Game Centres

31 Jan
As a kid who is of the Space Invader generation – ie I remember when Space Invaders hit the world’s roller skating rinks and pinball parlours, I was told in my teens that Japan and in particular Tokyo is the mecca for all things gaming related. It is true. Game centres can be found all over Japan – and that is the phrase – taken from english – which they use to describe them. Though it is pronounced as Gem Centa. They can always seem to be found in giant shopping malls; particularly at the Jusco Department stores. Here though, don’t expect pinball machines and arcade type games as th whole set-up seems geared toward the under 12 market. Modern game centres with action games etc are found in the busy streets of bigger cities like Tokyo and Osaka and are often found near movie theatres. The Jusco Game Centres are a ton of fun and most games cost 100 or 200 yen. Most games spit you out a card at some point during the game (see image) – and kids can often be seen gathered in groups armed with their card binders and sleeves, proudly displaying their collections. I’ve never seen the value myself, and much prefer putting the money into one of the lucky dip/gift machines where at the very least you are gauranteed something for your purchase. Either that or one of the numerous photo booths which – although rather tacky – at least you show something for your purchase and get a unique memento of your visit. The photo booths are usually straight forward to operate – though if you do have a problem, call an attendant who’ll assist you. I guess having these smaller type game centres in a mall gives the kids a break after shopping with the folks. It does seem a tad bizarre, but at the same time not out of place. There is usually a food area adjacent the machines which serve anything from milkshakes, ramen noodles, fries, soda etc etc etc.
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