Here’s one of the more surreal Japanese arcade inventions! Super Dinner Table Flipping (Cho Chabudai Gaeshi) is all about flipping dinner tables in a rage.
The game was created by Taito and launched in Japan in late 2009, before going worldwide in 2010. Let’s flip a lid and see what this ridiculousness is all about.
Ruin Your Family Dinner in a Rage With Cho Chabudai Gaeshi
Japan sure knows how to create utterly surreal video games, which decades ago often led to them staying put in Nippon.
Developers believed them too strange to market in Western countries.
And, well… Cho Chabudai Gaeshi is one of the most warped of the lot. Gameplay is very simple, but there are four settings to pick from. Including a:
- Bloke with his wife and kids.
- Groom at her wedding.
- Host at a club.
- Frustrated office employee.
The player’s interaction with the game is with a plastic table. In a 60 second time period, they’re encouraged to bang on the aforementioned table. Eventually, they can also flip the table over in a rage.
That causes foodstuffs to fly everywhere, earning the player points. Behold!
Whilst that may all seem positively mental, bear in mind the likes of Nintendo’s Donkey Kong (1981) probably seemed ridiculous when it first launched in arcades.
And it’s not at all uncommon to have unusual arcade games… it’s just Cho Chabudai Gaeshi is a particularly weird concept.
Apparently, in Japan “chabudai-gaeshi” (ちゃぶ台ー返し) is a metaphor.
In Wired magazine’s article on this game Super Table-Flip Arcade Game is Japan-Style Stress Relief, journalist Chris Kohler explained the following.
“Many gamers are familiar with [the metaphor] since Legend of Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma used it in a Game Developers Conference speech to describe what Shigeru Miyamoto would do to game design teams. He’d sometimes come in and disrupt the whole production process if he thought a game wasn’t going well, sending the team back to square one. This was such a traumatic event that they likened it to a father flipping the tea table over, sending the whole family into disarray.”
Reviewers praised Cho Chabudai Gaeshi, although noted it’s only suitable for short bursts of frenetic activity.
To handle its limited lifespan, it really ramps up the tension leading to the big table flip moment. So up builds the anticipation… and then there’s the flip!
Players then got to see fantastic replays of each table flip, with startled expressions from those around the moment of violence.
That’s satisfying enough to warrant multiple goes. And as arcade games function by players sticking quarters, pennies, or yen into the machine, it’s a pretty good business idea.
As it was ¥100 a go, which is about 50p ($1), that’s not a bad bit of fun to be had. Hurray. Worthy of a sequel, then? You bet!
And Then There Was Cho Chabudai Gaeshi 2
The imaginatively titled Cho Chabudai Gaeshi 2 ended up being a Japan only release in early January 2010.
And that trailer is just brilliant as the text translates as this.
“Powered up with new gimmicks”
We love how the developer honestly acknowledges the whole concept is just one ridiculous gimmick. Stuff like burn, stain, injure!
This time around, there were some seven stages and a four-player stadium tournament mode. And Taito clearly went all out with this sequel to make it as absurd as humanly possible.
But it is, by the look of things, a pretty effective stress relief game.
You can, of course, do all this at home for free. But then you’ll ruin your dinner and have to clean up afterwards. Maybe just stick to bottling up that repressed aggression instead, eh?