By megalowho 3 Comments
Last night I got a pretty nasty urge to seek out a DJ Max Technika machine and ended up stumbling upon something that probably should have been on my radar a long time ago - the Chinatown Fair Video Arcade, appropriately located in the Chinatown district of New York City. Online research yielded descriptions such as "dark," "dirty," "crowded," and "reeking of body odor" - most agreed that it's the last real arcade left in the city and 100% legit, especially for fighters. Also it houses the only DJ Max Technika in the city, so I was already there. Since I'm currently on vacation I took the F train to Chinatown early this afternoon and after a tasty bowl of noodles, headed over to Mott St.
Even showing up relatively early on a Monday I wasn't disappointed, the place has a ton of sleazy charm in the sense that there's pretty much nothing here but concrete and arcade machines. It curves around until you hit a dead end, and most of the lighting comes from the monitors glowing on either side. The selection was impressive: X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Metal Slug, Tekken 6, multiple Street Fighter IV's, Neo Geo cabinets, Mrs. Pac Man.. a nice mix of old and new, hardly any filler. Lots of DDR setups going on, which I'd imagine gets entertaining for spectators. I started off with SFIV, which was pretty amazing. Took my Blanka in for a few sound thrashings from a Ken player, thanked him for it and, feeling sufficiently humbled, headed to my personal main attraction for the day.
I'm a big Pentavision fan to begin with and had a ton of fun with Technika, $15 worth of fun to be exact. It's their best game yet and I'll certainly be back soon to play it again. If DJ Max Portable=Beatmania this can be considered inspired by Ouendan, with Lumines wipes that signify when to tap/hold/swipe on a multitouch HD screen. Animations look crisp as hell and the glow from the two monitors feels intoxicating. The soundtrack by Pentavision's crew borrows most tracks from the Clazziquai and Black Square games, thankfully rooted deeper in the K-Pop/Soul genres than anything too abrasive or silly. I uploaded a short video of me playing through a song and a half here, shaky cam and all.
After I'd annoyed the guy next to me with booming bubblegum pop music long enough I took a spin at King of Fighters 2000, BlazBlue and Metal Slug 5 (i think). Nothing too obscure but there was plenty of stuff I'd never heard of that I'll have to explore next time. I resisted the urge to throw 20 more bucks in the token machine and said my farewell after an hour or so of quality public gaming. All in all it was a pretty great experience, I'll certainly be back again soon as it's about 10 minutes on the subway and 10 minutes of walking to get there from my apartment. Highly recommended to city dwellers and tourists alike. A few more pictures below.