A fantastically named party game for the Playstation, released by Konami. It includes both Super Bishi Bashi and Hyper Bishi Bashi (the concept of normal Bishi Bashi would make little sense) which were released individually in Japan.

In essence a button-bashing/ joystick wiggling game, whilst mustering impressive single player scores might be fun Bishi Bashi is best played in large alcohol-fuelled groups at ridiculously early hours of the morning, and is most entertaining when players have never tried it before. It falls into the "sounds easy, always goes wrong" category of games- just push the right buttons at the right time and you win. Of course, establishing what the right buttons might be from the engrish instructions and deliberately ropey animation is no easy achievement. Although some control techniques are common to multiple games you'd rarely realise until about halfway into the rapidly paced rounds. Giving examples of individual games doesn't really do it justice, as they sound trivial- it's the frantic pace and competition with your mates that give it the edge. Some of them will just have you pushing any and all buttons as quick as possible whereas others desire precise sequences of colours and directions that would put street fighter combos to shame.

Self styled as "Nippon shenanigans to twist your melon", to British audiences the whole thing feels like an episode of Banzai! (I have no idea if they show this in the US), with bizarre rounds such as Left and Right Jumping Girl or Me Find Mistake. Whilst the aim of Mega Speed Race might be obvious, just what is the idea behind a challenge titled Mechanical Pencil Basher or Perm Mania? Bright colours, dodgy animation and videogame music all add to the experience.

The differences between Super and Hyper mode, besides the mini-games on offer, boil down to varying play modes. In super you can try an endurance mode, pitted against all 46 minigames with the soul aim being to rack up as high a score as possible against the computer- although another player can drop in at any time; or go for an 11-game time trial mode. Hyper instead offers up randomly chosen minigames in batches of 20 or 27, or somewhat random levels chosen using a roulette wheel. It also introduces tiebreakers and two extra difficulty settings- very easy and very hard. With more than 2 players, a knockout tournament tree is drawn up - the game supports 8 players, but only 2 in any given minigame. This meant that all our efforts to find 8 controllers and a pair of multitaps were pointless as you just have to pass the first two controllers around anyway. Oh, and there's no ability to pause.

All my opinions on this game based on one session with half a dozen tired and somewhat drunk players at about 3AM at a friend's party using a Playstation 2- as always ymmv and I'd seriously recommend trying before you buy if it's mainly going to be a single-player experience. Of course, why buy a party game to play on your own? Available on budget and worked just fine in the PS2.

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