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Toro Station Marathon: Pre-race

Join Toro and Kuro for a full day celebrating the utter awesomeness of Mainichi Issyo.

 

Sony is celebrating the 2nd anniversary of Mainichi Issyo today with a 24 hour marathon session of updates for the game's Toro Station segment.

For those who haven't gotten into this particular Japan-only curiosity, here's the gist. Mainichi Issyo is a download content driven playground of sorts that's been available for the Japanese PS3 since the system's launch. The game is part of the Doco Demo Issyo franchise, which, back in the days of the original PlayStation, was capable of selling a million units.

Taking the starring role in the game is Toro the cat, the Doco Demo Issyo main character who, despite his games not selling particularly well anymore, is still famous enough that people who don't know anything about games today can still recognize him by name. Much of your time is spent watching or interacting with Toro.

While things started out slow, over the past two years Sony has turned Mainichi Issyo into a major attraction for PS3 owners. In addition to showing off tech in advance of everyone else -- the game had YouTube support before any other game and already has minimal screenshot support (all the screenshots you see on this page are taken through the in-game camera) -- Sony has filled it with creative content, ranging from actual online games to wacky items like railroad sets and, most recently, a miniature version of your avatar that you can use to get a new view of your garden. Most of the content is premium, but there are plenty of free things to tinker with too.

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A couple of typical Mainichi Issyo scenes. These are from the latest update which added a fashion walk (for showing off your avatar) and a mini avatar item which allows you to view the game from a new, tiny perspective.

Perhaps the best part of the game is the totally free Toro Station. Every day, Toro and his next door neighbor Kuro deliver a news report directly to your PlayStation 3 (and, recently, to your PSP thanks to the recent release of Mainichi Issyo Portable). The topic of the report varies, ranging from coverage of game releases to current events. Sometimes, the two cats will deliver special features, covering, for instance, a luxury pet hotel at Narita Airport. Sometimes, they'll go out on assignment, as Kuro did to cover the launch of a JAXA rocket. No matter what the subject, these segments tend to be hilarious. Or at the very least charming thanks to the antics of Toro and Kuro.

A broadcast of Toro Station in which Kuro went off on assignment.
Toro and Kuro discuss a luxury pet hotel at Narita Airport in this episode. Toro balks at the $200 a night price tag for the largest suites, but seems willing to pay $80 a night for a smaller room.

Toro Station is the subject of today's marathon festivities, which is why the event is called Toro Station 24 Hour Marathon rather than Mainichi Issyo 24 Hour Marathon. Toro and Kuro will be abandoning their anchoring duties for the day to run through Tokyo, meeting up with famous developers and characters from the game world. Guests include Fumito Ueda (ICO, Shadow of the Colossus), Akihiro Hino (Dragon Quest IX, White Knight Chronicle), and game characters like Dante, Nero, and Sackboy.

Toro and Kuro have actually been away from the news desk for the past few days, apparently training for the event. In their place, the various other characters offered looks back at classic Toro Station episodes.

Guest hosts have been sharing their favorite episodes of Toro Station over the past few days.

These episodes ended with a glimpse of Toro and Kuro working out through the night.

Glimpses of Toro and Kuro working out in preparation for the marathon run.

And finally, those who logged into the game today got this message telling them to check back at noon for the first episode of the marathon.

This is what greets you when you try and view today's Toro Station broadcast. Sony also warns that Toro and Kuro are not responsible should you be late for work on Monday.

Every hour from noon today to noon Sunday will see a new episode of the show available for download. Sony released a full schedule earlier this week. Here's a look:

12:00 to 13:00
Tokyo station to Nihonbashi, Patapon family from Patapon 2
13:00 to 14:00
Nihonbashi to Kokugikan, Ouji Hiroi from Red Entrtainment
14:00 to 15:00
Kokugikan to Asakusa, Last Guy from The Last Guy
15:00 to 16:00
Asakusa to Akihabara, Etona from Disgaea 3
16:00 to 17:00
Akihabara to Todai Akamon, Jinkun-chan from Mugen Kairou (Echochrome)
17:00 to 18:00
Todai Akamon to Nippon Budokan, Hirokazu Hamamura from Enterbrain/Famitsu
18:00 to 19:00
Nippon Budokan to Ikebukuro, Yukimura Sanada and Sasuke Sarutobi from Sengoku Basara
19:00 to 20:00
Ikebukuro to Nakano , Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet
20:00 to 21:00
Nakanoto Alta-mae (in Shinuku), Nagoshi Toshihiro and Kiryu Kazuma from Sega (Kiryu is actually the main character from Ryu ga Gotoku)
21:00 to 22:00
Alta-mae to Tochomae (the Tokyo government building), Male Dragon Riora from Monster Hunter
22:00 to 23:00
Tochomae to Shinbashi, musician Daisuke Miyake
23:00 to 24:00
Shinbashi to Tokyo Tower, Dante and Nero from Devil May Cry 4
24:00 to 1:00
Tokyo Tower to Roppongi, Fumito Ueda from Sony Computer Entertainment)
1:00 to 2:00
Roppongi to Aoyama Cemetery, The Shibito (the zombies) from Siren: New Translation
2:00 to 3:00
Aoyama Cemetery to Shibuya, Hatsuon Miku and Kagamine Rin & Len from Vocaloid 2
3:00 to 4:00
Shibuya to Shinagawa, Takahashi Meijin from Hudson
4:00 to 5:00
Shinagawa to Rainbow Bridge, Spelunker from Spelunker
5:00 to 6:00
Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba, Nabicchu from Nippon no Asokode
6:00 to 7:00
Odaiba to Tokyo Big Sight, Edie from Valkyria Chronicles
7:00 to 8:00
Tokyo Big Sight to Tsukiji market, Maou-san (the demon king) from Yuusha no Kuse ni Nama Ikida
8:00 to 9:00
Tsukiji to Ginza, Hitoshi Sakimoto from Basiscape
9:00 to 10:00
Ginza to Parliament building, Jasmine from Minna no Golf 4 (Hot Shots Golf)
10:00 to 11:00
Parliament building to Aoyama-dori, Akihiro Hino from Level-5
11:00 to 12:00
Aoyama-dori to SCE TK Building (Sony Computer Entertainment main office), LocoRoco from LocoRoco 2

Those who hope to see all the episodes will need to do so in real time. At the end of each hour, old episodes will be cleared for good.

If you're not familiar with Tokyo, here's where all the shooting locations stand on a map of the city (I made this myself at Google Maps, so the locations may not be exact... a few of the locations listed by Sony in the schedule are a bit vague).

The starting path, from Tokyo Station to Nihonbashi, is marked in red, and that's where Toro and Kuro should be in the first episode, which arrives in about 30 minutes from this story's posting.

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