Games

Happiness Is a Warm Arcade

Japan is still well known for its video game and arcade culture, but neither are really what they used to be. I think its public knowledge that Japan’s importance in console gaming has long since diminished. Sure, its made a bit of a comeback as of late, but the majority of the classic Japanese game developers, Capcom, Konami, Sega, and so on, are all just fractions of what they used to be. And they’re the lucky ones, a hell of a lot more are defunct completely, or exist only as a holding house to license out old IP.

Sadly, arcade culture in Japan has diminished recently as well. It feels that not a year goes by where you hear of some classic or legendary game center in the greater Tokyo area shutting down. And the ones that remain have been forced to shift their focus away from classic arcade style games and more to redemption machines (crane games) or insanely complex rhythm games. And while I find both to be fun in their own ways, they’re very much not for everyone.

Sure, Akihabara has lots of arcade still, with some great ones that even focus on retro machines. And that’s awesome. If you’re a tourist then I totally recommend you check them out. But, the longer one spends in Akihabara, the sadder it feels. The pervy underbelly becomes more apparent. You start to notice the games less, and the disgusting old men lusting after women in schoolgirls more. Not to mention storefront after storefront catering to the most base-level otaku with anime porn featuring obviously underage girls. It’s an icky place.

Seeking an alternative to the perv-domain of Akiba, the boyfriend and I headed out to Odaiba last week, in search of a different variety of massive arcade. We escaped lustful sadness of Akihabara’s otaku culture and had some fun along the way, but also found ourselves face-to-face with a sadness of another kind. Continue reading

A Thanks to Doug TenNapel, the Bigot

Earlier this week I noticed a big uptick on visitors to my site. I immediately knew this could only mean one thing: Doug TenNapel must’ve done something stupid. Continue reading

Sushi Arcade Games, Pretty Flowers, and Zima

Over the years I read a lot about “strange” Japanese arcade games. There was the one where you poke people in the butt, that’s a classic. And of course there was the table flipping one that I think a lot of people know about. But I’ve never been lucky enough to find either of them in the wild since I moved to Tokyo three years ago. I think the weirdest arcade game I had ever come across was a Typing Of The Dead style game starring Lupin The 3rd, which to be honest, was pretty damn weird now that I think about it.

But it’s not as weird as this! Continue reading

Game Music Revue – Sound Mario Bros.

Man, living in Japan in the 80s must’ve been dope as shit. Continue reading

VHS Rip Success – Mario Paint Instructional Video

Just a few days back I was complaining that I couldn’t get my radical new VHS ripping machine to work properly, but that crisis is now thankfully over! I got it all up and running thanks to the magical wonder of DVD-RAM. Whatever problem I was having setting up my DVD rips to work in my computer was apparently not an issue with DVD-RAM. My computer read those files no problem at all, and I was able to convert them to a YouTube-friendly format with ease.

So enjoy the official Mario Paint Instructional Video. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: Famicom/Namcot Game Sound Museums

When I moved to Japan a few years back, my game music collecting habit really kicked itself into overdrive. And whenever I would go out looking for CD soundtracks of my favorite classic titles, I would occasionally stumble upon these strange tiny CDs of Nintendo game audio. I would pick one up whenever I saw them. They were cheap, and many of them were for some of my favorite games of all-time, so why not?

Next thing I knew, I had over 30 of them. Continue reading

The Glory of Hard-Off

I’ll get the obvious joke out of the way now.

In Japan, software is just called “soft” and hardware” is just called “hard.” The suffix “off” is often used to signify sales. There’s an entire chain of stores that make use of that grammatical choice. They have bookstores called “Book Off” that are quite common in and around Tokyo. Their stores that sell figures and models is called “Hobby Off.” They even have a used housewares store that is named “Off House,” I’m not sure for the reasoning behind the flipped words there.

But yes, they do have a hardware store, and it is called “Hard Off.” I understand that’s funny and I will not besmirch you for laughing. Shit, I’ve lived here three and a half years and I still giggle sometimes when I say to myself, “wow, that Hard-Off is huge.”

By the way, they have a liquor outlet store called “Liquor Off” and I think that shit is even funnier, but I digress. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: Rez Infinite (iam8bit Edition)

  • Credited Composer: Various Artists
  • Released February 15, 2017
  • Label: Nippon Columbia
  • VGMdb Information Page

The Rez soundtrack is the dopest shit.

It’s the soundtrack to the future, if your present is the mid-90s. It’s what you listen to when you’re in The Matrix. What you put on your headphones if your Angelina Jolie in Hackers. It’s the top 40 radio of the Ghost In The Shell universe. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: The Legend of Zelda 30th Anniversary Concert

  • Credited Composer: Koji Kondo with additional artists
  • Released February 15, 2017
  • Label: Nippon Columbia
  • VGMdb Information Page: Deluxe Edition, Standard Edition

 

Last year, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda, Nintendo held a short concert series featuring orchestral arrangements of Zelda tunes performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Now, less than six months later, the concerts have made their way to CD, and in a swank deluxe edition to boot. Continue reading

Game Music Revue: Toy Music – Dancing Super Mario Brothers

  • Credited Performer: Akihabara Electric Circus
  • Released September 15, 1988
  • Label: Eastworld/Toshiba
  • VGMdb Information Page

In 1988 a group by the name of Akiharbara Electric Circus released two arranged game music albums. One featured nothing but reworked version of music from Super Mario Bros. 3. It’s a weird record.

The other is this, Toy Music: Dancing Super Mario Bros.

It’s fucking batshit. Continue reading

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