|TAITO GAME STATION in East Shinjuku|
Arcades in Japan are in no way as crazy as they were during the 80s & 90s, but the game centers today are still way more popular than they are in the US. The arcades cater to a lot of different types of crowds - not just the old retro-gamer fanatics and creepy otaku, but also to teenage girls, couples on dates, and salary-man relaxing after a long day at the office. Besides the classic and new games (from fighting titles to strategy card collecting games; from trivia quizzes to virtual horse racing), places such as Taito Game Station and Club Sega have entire floors dedicated to purikura picture booths and UFO catchers, which feature prizes like Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma, Gloomy Bear, and collectables for all the moe-fans of the world.
When Mark and I went to Japan, we spent a good amount of time in arcades in the area. Besides the two mentioned above, some other game centers we visited Namco Nakano, Adores Kabukicho, and a Game Goose in Koenji. Here are some pictures I took from all the locations:
|This guy was playing the new Persona 3 fighting game in Shibuya and we creepy watched for a second.|
|The AKB48-ified Taiko Drum Master that I loved in the Nishi Shinjuku Club Sega.|
|I watched Mark for a second then I was distracted by a cute girl destroying at Tetris around the corner.|
The arcades we visited were pretty fun -- bright, busy, crowded, and really, really loud. Imagine hundreds of video game cabinets at full blast, accompanied by arcade attendants shouting, sometimes with megaphones. The only thing that wasn't amazing was the cigarette smoke, especially in the video game floors. No ventilation, tight spaces, and tons of sweaty guys smoking. Hm..
|He was walking around that podium. Reminded me of Blade Runner a little bit.|
UFO catchers are a little different than ones you see in the US. The prizes are a lot cooler, for one thing, but they take a lot more strategy and players are more wiling to shovel in the 100Y coins to get what they want. I won one toy - and Mark and I tried all vacation, it felt like - and it took about 1000Y to finally work it out. I ended up using the claw to push the stuffed Gloomy Bear through the bottom of the game, instead of picking it up and pulling it out.
|A lot of the catchers had food inside, instead of toys.|
|I love that yellow cat.|
|I saw a lot of San-X Sentimental Circus stuff.|
|Markie tried very hard to win me prizes, but it is hard!|
|My Gloomy that I won all by myself on the last day there in Kabukicho Taito Game Station. The game attendant cheered when I showed her, it was awesome.|
Any good Japan dork knows all there is to know about Purikura. These are like photo booths here, but 100 times more fun. You have an entire booth to stand up in and they can fit around five girls. You choose your backgrounds, take the pictures in the bright-white booth, and then go around the cabinet to the other side to deco your pictures up. It's pretty fun, and usually only about 500Y or so. You can also get the photos emailed to you or sent to your phone, which is cool, too!
|I LOVE PURIKURA - editing my photos at the Club Sega in Shibuya.|
|My finished product.|