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The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai
Developer(s) Ska Studios
Publisher(s) Microsoft Game Studios
Designer(s) James Silva
Engine Microsoft XNA
Platform(s) Xbox 360 (XBLA)
Release date(s) April 1, 2009[1]
Genre(s) Side-scroller, Beat 'em up
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer[2]
Rating(s) ESRB: M
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The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai is a beat 'em up game developed by independent software developer James Silva for the Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade service.[3]



The Dishwasher is a 2D, side-scrolling, beat 'em up action game. Gameplay revolves around an unnamed protagonist, ostensibly a dishwasher, as he fights through waves of increasingly strong enemies until the boss fight and the end of the level. The player is given a basic starting weapon (meat cleavers) and can earn new weapons and upgrades by defeating bosses and collecting 'spirals' from defeated enemies. Weapons include the cleavers, a samurai sword, a machine gun/shotgun combo, chainsaw, and kama. Fighting is done through using either a basic attack, a strong attack, or a grab move, in combination or alone to string together chains of attacks for points. Enemies, once weakened, are susceptible to various 'finishing moves' that yield even more points and health to the player. There is also a magic system, dubbed Dish Magic, which can be bought at later levels. Also present is a guitar minigame, which can be played with the common guitar peripherals from the Guitar Hero and Rock Band series, it is greatly known to be one of the better ways to become a guitar hero.[4]


The Dishwasher - The violent, unnamed protagonist; captured by the cyborgs in hope of making him one of their own, The Dishwasher was saved by Chef - his mentor - and was donated "Alien Blood" resurrecting him from death and giving him incredible powers. The Dishwasher has flashbacks through a series of comic-strips about his life and hatred for the Cyborgs and their master "AI Sinthesis" but more importantly of his sister, Yuki, who gave herself willingly to the Cyborgs. His quest is simple: destroy the head of the Cyborg army so that the world may be saved. The Dishwasher has long black hair that covers the bulk of his face, he is naked save for a torn garment that covers his lower body.

Chef - The Dishwasher's mentor and savior. Chef is a mysterious character who's past is ambiguous, however we learn that it was Chef who saved The Dishwasher from the Cyborg army and indeed he is the only one possible to stop The Fallen Engineer (says the Engineer is himself at the end of the game). It appears that Chef's powers are superior even to The Dishwasher himself for example at one point during the game: Chef is cut in two by a Cyborg yet somehow manages to come back to life. He assists The Dishwasher at times during the game combating enemies and appears once again in the final battle against The Fallen Engineer. He is presented in a stereotypical French-Chef attire, he has a short beard and squint eyes; Chef fights with a meat cleaver and throwing kitchen knives.

The Fallen Engineer - Chef's nemesis and the silent Antagonist of the game. The Fallen Engineer is encountered twice: once in the very beginning and once at the very end as the final boss of the game. We learn that The Fallen Engineer is actually the original creator of AI Sinthesis and the Cyborg Army. From his speech it seems that he and Chef have fought on several occasions and he believes Chef to be the only one powerful enough to stop him. When first encountered, The Fallen Engineer rides a Cyborg Stallion and wields the "Shift Blade" (which is adopted by the player upon defeat). When encountered in the end, The Fallen Engineer wields the plucked electrical cords of AI Sinthesis. The Dishwasher hacks both his arms, his chest and decapitates The Fallen Engineer only for his enemy to resurrect himself. When finally defeated, The Engineer's head erupts in a shower of blood and his body ignites. He is presented in a long, black cloak with a grinning - white, doll like mask.

AI Sinthesis - The Master Computer that rules The Cyborg Army: destroying Sinthesis is The Dishwasher's primary goal for it is the Creator of the Cyborgs (although it should be noted that AI Sinthesis was created originally by The Fallen Engineer). It has the several television screens that appear as its many faces and two robotic arms that it uses to control the other computers with. Upon defeat, The Dishwasher smashes the largest Television Screen thus ending The Cyborg's tyrannical reign.

