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Arcade Games Played in Tokyo Summer 2009

Game centers in Tokyo are a pretty damn flashy spectacle and as long as you don't have epilepsy, that's in a good way. This is thusly a list of arcade games I gave some love to over the course of my trip in summer 2009.

List items

  • The arcade versions plays pretty much just like the home versions. You have to hit the drums themselves a little harder and the music can be seriously difficult to hear if played in a busy area, but other than that, it's still totally Taiko no Tatsujin, and that's a fine thing.

  • Guilty Gear is still awesome even in arcade form. Although if you play in a generic cabinet like I did that's meant to play a wide swath of games, it can take a while to figure out which buttons correspond to what attack type. A bit of a learning curve, especially since I'm used to playing it on an Xbox control pad pretty well. Ah well.

  • There was a non-networked cabinet lying around in Akihabara, so I took the opportunity to take the game for a spin for the first time. Looks nice and plays pretty well, although the sprites do have some slight aliasing if you look close enough, but overall the game is fine. I'll probably still buy the home version when it drops in price.

  • In concept, the arcade game sounds interesting. Take a cute Japanese girl under your wing and train her to be the next hot idol/pop star. I don't think anyone will particularly argue against the uniqueness of that. In execution, though, the game is pretty dull. Excessively lengthy dialog, barebones training minigames, and a high initial cost of entry make it a game you can probably easily avoid. It's a novelty, but doesn't do much to really go beyond that.

  • It's essentially Mario Kart in an arcade format. The steering might be a bit too sensitive for its own good, considering this is Mario were talking about, but overall, its faith to the Mario Kart mechanics is fine. You still pick up items, hurl them at people, and hope you still come out on top in the end.

  • It's more or less Rhythm Tengoku, but for arcades. Even the cabinet is laid out like a GBA, d-pad and all. The minigames are the same in implementation. You'll still clap while wearing yukatas, eliminate germs seen through microscopes, and the like. The game works better in a portable format given that's what it was tailored for in the first place, but since nothing is especially blasphemously done in the arcade port, it's still a fine experience all around.

  • It's still Ikaruga, even if I lost all my lives in the first level. It's been a little while since I've played.

  • So if you go up to the third floor of Akihabara's Taito Hey (Hirose Entertainment Yard), you'll find four arcade machines right in front of the escalators. Two of them are for King of Fighters 98 and the other two are a version of Street Fighter II of some sort; I'm not nearly well versed enough in the series to figure out which. What makes those special is that they only cost ten yen per play, which is a really cheap proposition, even if you're prone to lose in a fighting game at an arcade like I am. There's always a pretty sizable group hovering around the machines, though; players, out of custom, automatically give up their seat and go to the back of the line when they lose. Definitely a nicely cheap experience.