Hayato Kongo, the star of BCV: Battle Construction Vehicles

Welcome back to our weekly open thread. As usual, we invite you to share your weekend gaming plans down in the comments. As for me, it’s likely that the only thing I’ll be playing this weekend is Super Smash Bros. on the 3DS, but at this point, we’ve talked Smash Bros. to death. (I’ll be dropping a full review next week, by the way.) Instead, I’m going to talk about what I played earlier this week.

A few of the New York-based Gameological contributors (and actual real-life friends)—namely Anthony John Agnello, Joe Keiser, and Derrick Sanskrit—occasionally get together with some other buddies to partake in an evening of weird imported video games. I’ve been hearing them talk about these nights for a while now, listening with eyebrows raised and mouth agape as they recap the bizarre spectacles. This week, I sat in on my first “Import Game Night,” and while we probably spent more time playing Smash Bros. than we should have, we squeezed in a couple of captivating oddities.

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The stars of the night were Demolition Girl and BCV: Battle Construction Vehicles. The former is a PlayStation 2 game that was only released in Japan and Europe, but it takes the objectification of women to such heights that it’s surprising it came out anywhere. In Demolition Girl, players hop into a military helicopter that ventures into the path of a giant bikini-clad woman who is terrorizing Japan. The first mission has you scanning different parts of her body, which amounts to little more than flying the helicopter right up to her chest and staring at it while a meter that represents your “breast data acquisition” ticks upward. Yeah, it’s gross, and we didn’t play for long.

What we saw of Battle Construction Vehicles (again, we were playing the European version) was way more innocuous and entertaining. This one’s an incomprehensible fighting game where anime people battle it out in heavy-duty vehicles. It features the most hilariously low-budget anime cut scenes I’ve ever seen. (I’ve embedded the story mode’s introductory scene above. You’re welcome.) We gave it our all, but we couldn’t even figure out how to finish the first fight. We did get to watch an old man in a crane summon a giant samurai spirit who used the vehicle’s arm like a sword, though. That was pretty cool.

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While both of these games were horrible, it’s hard to come away from the festivities disappointed. The absurdity on display is delightful on its own, but more than anything else, Import Game Night is a welcome opportunity to be surprised by video games again. It’s hard to avoid the pre-release hype cycles of modern games that lay their every nook and cranny out on the table. If you’re paying any attention, you’ll know what kind of game it is, what it’s about, and how it’s going to play. When we pop one of these in, we have little more than a vague understanding of the premise. Not knowing what you’re getting yourself into (for better or worse) is priceless, and the surprise makes it worthwhile to boot up what may prove to be a terrible game. There are rewards to be found in simply figuring out how to control something as weird and impenetrable as Battle Construction Vehicles. We might not have won a single fight, but we at least worked out how to raise our cone of protective girders and do some serious damage with our forklift. It’s the little things.