Master Takahashi is a treasured pioneer of pro-gaming.

Much ado is being made about a certain plumber with a penchant for popping out of pipes who turned 35 this year, but I worry that it’s over shadowing the 35th anniversary of an arguably more accomplished video game character. I’m speaking of course about Master Higgins from the NES series Hudson’s Adventure Island.

▼ Commercial for the Japanese version, Takahashi Meijin No Bokenjima

I say “more accomplished” because Master Higgins, or “Master Takahashi” (Takahashi Meijin) as he’s correctly known in Japan, did something Mario never could – be a living human.

▼ Master Takahashi

On 3 May, 1985, a young gentleman by the name of Toshiyuki Takahashi took part in a gaming tournament celebrating the launch of Hudson Soft’s Star Force for the Famicom. His lightning fast fingers stole the show and elevated him to the position of Japan’s original pro-gamer.

In addition to setting the bar of excellence with his 16 button presses in a single second, Master Takahashi also actively promoted balancing gaming with exercise and spending time outdoors, constantly reminding his fans to play video games for only an hour a day.

▼ One of Master Takahashi’s many TV appearances demonstrating his extremely fast shooting in Star Force

Around the same time, Hudson Soft was working on a Famicom port of the Sega game Wonder Boy, but lost the rights partway through development. So instead they kept the basic game structure but added their own celebrity spokesperson, Master Takahashi, in the place of the original’s main character.

Wonder Boy and Adventure Island played side-by-side

Even 35 years later, Master Takahashi is still a highly regarded figure in the world of Japanese gaming, and although he isn’t getting train livery in his honor like that other guy, a special app has been made to celebrate his achievements.

Master Takahashi 35th Anniversary App: Game One Hour A Day was released on 18 February for both Android and iOS devices. It’s a collection of four mini games but at the moment only one is unlocked, called Master Takahashi’s Repeated Hit Challenge.

In this game you must rapidly tap the screen to control Master Takahashi and he uses his own famous finger to smash through an increasingly large line-up of objects. This is based on a classic skit in which he cracks open a watermelon just by tapping it.

It also measures your own press rate per second. I could only get about half as fast as Master Takahashi was in his prime.

Image: SoraNews24

The remaining challenges appear to be based on Adventure Island and/or Star Force games: Master Takahashi’s Axe Throwing Challenge; Master Takahashi’s Skateboarding Challenge; and Master Takahashi’s Shooting Challenge.

So be sure to check it out and help celebrate a pillar of the gaming community on his 35 years of greatness. Who knows? You might even develop melon-busting fingers of your own in the process.

Source: Master Takahashi 35th Anniversary App: Game One Hour A Day, Denfaminiko Gamer, Dream News
Top image: YouTube/chirikun
Images: Dream News (Unless otherwise noted)
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