Yuki - The Dishwasher's prodigal sister whom he lost to the Cyborgs years before. He often reminisces of his sister but thinks her dead. Whilst pursuing Sinthesis, The Dishwasher is accosted by a masked assassin in Grace Chapel: quickly The Dishwasher desposes of his enemy only for the assassin's hood to fall and reveal the face of his sister. She thanks him with her dying breath for "saving her". Distraught at her death, The Dishwasher's hatred grows ever stronger.

The Doctor - AI Sinthesis' second is The Doctor: a psychopathic Cyborg who is responsible for the transformation process that is used to turn humans into machines. He recognises The Dishwasher instantly upon confrontation and claims that he is "property" - nothing more. Upon defeat, The Diswasher dashes The Doctor's head clean in two.

Cyborg Army -



Special Forces



Ogre Tanks

Behemoth Machines

Jet Pack Cyborgs


Mother Ogre Tank - A much larger version of the Ogre Tank

Mother Behemoth Machine - A much larger version of the Behemoth Machine fought atop a Train

Viking Cyborg - Sent to kill The Dishwasher: The Viking Cyborg wields a powerful axe. His weapon is in turn used against him.

Jet Pack Leader - Leader of the Jet Pack riders

Pumpkin Head - A maniac with a Chainsaw encountered in the theatre: he wears a Pumpkin on his head. The Dishwasher knocks him to the ground before disembowling him with his own Chainsaw.

Shotty Creep - The Assassin alongside Yuki who wields the power "Arsenal" weapons. Disarmed of his shotgun, The Dishwasher places it beneath his chin a shoots the top of his head off.

Skull Faced Behemoth - A gigantic robot with a skull face fought atop the highest tower of CAM (the Cyborg Headquarters)



Cleavers: The standard weapons adopted by The Dishwasher from the kitchens he cleaned in.

Shift Blade: Taken from The Fallen Engineer: a magical Katana with the power to teleport its user. The predomiant used weapon throughout the game.

Kama: Two scythes used similarly to the cleavers. The fastest weapons to use yet deal little damage. Earned after defeating the enemies in the well on St. Crux Cemetery.

Chainsaw: Taken from defeating The Pumpkin Headed Psycho - certainly the most powerful weapon in the game yet it limits your movement and is slow to use.

Arsenal: A machine gun and a shot gun taken from defeating the One Eyed Assassin; machine gun has rapid fire and long range but does little damage; shotgun is much more powerful but rate of fire is slower

Game Modes

James Silva has announced two different game modes besides the Story Mode. In Dish Challenge you must survive wave after wave of enemy attacks while attempting to score combos for points. The second extra mode is Arcade, which are short, one room levels which sometimes have certain themes or types on their own. You are locked in with two weapons and one magic ability, and must kill all enemies. In addition to the standard Story Mode, there is a ranked mode that is set at the hardest difficulty, and up to 3 extra players in co-op mode which can play through the whole story (non-ranked only).[2]

Development history

The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai gameplay screenshot

Inspiration for The Dishwasher began in 2004 when James Silva was himself working as a dishwasher, and felt that the position earned too little respect. After pointing out to many people that Bruce Lee was a dishwasher, he began to envision a game about a dishwasher who "mercilessly slaughtered piles of extremely well trained evil minions". Several attempts were made on the game, with the first idea as a third-person shooter. This was later scrapped for a side-scrolling shooter, then a 3D side-scroller. Silva eventually settled on the current 2D design after working with XNA Game Studio Express. Work on the game proceeded for about 4 months before the eventual submission to Dream-Build-Play, and in the end had numerous levels, weapons, bosses, and thousands of frames of animation.[5]

The Dishwasher was the winner of Microsoft's initial Dream-Build-Play game development contest in 2007. Silva received US$10,000 and an Xbox Live Arcade publishing contract.[6]


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