Retro Game Challenge is based on the bizarre Japanese videogame TV show GameCenter CX, starring videogame masochist Shinya Arino.
In the show, Arino takes a game from the past and attempts to complete it within 24 hours. Arino deliberately tracks down obscure and almost impossible games for his challenges and plays on bravely - occasionally aided by one of his assistants - until he cracks it, or cracks up. It's thoroughly entertaining viewing and genuinely funny.
The game is a spin-off from the show and is a little slice of brilliance. It was released in Japan in late 2007, and a translated version came out in the US back in February. Unfortunately, there is no word on a UK release, which is a real shame. Still, as the DS is region free, I'd urge you to import.
At the start of the game, Arino sends you back in time to the Eighties, where you team up with his younger self to play games of the era and try and beat his challenges.
While all the fully-fleshed out games are fictional, they all bear a striking similarity to games of the era. The first game you'll encounter is called Cosmic Smash, which bears an uncanny resemblance to classic shooter Galaga. Other titles include Robot Ninja Haggle Man, Rally King, while 12+ hour adventure Guadia Quest is a nod to the classic Dragon Quest series.
Once challenges are completed - such as completing a certain stage, getting a certain score, or performing specific actions - the story progresses and new games become available - complete with their own set of unique challenges.
To help you on your way, you can browse game manuals, while new issues of fictional games magazine GameFan become available as you make progress. Each issue can be read cover to cover and feature tips and cheats for certain games.
Along with specific games related info, GameFan also features a good chunk of unrelated stuff to read through, including a section titled Gamer's Voice, where 'readers' send in their questions.
This section is completely off the wall and features questions like: 'Whenever I eat snacks while playing games, my controller gets all sticky.' from Hugh Jass, Florida.
Answer: 'You should practice proper eating etiquette, or eat snacks on sticks like cheese fondue.' Completely unrelated to the game, but the attention to detail is brilliant.
All the games look and sound like their 8-bit counterparts, but all have a certain amount of style and charm.
A second Retro Game Challenge title is currently available in Japan titled GameCenter CX: Arino's Challenge 2, but there is no word of a western release.
It's a brilliant little package and is definitely worth hunting down.