iPhone: Sho Chiku Bai Pachinko (with music by MGS series composer)

Did you realize there's a pachinko game on the iPhone? Did you realize that you should care that there's a pachinko game on the iPhone?

Sho Chiku Bai is a pachinko simulator for the iPhone. That's not all, however — it just so happens to be developed by some Western peoples residing in Japan, and is all the while cuter than a two-year-old girl in a sun-hat hugging a kitten.

Let's let the developers speak for themselves re: the game's features. Block quote ahoy:

Features:
Japanese anime-style art and animation, with a theme based on Japanese culture.
Authentic pachinko gameplay, with a realistic physics engine and true pachinko rules.
Features the original J-Pop song "Sho Chiku Bai" by Norihiko Hibino of Metal Gear Solid fame.
Unlockable character art, board designs, and more!
Presented in the original Japanese with English menus and instructions.

Focus on feature #3 for a second: yes, this game contains an uber-poppy theme song by Norihiko Hibino, who has lent his musical talents to the Metal Gear Solid franchise since the year 2000. And why, look, they've got a promotional video on YouTube for that song, and I've embedded it right beneath this paragraph:

If your heart is not simply leaping out of your chest with adoration right now, you might want to call a doctor.

The game's official site proudly states that

Our goal in creating Sho Chiku Bai was to bring an authentic pachinko experience to the iPhone/iPod Touch platform, and also to bring this experience to the entire world. If you have an interest in Japanese culture, you've probably wondered what the whole pachinko thing is all about. Sho Chiku Bai is your chance to find out; without the costly trip to Japan, smoky pachinko halls, and the risk of losing money.

In order to preserve the unique Japanese feel of pachinko, the game's animations and voices are presented in the original Japanese.

This is all very admirable. Why would you want to actually play pachinko in real life? The Eurobeat blasting over the PAs in pachinko parlors is deafening — even from the street. The nigh-opaque curtain of cigarette smoke is lung-blackening even to pedestrians walking six feet away from the malfunctioning epileptic automatic doors. On a rainy day, clouds of smoke jet out of pachinko parlors and stop dead in the air, becoming accidental meals for passers by.

Of course, it's possible to win real money by playing real pachinko, though the investment of time and money it takes to get good at any particular pachinko machine is a pretty tough pill to swallow, especially for newcomers. This is why pachinko-based videogames sell — some people approach them like mandatory job training.

I personally knew a guy, a couple years ago, who earned around 500,000 yen a month simply by playing pachinko. He ultimately gave up because of a lung condition (also because of Too Much Money in his bank account). Back in the US, he'd loved pinball, though you can't find pinball anywhere around Tokyo. The long-running conspiracy theory is that pachinko machine manufacturers bought up and dismantled pinball machines one-by-one. That theory seems pretty sound. Why let people hone their reflexes on pinball, when they could be paying to hone their reflexes on pachinko machines or officially licensed pachinko machine games?

If you can crack the Pachinko Code as expressed by this game's "realistic physics engine", you might just have what it takes to fly to Japan and become a full-time professional pachinko player. Don't you want to learn at least that much about yourself — and have fun doing it?

It costs 600 Japanese yen or four-point-nine-nine US Dollars.

For even more information on pachinko, see chapter six of Brian Ashcraft's book!

[via Mission One]