Games, Games, Games – Win Arcade Mania!Dec 10th, 2008 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Reading Room
Arcade Mania! The Turbo Charged World of Japan’s Game Centers is a great book that is filled with facts, history and graphics from some of the most well known video games in the world and some that can only be found in Japan. Written by Brian Ashcraft with Jean Snow, the book is as fun to read as it is to visit a game center in Japan.
Game centers, or arcades, are ubiquitous in Japan – they can be found in almost every neighborhood and cater to all ages from young women and Japanese schoolgirls who can’t get enough of the sticker picture machines to the boys who aim to be the best shot in a variety of shooting games. Younger kids can be found trying their hand at traditional Taiko drumming to modern melodies and salarymen, and even women, can be found placing their bets at Mahjong or one of many other popular betting games despite the fact that gambling is technically illegal in Japan. Arcade Mania! covers the whole scene by providing insights from game designers, top Japanese gamers and even a few foreign experts who are hooked on the game centers in Japan.
“Arcade Mania! offers a glimpse into a world not a lot of people know still exists. Arcades have, for the most part, disappeared in North America, and yet in Japan you find them everywhere. Acrade Mania! offers readers a virtual tour of a modern Japanese arcade and shows you how and why that happened….”
Jean Snow on Arcade Mania!
If you are of a certain age, you may remember playing games like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong in your local arcade, thousands of mile away from their origin in the minds of Japanese designers like Tomohiro Nishikado who created Space Invaders in 1978, the first game that was not played against a clock but offered players three lives. The game became so popular that game centers in Japan were originally called “invader house” in Japanese and caused a national 100 Yen coin shortage!
“I like going to game centers, and I usually go to Taito Hey! in Akihabara when I’m in that neighborhood, or to Sega Gigo in Ikebukuro near my home. I try to keep my visits down to once a week, and the one game I always make a point of playing these days is a side-scrolling shooter called Deathsmiles. My favorite retro game, the game I remember enjoying the most in arcades when I was young was Spy Hunter, but I haven’t played it in a very long time…”
The game center experience in Japan has changed a lot with the advancement of technology. From games that were limited to black backgrounds to virtual people that resemble characters from Japanese manga (comic books), today you can even customize your sticker pictures by scribbling on an LCD screen and creating what is know as rakugaki. It’s hard to image what will come next but Japan’s game designers are sure to come up with innovative games that will amaze and entertain us all far into in the future.
Arcade Mania! is a great book for those that love the video game scene and want to learn more about its history, appeal in Japan and why game centers remain on the scene here long after they have disappeared elsewhere in the world.
A big thank you goes out to Jean Snow who contributed to the book, provided quotes for this article, and worked with the publisher, Kodansha International Limited, to provide The Nihon Sun with a copy for one lucky reader to win!
Do you want to add this great book to your library? Purchase Arcade Mania: The Turbo-charged World of Japan’s Game Centers today or answer some arcade trivia from the book to win a copy of Arcade Mania! by clicking here.