Game Center CX encapsulates the sensation of playing through classic video games of all shapes and sizes. It does this by showing Shinya Arino -- a middle-aged comedian, who isn't exactly a star gamer -- tasked at the start of each episode with the challenge of getting to the ending of a retro game, no matter what it takes. He's helped out by his staff, an assortment of talented people with their own individual quirks and faults. As he progresses through each game, beholden to the ruthless "Nintendo Hard" mechanics that have been mostly lost in modern games, it's easy for the viewer to become swept up in the drama over whether Arino will able to make it. The times that he does, there's genuine catharsis and excitement waiting at the end for any retro gamer -- and when he doesn't, we at least feel grateful for the journey. There's really nothing else like it.
If you're a newcomer and you're wondering what this is about, there are translated clips of the show available on Youtube that let you know what you're in for. Be warned, however: since it's straight off of Japanese TV, the subtitles do require your full attention. The DVD has an optional English narrator, but I find that it detracts from the feel of the show. The humor itself alternates between being dry and silly, in a very distinctive way.
There has been some controversy over the fact that the non-challenge segments aren't available on DVD, but my understanding is that it's due more to the nature of Japanese litigation than anything else (those segments aren't on the Japanese DVDs either). Given that this is a thoroughly niche product (and Discotek is a quality company that seems to respect its content), I'm confident that this is the best set they could have possibly licensed.
If you're a GCCX superfan who's sampled a number of unlicensed episodes (as I had before buying this), I have great news for you: this set has the original audio track intact, complete with subtitles by ace SA-Team translator zari-gani! The DVD itself is region- and copy-protection-free, which means you can easily slot each episode into your personal digital collection if you're into that sort of thing. The translation is loads better than the ones by TV-Nihon and Kotaku; it's wonderful to have such talented people on the project.
So, what are you waiting for? Support the Kacho, so we can have more stellar sets like these! (And buy the DS game Retro Game Challenge, too -- it's great!)