Banzai Scratchcard

Published: 19/05/2013

Between 2001 and 2003, the British television programme producer known as Radar (a division of RDF Media) released “Banzai,” a parody of Japanese game shows. Members of the studio audience and viewers were encouraged to “place their bets” on the outcomes of various bizarre challenges. Much of the content was pure nonsense, such as grannies playing chicken with motorized wheelchairs, amputee soccer matches or guessing how long it would take an object to hit the ground after being dropped from a roof.

However, the show also skirted the bounds of appropriate television content, from betting on how long it would take a Madagascar hissing cockroach to die in a microwave or how fast the Queen Mother’s funeral procession would travel. Some recurring characters on the show were Master of Ceremonies “Mr. Banzai,” played by opera singer Masashi Fujimoto, Mr. Shake-Hands Man, Mr. Shake-Hands Man 2, Lady One Question and Mr. Cheeky Chappie.

More recently, software developer Electracade has revived the oddball show as the subject of an instant-win game for online casinos like Bet365. The “Banzai Scratchcard” is not dissimilar from other games of this genre, except for the appearance of wacky characters, meaningless Japanese-looking symbols and zany audio effects that include a variety of admonitions, taunts and off-the-wall comments. For example, if the player is taking too much time making a decision, Mr. Banzai may say “Place your bets now!” or “Don’t just sit there! Do something!”

The Banzai Scratchcard display is wildly colourful, with a starburst background of blue and magenta. The Banzai logo with its yellow lightening bolt appears in the upper left corner with Mr. Banzai to its right, where he make comments during the game. Below the logo, an old-looking television set with “rabbit ear” antennae flashes cartoon characters and scenes from the TV show.

Stacked in the centre of the screen is the “Payouts” information, while the 3 x 3 matrix of hidden values appears on the right. Across the bottom of the screen are the controls, including the “Stake” selector, an “Auto Play” button, the green “Buy Card” button and the game’s “Message” area. Additional toggles for “Sound” and “Quality” of graphics can be found in the pull-down menu at the top of the screen.

At the very start, the player must set the amount of the wager from £0.50 to £10.00 by using the blue up/down arrows next to the Stake indicator. A window pops up over the game matrix and will then read, “Click Buy Card to start the game.” As soon as “Buy Card” is clicked, all of the values in the matrix will be hidden away. The player may then reveal them one by one with a click on each, or else click on the red “Reveal All” button below the Payouts list to instantly show the result.

To win a cash prize, three matching symbols must be revealed. In order from lowest to highest value, the basic symbols are the Lightening Bolt worth a Stake multiplier of 1X, the Yen sign valued at 2X, and the Ideogram, which pays 5X. Five cartoon characters may also be matched: the Scientists at 10X, Mr. Shake-Hands Man 2 at 15X, Lady One Question at 25X, Mr. Cheeky Chappie at 50X, and Mr. Banzai at 100X. The top award is 500X for matching three Banzai Logos.

Whenever a winning combination occurs, a dialog bubble appears below Mr. Banzai’s mouth, confirming the amount won, and the Message display will read “Congratulations! You are a winner.” For those who prefer to sit back and let the game play by itself, the pop-up Auto Play menu offers options for 5, 10 or 25 automatic games.

Published on: 19/05/2013

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