Shiro Suzuki has been eagerly practicing to beat his high score of 178,270 in the Mercenary Mode of Resident Evil 4 (called Biohazard 4 in Japan).  Most who have played the game would agree that this is an impressive score, whereas hardcore gamers may scoff at the number. 

What makes Mr. Suzuki unique, however, is that on 10 February, 2012, he celebrated his 74th birthday.

Mr. Suzuki started his career as a broadcaster with Japan’s TBS Network News way back in the early 60’s, just as the space race was kicking into full gear and television signals were beginning to be transmitted by satellite.  He also covered the JFK assassination.  Since then he has had a steady television career in news and other programs like quiz shows.

In 1998, at the end of his run with TBS news, he was faced with a problem many new retirees have: what to do with their free time.  Luckily, a few years earlier, he had won a game system from a banquet hosted by a show he was on.  After dipping his toes into some Super Mario, he found himself hooked on the world of video gaming.

From there he got into the harder stuff like Gradius and Ghosts’n Goblins, leading him into a full blown addiction of the Resident Evil series of survival horror games. His habit has culminated into fixation with achieving a higher and higher score in “The Mercenaries,” which is a mini-game that’s unlocked after completing the main story of Resident Evil 4.

In this game the player has a limited time and limited weapons to kill as many enemies as possible.  First time players would probably be killed before they were able to finish with any score at all.  With some practice you could expect to get anywhere from 30,000 to 70,000 points.  When Mr. Suzuki began playing a couple years ago, people took notice of his score of 98,000.

Since then he has found himself back in the media, this time as the subject of reports rather than the announcer.  Fuji TV and the famous Japanese video game magazine Famitsu have each run several stories featuring Mr. Suzuki’s incredible skill.  He has embraced this notoriety whole-heartedly and is currently trying to reach his personal goal of 180,000.

This passion of his has also been interfering with another bane of the elderly: constant renewals of their driver’s licenses.  Although his reflexes have been well-honed through rigorous playing of Resident Evil 4, his driving instructor is concerned.

“The problem is Mr. Suzuki’s reaction time is so fast that it’s dangerous,” the instructor explained.  It might be wise for Mr. Suzuki to spend more time on a game that doesn’t have zombies bursting through doorways multiple times a second and develop a steadier hand-eye coordination.  Gran Turismo, perhaps?

Suzuki demonstrating his skills at The Mercenaries

Source: Himajin Sokuhou
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