Spud in Tokyo

Alpha Spud has been taking it easy these past few days, because he has been chilling in TokyoJapan.

As an avid gamer, Spud check out how Japanese people game, and was blown away by:

24-hour manga, anime and game-ready computer “cafe”s for a few buck an hour, complete with snacks, drinks and a hot shower room! Cheap all nighter fees too!

Video arcades filled with beautiful, hardcore gamer school girls playing Beat Mania, Guitar Hero, Tekken and Street Fighter 4!  The arcade I went to was about 80% girls and the guys were mostly smoking or trying to win plush Mickey Mouse dolls from Crane Games (I guess to give to the girls…).

Girls dressed up as maids handing out coupons for coffee — they wouldn’t give their number, drats.

Gundam “cockpits”, reminiscent of Battle Tech cockpits played by miniature clans of Japanese guys living out their fantasy on prepaid account cards.  I asked a guy and he said they were battling a team 4 hours away in Osaka.

Being a stand-out foreigner, they invited me to have a soft-drink (they were jr. high school students I think), and chatted in their broken English.  I asked them if they play computer mmos, etc. to which they replied no, but they then wipped out their PSPs and mobile phones to reveal more evidence of gaming addiction.  I pulled out my beat up Game Boy Advance, to which they said their older brothers and dads had those too — I never felt so damned old.

Now waiting for my plane back to the states, I am leaving what I thought was a gamer’s paradise.  Unfortunately, with the exception of Lineage, Final fantasy XI and a few others, Japan wasn’t what I’d call an active computer-based mmorpg scene.  It seemed as though the community or group togetherness aspect of games, was much more localized to neighborhoods, classmates, after school clubs, boy scout troops, etc.  unlike other countries where everyone online is a potential grinding mate or dungeon ally. In Japan, I felt that everyone has their world within an already shrunken Japanese world.

By the way, I’ve never been to a more sanitary, cleaner or tasty looking McDonalds than the ones I ate at in Tokyo.  I guess it’s true what they say that Japanese culturally are very clean people, perfectly capable of emulating many things from America and Europe.   However, I was let down by their pizza and lack of volume versus price — 40 bucks for a medium sized deliver pizza with asparagus, mayonnaise and Vienna sausages! Never again!

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~ by Red 5 Standing By on July 6, 2010.

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