I have had more time to play games in Japanese arcades and have run across a few more interesting titles.
Tetris Plus 2: This is a fun Japanese only spin-off of Tetris. In the Puzzle Mode, you get to control either a Professor or her Apprentice through Tetris levels with a bit of a twist: you have to make the Tetris board completely empty in the time limit. Your cartoon avatar runs arounds the blocks as you make lines and a spiked wall tries to crush you as the time limit goes down-- the higher your blocks are, the more your avatar wants to climb to the top to get killed! It is a fun take on Tetris.
Just picked up the latest issue of Famitsu Weekly and I am pleased to see they are still doing some retro coverage in their 20th Anniversary sections. The supplementary booklet this time around focuses on games from 1998-2005 with less detail than in the previous issue, but it's still interesting for a glance at what games were popular in Japan.
The Games History section focuses on a variety of sports genres in video games, giving several examples of each. It makes me want to buy a better Japanese dictionary when I get home so I can try some translating, although my Japanese grammar skills aren't great! Among the more curious types of sports games mentioned are Fishing Games and Winter Sports Games.
Wish I could scan in the most recent copy of famed Japanese magazine Famitsu Weekly, because it is a 20th Anniversary Issue which contains several retro-gaming articles, including a large supplement with mini-reviews on the best games up until the end of the PSX era.
Although my knowledge of Japanese is fairly limited, it's still very interesting to flip through the photos and see what games Japan's most popular gaming magazine considered significant (hint: every Dragon Quest game ever made is on the list).
I am browsing the Internet right now from an Internet Cafe in Japan and I have to say that the way they do Net Cafes over here is excellent.
I have sampled about 5 different Net Cafes, but the one I am in now is far and away the best: Manboo.
Despite its unfortunate name, for 200 Yen an hour you get a private cubicle, a nice leather chair, headphones, a high speed internet connection, and a big screen TV. You can check out mangas and DVDs to browse in your cubicle just like in a library.