Japanese Arcades

9/14/13 written in Japan:


Hahahah. Those girls exist. Yeahp, I’m only staying here for a week. ‘Tis the end.


games that I thought were fun:

Oh my. Just found this on the internet in related videos:

Otherwise, the arcades are all very similar. So similar that genres are physically separated by floors: CLAW MACHINES and photo booths, technical / RTS (very calculating, army strategy, cards that are read digitally games, simulators), gambling (panchinko, mahjong), music (DDR, the ones I linked), and normal (mario kart racing machines, armored core with dual joysticks, retro, fighters, etc.).

written now:
I went to a few arcades in Tokyo. It was a very odd experience. I guess not too different from entering an arcade in a mall, just larger.

The games were separated in a way that fit the desires of its intended audience.

The first floor often had photo-booths and claw machines. Feminine people went to photo-booths. Couples went to claw machines.

Females and males, perhaps equally, enjoy the rhythm games. It was also perhaps the most social area. People would play a DDR game, watch, and talk.

Males usually enjoy the technical, calculating, statistics-based games. Some of these games were really really in depth. It felt like a weird office. I imagine they make good stock market brokers.

The gambling games floor were full of smoke and old dudes and few dudetts wasting their life away, similar to Panchinko parlors. It was also unbearably loud and smelly. Actually, my Dad plays a lot of FreeCell, so perhaps it also has that meditative feeling of no-brain smartphone games. I never quite understood, but people do enjoy it, especially after a long day of work. Though, those people didn’t seem as if they had work either.

The first floor is where it’s at. In addition to the claw machines and photo-booths, there’s a bunch of random games thrown together. In one arcade, there were two games in the front: a Taiko (drum) rhythm game and a racing game with a pig controller. These two games attracted the most diverse audience, likely hence their placement at the front. Multiplayer Mario Kart is always good too. Anything more complex failed in attracting a diverse audience, including those two joystick robot fighting games.

From my perspective, nearly all of it was odd, and I wanted no part in it. This was quite a surprise as I grew up with games. But here, it really felt a social barrier existed. There wasn’t any couches, or a place for food. It was just games. The designers of Japanese arcades entirely missed the social aspect of arcades.

For the most part, the people who played were really did fit the stereotypes the games were directed toward. The arcade player, the old panchinko dude, young girls at photo-booths, and random passer-byers for the games in the front and claw machines.

There was also a feeling that many people came after work for some time of relief from life. It was apparent at many moments, as they’re still wearing their business clothes. Some even come for lunch break, which I thought is kind of awesome.

Otherwise, as a person who likes games, a disappointment. I believe I only stayed in Tokyo for a week, but from what I experienced, I am glad to not have gone to Japan directly after college, as I had actually thought about. Japan might have games, but they are insular.

I guess the nice Nintendo games are intended for houses, and “arcade games” are intended for arcades.

Arcades in America have nearly died out, especially so in cities. People who like games are saddened by this because games are part of culture, and a space with games was likely a part of their lives. I agree, but these Japanese arcades, which are quite similar to the arcades one finds inside of a mall in an American suburb, failed to progress with time. They are relics. America doesn’t really need these, it needs a new arcade.