One of the better things in Japan is that is has a lively arcade community. The layout of the arcades seems to be near identical, with "UFO Catcher" games on the first floor, more current 3-D fighters and gun games on the second floor, and retro games on the top floors (some arcades here are 5-6 stories, but the floorspace tends to be crammed).
Here are a few arcade games in Japan I have enjoyed:
Ghost Squad: Ghost Squad is a hell of a lot of fun for a gun game, though it's fairly recent. The three missions have an anti-terrorist bent (surprise!), but the great spin it has on the genre is little mini-games thrown in. In a jungle scenario, you sometimes get into fistfights and have to press the "weapon switch" key while aimed in the correct area in a tight time limit to counter-attack-- it's a hell of a lot like Dragon's Lair at times. The lack of crosshair adds to the challenge.
Dancing Eyes: This is an odd little puzzle game from Namco. In it, you control a tiny monkey who has to stragetically remove clothing from various women in cute poses. The chunky 1996 3-D era graphics are more of a tease than anything (at most, girls are in bra and panties), but the game has a nice Pac-Man feel, though controls are a bit tight at times.
That is quite something, didn't know the arcade layouts would be according to some 'unwritten' standard. Perhaps the arcades you visisted are from one franchise?
I can imagine you just going apesh*t in those arcades. Mat, any chance you are going to pick up some nice game-hardware?
I remember pics the last time you were out that way, at least I think it was you. Will you be posting more this time around??
How much does a game cost out there, per play. I guess it depends on the game type.
Forcefield, that was Fractulus aka Sebastian Brassard.
-= Mark Vergeer - Armchair Arcade editor =-
Yep, sorry about that, found the pics from Seb the last time on the old AA site last night. My memory isn't what it used to be!! Cheers
I'm actually kind of on a tight budget, so I'm not picking up any gaming software/hardware, though I am picking up some nice CDs (including VGM OSTs). The Tower Records here is astonishing-- 4 stories tall-- 1 story is dedicated to Classical Music/Opera and 1 story is dedicated to blues/jazz music. The Music/Opera floor had a World Music section that even featured Scandinavian music, which could be fun (the only European band I'm listening too right now is Nightwish, a Finnish heavy metal goth band).
Shinjuku actually has better arcades than Akihabara. Some Japanese arcades have a section for "ladies games" that have either "Drum Mania" or "Guitar Freaks" music based titles or Photo kiosks where girls can have little pictures printed to (presumably) make them look like they are with they're favorite J-Pop Stars (one of these sections had a sign which read "No MaleMen Allowed.").
=- Mat Tschirgi =- Armchair Arcade Editor
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Go to any Japanese arcade and you'll see pently of shoot 'em ups. Most of them are the hard ones from Cave, Psikyo, Raizing and more. Not for wimps.
That's why I always wanted to go to a Japanese arcade.