After releasing the Q console, Panasonic decided to delve a little bit more into the world of video games. And so two years later, PIN Change (Panasonic Innovative Navigator), a subsidiary of the parent company, released a simulation game for the GameCube, along with some of the most obscure hardware for the console.
Ohenro-San: Hosshin no Dojo was released in April 24th 2003, with its main audience being elderly people. Basically, the game simulates the 1,400km Ohenro pilgrimage across 88 temples in the Shikoku region of Japan. Due to disc space limitations however, the game includes 23 temples for a 124km journey. The game retailed for 8,800 yen at launch.
To achieve the 248,000 steps required to complete the game, you could alternate the trigger buttons on a standard GameCube controller – L for the left foot and R for the right foot. Or you could use some of the hardware released alongside the game.
You could purchase a pedometer called “Inro-kun” ( 印籠くん ) for 5,800 yen, which would allow you to collect steps during the day, and for 6,800 yen, you had a mat controller called “Button 3” or “Botan-san” ( 牡丹さん )* with three buttons that would emulate the L, R and A buttons. According to some Amazon review from 2003, the pedometer also calculated burnt calories. A set was also offered for the game and the pedometer for 12,800 yen, or a full set with the game, pedometer and mat for 18,800 yen. That’s over $200usd at the time. And yes, this hardware was officially licensed by Nintendo, just like the Panasonic Q console.
* This is a play on “botan” sounding like “button”, and “san” meaning “three” (number 3) in japanese. Botan-san, Button 3 – Clever.
Shoutouts once again to Shairn for the help with research and translation!