
  • VR-GCCX (2013) - That brief 4chan fansubbing group, consisting of “Kakaricho !HUdKbIa0hI” and “Abunai !8MIGWLsmQw”.12) Polled for #146 (Karnov),13) then disbanded over drama.14)15)
  • VRiSFAGS (2013) - Some toxic guy named “JoannaDork” (JD) who really hated SA-GCCX and did kill VR-GCCX as he wouldn't shut up about encoding,16)17) thus “/vr/ is fags”.
  • GooseCanyon (2019–) - The fansubbing community that took over after SA-GCCX kinda stopped, rumored to be composed of former SA-GCCX members. Still subject to real-life interference.
  • LocationScouts (2022–) - Formerly “EphemeralSpecter”, “TokidokiSpecter”, and “XerdoSpecter”.


  • In the first season, the show was originally named “GameCenter 「CX」” (ゲームセンター「CX」), but the hook brackets were later dropped to reflect the show focusing on Arino's Challenge.
    • Personally, I think “Shunin” (主任) should've been translated as “Supervisor”, not “Senior Staff”.18)
    • The original AD was “Naoki Yamada” who was credited for the first three episodes before vanishing, allegedly on bad terms. He is only mentioned in Episode #237 (Märchen Maze, Part 2).
    • For the Game Freak special, Arino played Pokémon FireRed for two months19) and he obtained the first 150 before meeting Satoshi Tajiri in 2004. Then in 2016, Arino was asked to obtain all 151 in Pokémon Green before the release of Pokémon Sun and Moon. Nintendo has deleted these videos, but he did finish the goal with Shigeru Miyamoto trading Mew to him.
  • Arino's Challenge typically ends around midnight to account for Suda's last train to Mount Takao.
    • Suda first hints at this during “The Aces of Hardware Won't Appear” segments for Episode #34-36. However, if you're watching the fansub translation, these conversations are butchered.
      • In Episode #34 (Ghosts n' Ghouls), he mentions the “last train” (終電, shūden) setting up.
      • In Episode #36 (Shadow Land), he says “hako gurai hakobimasu” (箱ぐらい運びます) which has the double meaning of “At least, I can carry the box.” and “At least, I can use the train.”
    • It was formally revealed in Episode #44 (Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa) that the staff colloquially called it “Suda Time” (須田時間, Suda Jikan) or “Cinderella's Loss Time” (シンデレラのロスタイム).
  • For some challenges, Arino may stick cooling pads onto his face to help him concentrate. Many brands have appeared, like Lion or Hisamitsu, but they're generally called a “hiepita” (冷えピタ).20)
    • On October 31, 2022, it was announced that GameCenter CX would collaborate with Hisamitsu and develop a commercialized cooling pad that would cost ¥2,200 (roughly $22) to order.21)
    • In the United States, the closest equivalent are the “soft gel sheets”, that are actually manufactured by Kobayashi doing business as BeKOOOL. These are inexpensive, costing like $4-8.
  • At the time of this writing, the challenge room has changed three times: 2006, 2009, and 2013.22)
  • In Episode #43 (SOS), Inoue had infamously printed a map off the internet, causing an incident where the Saturday rerun had to be cancelled after the map's creator “kemuken” wrote to them. The show was later given approval after “kemuken” met with the show's producer,23)24) modifying future reruns of said episode to include proper credit to a now-defunct website (ended service in 2017).
  • In Episode #50, they pick up a mysterious bootleg cartridge from South Korea,25) but get stuck on the title screen in Episode #51 (Musashi no Ken) and Episode #64 (Sonic the Hedgehog). Researching “Bēnlì Tiàowǔ Tiānshǐ” (奔力跳舞天使),26) also called “Dance 2000 12-in-1”, reveals that they needed a second controller plugged into the second/expansion port.27)28)
  • There are a few rare instances where Arino gets the pick a game for the challenge:
  • The blue Piccadilly Circus machine, from the 2011 New Year's Special featuring Yoiko,29) makes its first appearance in the challenge room in Episode #115 (Mega Man 4, Part 2).
    • It was briefly mentioned in Episode #251 (Dragon Quest, Part 2) when Kaga attached a map on the machine, but it seems like Arino had completely forgot about it in the past seven years.
  • Several things happened as the show went international on Kotaku from July to October 2011:
    • Arino acknowledges this in Episode #125 (Kosodate Quiz: My Angel) and later brings up how their servers had crashed in the October 2011 “Genki TV” interview, where it's also revealed that he maintains his composure and avoids throwing the controller in frustration as he didn't want the retro game to potentially glitch out and force him to start over from the beginning.
    • Fans in the United States had a rather brief window to visit Arino at the Little Tokyo Galleria in Los Angeles on September 9, 2011, if they were lucky enough to see the announcement.30)31)
    • The unusual sound bite in the intro was eventually changed to a more coherent “GameCenter CX!” after the two-hour special on the trip had aired, starting with Episode #128 (Strider).
  • About two months after GameCenter CX: The Movie released, Arino says “please forget about the movie” (映画も忘れ下さいね) in Episode #178 (Mega Man X). However, this was likely in the context of Arino expecting the movie to end its run by the time that the episode aired.
  • In the 2014 interview, Arino mentioned that fans discussing GameCenter CX on 2channel, Twitter, and other blogging websites did help the show grow to where it was at that point in time.32)
    • The only mention of 2channel in the show was DVD Challenge #9 (Spelunker) in 2013, where Arino joked that reading “slander and abuse” would be enough to kill Spelunker's protagonist.
  • During the 2019 Russia trip, they did record footage of Kart Fighter, a well-known unlicensed fighting game with characters from the Super Mario franchise, but were forced to blur this out.33)
    • Ōsuka wore a Vladimir Putin tourist shirt that read “the most polite president” (самый вежливый президент, samy vezhlivy prezident), coincidentally Dmitri Tarasov's controversial shirt.34)35)
  • For the COVID-19 pandemic, Episode #302 (Chack'n Pop) to Episode #332 (Axelay) did not have any new Tamagē segments as it was obviously difficult to film on location back then.
  • There's a GameCenter CX thread on 2channel's /skyp/ (SkyPerfect) board, but it gets spammed.

