Akihabara Report – Day .5

IMG_20180828_180438

Arriving around 5pm to my hotel, I wanted to settle in and deairplane myself for a bit before getting down to business. Wanting nothing more than to hit Pepper Lunch before heading to any arcades that was the first plan. There’s no image or anything special because it was gone just about as quickly as it came. With that in order, it was time to check out some stores before they closed at 8pm, nothing major just some scouting.

Night one was just a brief reintroduction to the arcade culture as its been a year since the last visit. And a year makes all the difference. new games come and old games go with new games such as Fate GO popping up based on the mobile game, while others like Border Break have dwindled considerably.

IMG_20180828_215619

Fate/GO…More to come later.

While the old standbys like Kancolle and Love Live still have their space, they are old news. Kancolle mostly due to Azur Lane supplanting it as the Ship Girl of choice mobile game, and Love Live’s in a downturn between series.

My personal favorite Wonderland Wars is still going strong, while not as promenant as it used to be at my primary arcade, its still notably popular and the other Sega Arcade nearby having many more machines than it used too, my guess is they moved several over.

IMG_20180828_200312

New Character event in progress!

The hot rhythm game this year is Ongeki, it looks like it has a very interesting style setup where its almost like a cross between Theathrythm with Museca. As you have a party of characters who fight towards an end goal but its much more intense.

IMG_20180828_215916

It comes with a Joystick and 8 buttons to deal with, the gameplay looked neat an I look forward to trying it out.

That about covers it for the few hours that I had for the first night. Many more hours to come!

IMG_20180828_221108

Akiba @ Closing

 

 

Tokyo Leisureland – Don Quihote

IMG_20160804_170919

Kind of creepy.

Tokyo Leisureland is nestled on the 6th and 7th floor of the massive Don Quihote building in Akihabara. This game center can be a bit off the beaten path for a lot of tourists who don’t make the venture up Don Quihote, but Don Quihote itself is an attraction worth seeing. It’s also home to some of the cheapest drinks around, which can be useful given the potential for restaurants here to give you a thimble of coke or what ever else your drink is.

IMG_20160804_170315

Carp Energy… by the Cincinnati Reds?

After exploring the labyrinth of floors on the way up eventually you will come across the Tokyo Leisureland, there is another location in a stand alone building nestled off on the fringe of Akihabara but that will be for another time.

IMG_20160804_170626

Leisureland is rather spacious for a Japanese arcade with a good assortment of games to spread around, though something about the lighting makes the game center itself feel kind of stale, it can be a good change of pace if the more crowded locations in Akihabara proper. The UFO Catchers offer a good assortment of prizes, some of which you wont find elsewhere and the vending assortment is solid as well, though out of curiosity I tried the fountain soda machine and it gave me a disappointing amount of liquid for the cost.

IMG_20160804_171037

This game center gets particularly crowded at night, more so than some other locations due to that its open till 1 am as opposed to 11:30, so it might not be the best place to go if your looking for a more peaceful experience, but if your staying in Akihabara and still want to do something after everything else has closed, this is a good bet.

IMG_20160804_171157

Gundam Ex seems to be the biggest game here, with the most representation by far, I hope to see a console announcement for Maxi On at TGS next month, but until then the Game Center version will have to do. All of the major games are represented here as you would expect, but there aren’t any real representation of less popular titles or older ones, so one would have to journey to HEY! in Akihabara for that.

IMG_20160804_171001

Leisuireland is a solid place to play, though admittedly it does lack a bit of the atmosphere that the rest of Akihabara has. But combined with the trip up Don Quihote its worth a visit once, and possibly more times in the late night hours. Be sure to check out the grocery area on the second floor as well for some good and fun finds.

Shinjuku Sportsland

IMG_20160726_203311

Located about 5 minutes from the east exit at Shinjuku station, it can be easy to over look this game center as its main entrance is off on an alley way away from most of the hustle and bustle that surrounds the station as well as the Kabukicho area. But that hasn’t stopped Shinjuku Sportsland from becoming my favorite arcade in the Shinjuku area. Even if not many sports are played within. Due to being slightly south of Kabukicho, there’s no need to worry about the infamous touts that populate the area while still having plenty of eating and drinking options nearby.

Shinjuku Sportsland is 3 large stories of games, games and more games, all the popular games are well represented here from Gundam to Kantai Collection. And even though 3 stories might pale in comparison compared to some of the other large arcades in Shinjuku and else-ware, the size of each floor more than makes up for it.

The first floor, as with most arcades is dedicated to UFO Catchers, the standard array of prizes can be found here, and it has a very Akihabara like feeling compared to most game centers that are not in Akihabara itself. I think it is most likely the constant stream of Love Live! music that helps give it this atmosphere. One word of warning though, I have heard that the UFO catchers at this arcade are a good deal more difficult to win than elsewhere, I can’t confirm this however since they are not exactly my forte.

