(New Streets Of Rage Style Scrolling Beat-em-Up Tutorial on the sidebar!!)

As I had a bit of spare time this past week, I thought it might be fun to take a few pics of the country I live in from a heavy gamers viewpoint. I'm always seeing cool new machines that I'm sure never make it outside of Japan, and so you know, I thought I'd introduce what some guys outside of Japan would be curious about. What games are big in the video-arcades now, what's selling like hotcakes on the PS3, pics of gamer magazines, etc. Just generally illuminate how the game scene differs from back home. I'm not sure if this'll become a series or not (likely not), but I'll fill at least a couple of posts with it.

Since I'm originally from the UK, most of my comments will relate to my experience growing up in UK video-arcades. That's not to say they won't apply to you guys in the States, and as I did live in San Francisco/San Jose for half-a-year so I feel the game scene in both the UK and the States are kind of level-pegging, but, just so you know.....

So without further ado;

Game-Centers (Video-arcades)

More often that not they're run by the big names that you know well. Sega, Taito...Ah shoot, forgot to get Namco WonderLand for you. Will do that soon.

Round 1 is sweet. Check out the things you can do there;
Don't know if you can see all that (blogger.com only allows for set pic sizes).
It says:

B1- Games
3-4F- Leisure Stadium
5-6-7F- Bowling
8F- Open Air Sports
3F- Active Sports and Games - Billiards & Darts - Shower Room
4F- Internet-Karaoke-Table Tennis-Relaxation

So it's like a gaming multiplex. The first few floors have a lot of funfair style machines, video-games, football simulators, kickboxing bag games. All sorts. Then you've got a more chilled out space on the 4th floor where you can enjoy massage chairs, read manga, sing Karaoke or/and piss about on the net. They've also got electronic Darts machines which I simply cannot get enough of and will have to devote an entire post to at a later date. On the 8th floor you can play basketball and baseball against the ball machines, and when you've done all that, you can go soak your sweaty buttcheeks in the shower.
Awesome or what?!And people ask me why I moved to Japan....

Just like the UFO Catcher in that game Yakuza right? These claw machines are extremely popular with young chicks and couples. You can win 6ft Mickey Mouse teddybears. Personally they bore the poo out of me, but you know, they attract the babes so no complaints here.

The Japanese Fruit-Machine (pachislot). This one (Godzilla) is a little popular right now along with the Hokuto No Ken (Fist of the North Star). Gambling in Japan is pretty unexciting if you ask me.
You buy 5 bucks worth of tokens but no matter how much you win, you can't ever change it back into real money. Kind of defeats the purpose of gambling, doesn't it? And personally I much prefer UK fruit-machines. In Japan, instead of the reels spinning in random icons, you can actually time the drops to get exactly what you want. It's not as easy as it sounds, but yeah, you find a few peeps do nothing but win on these things. But again, YOU DON'T GET ANY REAL MONEY, so what's the point? Booooriiiiing. But at least they don't cheat.

And the machines are sexy. That pic of Godzilla you see there is actually an LCD screen that generates 3d cg imagery, so say you win the jackpot or something you see animations of Godzilla smashing down buildings or incinerating Tokyo
One interesting fact is that in Japan you can buy all these games on the PS. Yeah, not literally the machine, but the emulator that runs exactly like the machine PCB. So, if you're the sad bastard who's actually into them, you can play them night and day.

Ahh. Now these games are a mildly fun way to waste your money. As far as I know these things don't exist outside of Japan, either. They're like a combination of your standard coin-toss/woodrail game mixed with an rpg or first-person shooter. They're highly inventive and actually I once thought about making a Flash-game based on them. I still might. This one here is called DragonQuest (if memory serves). It follows the same principles as most of them- along the bottom of the video-screen you get some moving icons that you have to hit with the coin from a well-aimed rail, when you hit them they'll vanish and either reveal nothing or some kind of bonus. Usually the bonus is like 'Move 2 Squares forward' or 'Win 50 coins', where 50 coins will drop onto the shuffling coin-tray and hopefully push the rest off it. As you progress through the game you'll get the chance to battle bosses (hit them with the coins in their weak spots) and do other missions like collecting items for merchants or rescuing a dragon. It's all great fun but terrifically expensive. You could easily go through 10 pounds (pounds, not dollars) in as many minutes, but at the same time you have those days when the win streaks just don't stop.

Random Popular Games

Forgotten what the hell this one was. Gundam or something. Never been into those robot games much but it seems to get a lot of attention.

Spike-OUT. Wow, still surviving after being released 7 YEARS ago. One of the most popular fighting game multiplayers in Japan in fact. There's not many games that can boast with one credit you can either last 5 minutes or throughout the entire game. Best combo system ever conceived if you ask me. The difficulty level is so spot-on as well, the bosses are never too easy, but if you and your mates time the attacks well you can finish them in seconds. Great game.

Good to know the King is still alive and well.

Yep. Fun 4 player Mario Cart arcade.

Virtual Fighter TV. You can play against anyone around the country.

Half-Life 2 Arcade. I had a go on this, and I don't think it'll stand the test of time here in Japan, the reasons being;
a) Japanese aren't much into 1st person shooters. They claim that the games makes them dizzy.
Usually I'd scoff at that, but this game really does.
b) Too many controls. Western people don't mind so much, but Japanese gamers hate having to figure out zillion button games.
Still, it was a good game I personally thought.

OK. So that's it for now. Next time I'll take pics of game stores and show you what's no.1 on the PS3 and things. Plus whatever else I think might peak people's curiousity.


Comments (2)

On 5:44 AM , Hamorhage said...

thats why like many european gamers I only played japanese games. They are usually much more fun, easy to get into, totally awesome designs, crazy (I mean CRAZY) storylines. Yay! Nice pictures! Where I live I don't even know if we have any arcades at all!

On 9:19 AM , Anonymous said...

hey can you take a pictures of the half life controls and stuff? Im curious about them