Chaos and Kanji is the blog where I write about my adventures through Japan!

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah! Cards from Zippy Zappy

Most of you know Kenny as Zippy Zappy. He lives here in Japan for now, and we've met up a few times. He's Japanese, but may be more American since he grew up in New York (correct me if I'm wrong!). Anyway, every time we get together the Japanese in him shows through, as he's very generous with gifts. I wish I had great stuff I could trade him in return.
 First, he gave me a box full of Allen & Ginter base cards. He hasn't finished his set (how about posting your want list in the comments, Kenny?) despite buying three boxes? He's promised more Ginters on the way.
 Where are the sexy women surfers?
 Hammerin' Hank is a welcome addition to the Topps lineup. I feel he hasn't gotten the attention he deserves on cardboard. And I'm glad Koufax is getting cards too.
 I really like Verlander.
 There were a few of the regular-sized inserts. I've been to the top of this one.
 And I've been to the top of this one, when it was called the Sears Tower.
 I really like the Highlight Sketches. I'll eventually have a set.
 I'm not sure if I'm into these cards.
 The images just aren't exciting enough.
 What if Topps did a manupatch in that circle, or perhaps a ring or coin or something?
 I am glad they went with the retro Orioles logo here. I miss fun cartoonish logos.
 I mentioned before that Kenny plays the CardGen game. For 200 yen, you get to play for about 7-10 minutes (one game) plus the arcade machine dispenses another card. Kenny gave me a few singles. Did I mention before that he's trying to put together the entire set? It isn't easy!
 The game works like this: you pick out your roster - a full nine players, plus relief pitchers and a bench player or two. You have to actually own the cards and place them on the game, which then uses some kind of RFID-style technology to read the cards. And the stars on the front of the card add up. You're allowed a certain number of stars total, like a salary cap. This way, new players with very little pocket money don't face off against someone new who dropped $100 on an all-star starting nine.
 You can get a different ID card to log in to the game and play seasons. By doing this, you will eventually increase the total number of stars you can use on your team. Kenny fields a pretty good team. Plus, your starting lineup and pitching rotation are established and the game becomes even more realistic.
 Once your lineup is ready, you can play the game. Kenny tells me there are two modes: simulation-only or a combination simulation and play mode.
 Kenny plays the combo mode, and so he gets to bat and pitch in certain key situations. As a pitcher, he can select his pitch type and location, and like most baseball games a bit of skill is involved in tapping the button at the right time to get the most from your pitch. He can also call for pickoffs or other managerial moves.
 While batting, he tries to guess the kind of pitch and location. If he guesses the right pitch, he is more successful at getting a hit. Again, a bit of skill is involved in timing the swing.
 When you play CardGen in an arcade, you actually play online and someone else is controlling the other team. You can sometimes go up against the same player, and once you reach Kenny's level you tend to see a lot of superstars. While the level of play isn't up there with games found on consoles, the inclusion of cards and fast gameplay make this a good way to spend a couple bucks and a bit of time. Prizes can be had through trades at the arcades. A special Ichiro card and case was released to arcades but was out of stock by the time we got there.
 This Justin Smoak card is already in the mail, on its way to a fan in America. The rest of the CardGen cards are available for trade. If Kenny posts his Ginter want-list and you have cards he needs, I'll be glad to help with that trade.
 Here is the playing guide. It's in Japanese.
But you can look at this part of the guide to get an idea of how the arcade game looks and (if you can read Japanese) what information is included on the card.

Thank you very much Kenny for the awesome cards! I hope you have time to get together in January or February. I want to head your way soon anyway.


  1. I have a question maybe Kenny could answer. When working on checklists for various of these arcade game type baseball card sets, I keep running across the word "rokete" with regard to certain special cards. What does that mean? I suspect it has something to do with winning a contest or something, but while Google is only too happy to take ロケテレア and spit out rokete, it doesn't seem to have any meaning in English.

    It shows up a lot on the Wiki site for CardGen and Baseball Heroes.

    1. The word "rokete" is actually a shortened version of the english word "location-test."
      The reason it shows up so often is because prior to 2012 Card Gen wasn't an established product/arcade game. They were set up in all sorts of random arcades throughout Japans (and in it's very early stages the US) for brief periods of time to run trials and tests. For any arcade game in Japan this trial period is refered to as "roke-tests/location-tests." Any Card Gen cards from this period are usually refered to as "roke-te" cards.
      All sets from this period (CG's trial period was from '09-'11) had a very small print run and singles can command a hefty price. The 2010 set has 404 base cards and the 2011 set has 410 base cards. The 2009 set (which was the first set & very first year Card Gen was released to the public) is a total mystery though because they never released a checklist and the total number of cards in the set aren't written on the back like the '10, '11 & '12 cards.
      Here's a little fun-fact for you though, the 2009 set was made by Upper Deck but after UD lost it's MLB license Topps took over and have printed them out since.

    2. Thank you so much for the detailed explanation!

  2. Damn... love seeing Rickey in that bright yellow jersey. Reminds me of my childhood.

  3. Glad you liked the cards Ryan, and thanks for this post (the silver-auto Yu is yet to make his debut though ;)). Expect some more cardboard coming your way when/if we meet up again.

    BTW I don't plan on completing the A&G set, I don't have enough funds/patience to bother anymore lol. Right now my prioity is finding the last two cards I need from the 2012 CG base set. And getting some more Yankees prospects if possible.

  4. Kenny, thanks for the help with rokete, etc. As for the A&G set, I'm sure I could help you out with trades if you get me your want list. I owe you anyway!