So today, December 10th, marks the 29th anniversary of what has been referred to as one of Nintendo’s, “worst video games of all time.” Not only was it insanely difficult to complete, but it was also surprisingly controversial for a Nintendo licensed game…and this game is Takeshi’s Challenge.
(Yes, it is related to that fantastic TV program, Takeshi’s Castle!)
Also known as Takeshi no Chōsenjō, Takeshi’s Challenge was released on the Famicon (more commonly known as the Nintendo Entertainment System) way back in 1986, the same year as Nintendo’s original The Legend of Zelda game.
Takeshi’s Challenge incorporated the open world/sandbox gameplay we see so often in the Grand Theft Auto games nowadays. Although the protagonist, a generic working man, has the freedom to do as he pleases (including punching his wife), the player must follow some very specific steps in the game in order to reach the treasure chest at the end.
But it is! Believe it or not, after selecting the option of ‘I want a divorce’ when the player makes the protagonist approach his wife, you have the options of ‘Pay Alimony’ or ‘Punch’. Selecting the first option allows you to continue and assists in you reaching the end of the game, but selecting ‘Punch’ allows you to repeatedly strike your wife and your children. Domestic violence in a Nintendo game?! Absurd!
Not only did the game contain such controversial violence, it also had some pretty weird moments. Probably because the creator, Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano, was rumoured to have been guzzling wine during the game meeting. This would explain why you need to remove money from a plant pot to pay your wife’s alimony, shoot down UFO’s whilst hang gliding, and beat up old men who give you treasure maps.
If this hasn’t weirded you out completely, get this; one point in the game requires you to leave the controller alone without touching it for AN HOUR to progress to the next part. What’s up with that?! Although, if you don’t fancy doing that, you could always leave it for 5-10 minutes and then scream into the microphone on the second controller and proceed that way. Your call.
You know what the worst parts are? You can’t save the game whatsoever, and if you die you have to start right from the very beginning. Not only that, but the treasure chest you eventually find after completing the rest of the game doesn’t give you anything. Nothing at all. Except a notice that says ‘Amazing!’.
All of this was released 29 years ago, to the unsuspecting children of Japan. However, the game was released in 2009 on Nintendo’s Wii Virtual Console, so if you feel the urge to play it even after seeing how insane it was, then feel free! You can also grab it on Amazon for less than $10 here.
Happy 29th Birthday, Takeshi’s Challenge!
Hint from editor: If you happen to speak Japanese, and are interested in going through the hell I (and many others) faced, pay very, very close attention to the following two trailers. Although Takeshi doesn’t really do much, both of these commercials offer extremely cryptic hints into beating Takeshi’s Challenge.
This man is insane, but I love him. You all should check out Battle Royale; another equally controversial piece Takeshi was a part of (trailer under the trailer).