See also

┃   おうさまはなにかつぶやいた   ┃
┃                       ▽ ┃
┃. The King uttered something. ┃
┃                       ▽ ┃
“You Should Visit This Game Center Sometime” (たまに行くならこんなゲームセンター, Tama ni Ikunara Kon'na Gēmu Sentā), abbreviated as “Tamagē” (たまゲー), features Arino taking a trip to a local arcade, game center, shop, or park for video games. Any prizes won on these trip are usually given to viewers at the end of the episode. The name of the segment may also change accordingly to location.
“Game Collections” is a simple segment that shows off games released in a certain year. The show's gone through the Famicom (NES) catalog, the GB catalog, and is currently on the SuFami (SNES) catalog.
"Catch Retro Game Master in NYC this weekend!" (July 27, 2008). Infinite Lives.
"Retro Game Master Headed to DVD" (February 29, 2012). Nintendo Life.
"Retro Game Master Advert" (September 16, 2012). YouTube.
For some reason, the bulk torrent provides the “VRiSFAGS” version of Episode #117 (Mr. Gimmick), Episode #120 (Tant-R), and Episode #184 (Super Mario Land) instead of the “SA-GCCX” version when their only legitimate subtitling effort is Episode #211 (Taito Chase H.Q.).
"GameCenter CX". TV-Nihon Forums.
"Game Center CX General" (July 2, 2013). 4chan /vr/.
Senior of what? The show just started!
In late March 2004, Arino attended the Pokémon League Triple Beat event in Tokyo. He arrived with a FireRed version-exclusive Kusaihana/Gloom in his party, nicknamed “Arino 15” (ありの15), then we see him trade for the LeafGreen version-exclusives Kyukon/Ninetales and Boober/Magmar.
“Hiepita” (冷えピタ) has a literal translation of “cold compress” or “cold pack”.
It changes in Episode #31 (Umihara Kawase) in 2006, Episode #81 (Battle Golfer Yui) in 2009, and Nintendo Channel #10 (EarthBound) or Episode #157 (The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse) in 2013.
"【フジTV】ゲームセンターCX【CS】 14" (February 9, 2007). 2channel /retro/.
Following the Japanese occupation of Korea, the government of South Korea enacted a ban on Japanese culture which technically made Japanese video games illegal, thus bootleg consoles and cartridges flooded the market. It was lifted in the 2000s, but PC gaming was on the rise by that point.
“Bēnlì Tiàowǔ Tiānshǐ” (奔力跳舞天使, lit. “Swift Dance Angel”) would be “Honriki Choubu Tenshi” using the on-reading, but the SA-GCCX subtitles render it as “Honriki Choumu Tenshi” instead.
"[24 march 2013]" (March 24, 2013). CaH4e3 Page.
"Meet Game Center CX's Arino in LA Friday" (September 4, 2011). Tiny Cartridge.
gamecenter_cx.txt · Last modified: 2024-05-06 10:08:18 by namelessrumia