Shiro Suzuki is a legendary Japanese broadcaster with a career spanning decades, and now encompassing variety programs. But as the 73-year-old enters his golden years, he's become more noted for something else: kicking ass at video games.
While famous people — old or young — playing video games is nothing new, Suzuki is really good at video games. Take Resident Evil 4, which as of a few years ago, he cleared on "professional" difficulty five times.
Suzuki's no slouch at the unlockable Mercenaries Mode, either, typically posting scores between 60,000 and 90,000 points. But he's recently posted a new personal best: 178,270 points. The secret, Suzuki says, is to get as many enemies close together and then burn 'em up.
What makes Suzuki's gaming prowess interesting is that he doesn't fit the typical image Japan has of gamers. He's an older, dapper man, who you'd expect to be enjoying kabuki theater, not killing zombies. It's a bit like finding out that Dan Rather is really, really good in Modern Warfare 2.
Suzuki first started gaming fifteen years ago, when he received a game console at a party for a variety program he appears on. "I started with Super Mario Bros," he recalls.
"Then from there, I moved on to Gradius, Parodius, Castlevania, Resident Evil 1, 2, 3, and 4." It's Resident Evil 4 that seems to have won over Suzuki the most, whether it be the original GameCube version or the Wii remake. He even wears different sunglasses especially for RE4 to ensure he's playing the best he can.
Gaming has been a plus for him. Playing has kept his reflexes sharp, helping the senior easily pass his driving test. His instructor even said that Suzuki's reflexes might be "too sharp" from all that gaming.
Video games have also given the respected Suzuki a new role as not only a gaming spokesperson, but a gaming ambassador, who loves extolling the positive benefits of playing video games.
According to Suzuki, "Being patient, withstanding fear, enduring agony — these are what video games can give us."
Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome — game related and beyond.