Retrogasm: Bishi Bashi Special Review

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I remember being a wide eyed, genuinely obese wanker back in 2010, and in a review I likened a game – I believed it was Geometry Wars, to a drug trip I had never experienced.

What a grade-a bell shaft.

The problem is that I’ve nevet experienced a drug trip of any kind in my puff, and I’m sure most journalists who have likened a high score session of Space Giraffe to an evening spent suckling at Minter’s gack-laced nipples – they haven’t either.

In short, it’s a shit metaphor, you’re not Hunter S. Thompson, let’s cut the bullshit and talk like adults yeah?

So what would I liken the best PSone game ever made (exaggeration plausible) – Bishi Bashi Special to in sober terms?

Cast your mind back to any night you’ve spent out with your mates – and not just any old session, but one of those weird ones you’ve spent knocking drinks back, while being fully aware of how much you’ve drank.

That nagging, sober sense that you’ve drank enough to fell a sex-starved Mike Tyson, but you haven’t even felt a twinge yet.

You realise that what you’re doing isn’t right but you batter on because your pals are doing the same. Let’s be honest: not everyone wants to be the sensible one at an all you can chunder buffet.

That’s a good layman term for Bishi Bashi. It’s basically Wario Ware before you could use that comparison as an excuse. The weird thing you don’t want to go along with but the crowd convinces you that you should.

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After five minutes into your first Bishi Bashi Special session you’ve pogo sticked a near-naked, grinning muscle man towards a rack of meat that wouldn’t look out of place in an episode of the Flintstones.

You’ve helped fell a three-headed dragon by evaporating its face using a sequence of lazer blasts shot from track-driven heavy artillery vehicles that may or may not be tanks.

Then there’s the bulging speedo men, the giant lobster paper lantern creatures, the rip off of Lethal Enforcers and the time you spent gobbling up colour coded jelly beans as a quasi-photo realistic caveman wearing milk bottle specs and a beard.

These games last about 10-20 seconds a piece, so before you have time to question the bite sized mental trauma falling over your head like torrential acid rain, you’re suddenly beating your dualshock as if you’re tenderising meat.

Why? Because you have to hammer buttons to shake up a can of coke hard enough so the discharge – when the drinker opens the ring pull, thereby relasing the agitated carbon dioxide vapour so ferociously that it causes the aluminium container to shoot upward – reaches the nether regions of space.

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Read that paragraph again. No really, read it again because I’m sure it makes no sense, and in the event it doesn’t I’m deeply sorry.

Bishi Bashi is Konami’s Wario Ware all right? It’s about 60 insane minigames that have you guiding a Japanese salaryman past cascading missiles and beachballs, then asking you to hurl a wedding cake as a bride and groom shot putt team in a grand church hall.

I’m not making this up, and I feel that to spoil Bishi Bashi Special’s engrained madness would be to dilute its briliance. You just have to play it and relish in it’s insanity.

If you have a PS3 and have a few quid spare, please just download it. If you already own or have played a Wario Ware game and you enjoyed it, this is no longer a suggestion, it’s an order.

Trust me, you will enjoy this game, particularly with a second person.

So if not drugs – which I have zero experience of (boring, I know), what else can I liken Bishi Bashi to?

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Well, just this night I left the Brass Monkey pub on a tightrope between dangerously sober and crushingly tipsy, so I bid my mates goodnight, turned up my jacket’s hood and walked down the street towards home.

The pissing Scottish rain with its incessant force hammered down on my frame like someone dropping a bag of Murray Mints on my head – miserable but refreshing. But out of the corner of my eye, amid the darkness of this cold night, a beacon shone bright.

It was the 24 hour bakery – usually shut on Saturday morning, but open tonight for some reason. I walked in like a kid on xmas eve eager for goodies and ordered a sausage roll and macaroni pie – or as we call it in Scotland, a side salad.

Outside, I tore into the paper bag in my hands and sighed in relief as the pastry and meat union converged and melted in my mouth. Pure bliss – even if for a moment, surrounded by rain and cold, a warm center, some respite from the shite that is daily life.

That is Bishi Bashi. That salty, unhealthy yet utterly zen mouthful amid a world full of depressing, boring, identikit gaming experiencies, of the confused nonsense that is #GamerGate and the problems that dog our cherished hobby.

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It is a game founded on fucking nonsense, and one that endures no matter how shit your life, or the world feels. It reminds us to lighten up a little when the chips are down and when existence feels futile.

Bishi Bashi is not crack, heroin or gack, it is fun in pure, organic form. Additive free. Unshackled.

It is the reason many of us game to begin with.

The constant we subconsciously chose to ignore in dire times.

But the thing that reminds us why we do this.

It is a game, a plaything, a silly toy.

Fun. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Contentment.

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