Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Japanese Arcades

Honestly, I've never been a big fan of arcades. I love videogames, but I really just didn't understand why people would pay to play a game that they already own at home. Especially on a controller that 50 other sweaty hands had already touched.

Sak happened to be big on the DDR/Beatmania scene when I met him. (True story - since he is so light, he had to wear ankle weights in order to get the sensors to register his quick feet!) He was really good, and even belonged to the Bemani club at school.

I don't really have any other way to say this - but I totally whipped it right out of him. I'm a little ashamed, but his music game skill has really diminished as a result. But, spending time with me was more important than "wasting money" at an arcade, right? Right?

Anyway, Japan taught me a little more about arcade culture, and I didn't mind spending time there at all. But I still put my foot down on American arcades. Unless you have wicked-awesome games and stuff for the non-shoot-em-up crowd, I'm not interested.

Thus, I give you the standard fare in a Japanese arcade:

Games you can't just play at home:
This game operated a giant train model! Somehow I only took a picture of Sak and not the train though.

Sword in the  stone arcade.


The whole idea of battling sharks and giraffes entertains me.

Pogo sticks!
Similar to the popular festival game, you had to try and catch goldfish with a paper scooper!
I'm not sure about this one, but it involved shave ice and bikini girls.

Crane games (UFO catchers) with super crazy (and edible!) prizes:
Koala cookies.

Gigantoid wafer cookies.

One Piece was very, very popular there.

Mario Kart.


Pudding snacks. I totally wanted to try some.


Fancy cookies.

Yeeeep. Slim Jims.

Also a standard is the Purikura (sticker making machines that make you "prettier" by enlarging your eyes and photoshopping your uneven facial tones):


We went into a lot of arcades, and I begged and pleaded with Sak to win me stuff from the UFO catchers every-single-time. Though after watching some lady spend about 5,000 yen (~50 dollars) to win a bath mat shaped like a cat, Sak said no way. Later I watched the following video from here on "how to do it properly" and became convinced that I could handle it.

Yeah, no. After wasting 500 yen on six attempts at a plush guinea pig, I gave up. Oh, the end of my UFO catcher dreams! Sak said that we can put a UFO catcher machine on our "someday we will have" wish list, behind the laser cutter and 3D printer. Then I will practice and become a professional!

Anyway, I conclude that Japanese arcades are very cool, and while we are still very-very-very far behind, we are getting a little better. Maybe someday I'll think American arcades are cool too.

Are there cool arcades in America? Am I just jaded by having seen one-too-many pizza-parlour type arrangements?

3 comments:

  1. Wow ankle weights?!

    I love arcades! Minus the fact it's like...gambling for kids and they take all your money!! :-P I've only been to ones in HK and... of course American pizza parloury ones... which are ok. I like shooty games, so it doesn't bother me. :-P

    Does that sword in the stone/arcade ... ever come out? Seems like a cheap trick to get your money! Or for stupid kids... :oP

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  2. I am so risk averse that I hate gambling and I see arcades like a shiny and fun gambling house for kids. I do, however, LOVE chuck'e'cheese but because I use coupons and I see it as "I spent $20 to have fun the next two hours with my husband - and I got pizza!"... So sadly, I think I'd be a big lame-o here.

    It does look fun though! And I'd probably cheer you on to spend your money!

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