I recently finished an amazing book about Japan’s thriving arcade scene. Written by Brian Ashcraft (editor for Kotaku.com) Arcade Mania! is an insightful trip inside one of Japan’s biggest pastimes, arcade centers. Having been to japan several times, this book definitely hit the arcade experience squarely in the pachinko hole…REACH!!!
Each chapter is divided into all the different genres of games found in a game center. Everything from rhythm games, UFO catchers, SHMUPS, fighters, and even the retro classics. With mixes of history lessons and informal interviews it made me want to immediately hop a plane back to Japan.
It’s sad how arcades have become almost extinct in the US. I can remember driving to the closest mall after school just to head to the arcade. Some of my favorites were street fighter, time crisis, point blank, and marvel vs. capcom. But with the rise in console gaming, most Americans prefer the confines of their home when enjoying a game. While I too enjoy my consoles, the feeling of popping in a couple quarters (or 100yen) and smashing that 1P button just can’t be beat.
Not only does Brian Ashcraft’s book conjure these memories but it also opens your eyes to the land of the rising sun. If you’ve never had the pleasure to visit japan, a game center is like an american arcade that took ten stimpacks for breakfast, a power pellet for lunch, and finished the day off with a hyper combo hadouken. Arcade Mania! gives you a guided tour of every possible experience you could have in a Japanese game center.
If you love video games, buy this. If you are interested in japan, buy this.
Quick Bark Review: 5/5You can find more interesting writings from Brian Ashcraft over at Kotaku.com
Written by Bryan