IMG_20160726_203718

Moving up to floor two, there’s a large amount of popular games including; Kantai Collection, Wangan 5 DX, Initial D 8 as well as card battling genre of games such as Code of Joker, and Sengoku Taisen. Rhythm games are solidly represented as well, they were no where near as crowded as their Akihabara counterparts, so it’s usually no problem to secure a machine. There also exists a small section devoted to Japanese Medal Games and a rather popular Star Horse corner as well.

The third floor however is where most of the action takes place in this game center as it features an extremely competitive Gundam EX Vs community. More often than not cheers would erupt from the player base here as well as a decent amount of despair from agonizing defeats. When you have roughly 40 linked cabinets all playing vs each other for control of the larger map, its easy to see why it would get so heated.

IMG_20160726_203926

Also featured on this floor is a solid fighting game area for fans of titles such as BlazBlue and Guilty Gear, and a rather odd little section of retro Gundam arcade titles that are worth a look for those that are interested.

IMG_20160726_204102

The other half of the floor is devoted to several games, Dissidia Final Fantasy takes up a large portion of space, as does Wonderland Wars and Gundam UC Build Fighters. A rather nice feature of this arcade is that the various games are spaced out enough as to avoid cluttering and form little nooks where one game reigns supreme. Most games also feature various chargers already build into for your mobile device. Though if you have a USB-C type device you will need your own cable.

IMG_20160726_213215

A nice thing to note is that the various vending machines offer a really nice array of beverages and you can usually find something fun to drink, though I would not recommend the Coffee Milk flavored soda.

Shinjuku Sportsland has become one of my more visited locations if I’m not feeling a trip across the city to Akihabara, and for those staying in Shinjuku looking for a solid spot to play should give this location a visit especially if they aren’t all that fascinated by Kabukicho.

 

 

As always, have a location your curious about if theres any good places to play? Or a game you want a guide on how to? Just leave a comment or contact me on twitter and I’ll see if I can make it happen!

Club Sega Akihabara

IMG_20160703_205343

To start, I think it would be best to cover what is one of the most popular arcades in the mecca of Video Game and Otaku culture, Akihabara.

Club Sega is one of four arcades owned by Sega in Akihabara alone, the others being Sega Gigo and another just labeled Sega about a 30 second walk south, and one near the station entrance.

For those who aren’t all too familiar with Japan’s Game Centers, they can be overwhelming, often packed full on weekends, and sometimes even the smell of cigarettes can be overwhelming. But, finding the right game to play at the right places can make or break your experience in a Game Center. Every location draws out a different type of player and a different fan base.

Club Sega in Akihabara is 6 floors of arcade heaven, each with their own variety of the latest in Japanese gaming. The first three floors of which are mostly devoted to the Japanese Crane game. Which are decidedly more skill based than their American counterpart, as with the right touch and a little luck as well its possible to win some very neat prizes. Floor 1 and 2 is dominated by prizes for Love Live! School Idol Project and Kantai Collection, both properties which are tremendously popular in Akihabara, bring droves of fans to try to win some prizes. Floor 3 caters to Shounen properties along the lines of Dragon Ball and One Piece, fans of those series can still find a prize or two waiting for them if they want to test their skill.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Things begin to open up a touch more while climbing up the floors here, or depending on how you look at it, this is where 100 Yen coins come to die. Floor 4 is home to what is easily the most popular game at this location, Kantai Collection. Kantai Collection is an arcade port of a Japanese Browser game that became largely popular just a few years ago, in where you collect and assemble a fleet of “Ship-Girls” and send them out on various missions or exploration. There’s a strong collectable aspect to this game, in that when you either construct or discover a new ship on a mission, the arcade machine gives you a physical card which you then can use in your fleet on future missions. Though a full game report will hopefully come at a later date, the lines have been incredibly long.

Shimakaze

Typical Ship-Girl

Floor 4 of Club Sega is home to other games as well, the second most popular being Wonderland Wars. Perhaps the first arcade based MOBA to catch on, Wonderland Wars in a PVP based game in the same vein as DotA 2 or League of Legends. In Wonderland Wars teams of 4 face off against each other to try to push each others towers down, while also trying to defeat each-other to ultimately come out on top victorious. The game mechanics we will cover at a later date, but one thing to note is the innovative control system which really makes the game shine.

IMG_20160703_210024 2.0.jpgPlayers control all the action using a joystick to move their chosen character and perform various evasive moves, and the stylus which is used for attacking and interacting with the skills they have chosen for their own character, expect a detailed write up in the very near future about how this all works, but it’s an easy task to sink a couple hours into this game as the accessibility and match length is comparable to Overwatch leaving for shorter fast paced matches that really click together in the arcade format.

The fourth floor is home to other games as well, the latest Gundam U.C Build Fighters calls its home here, as does Dissidia Final Fantasy which is an arcade version of the fighting game series for the PSP some time ago. Theres several standard fighting games such as Tekken 7 and Nesica X Live, but Club Sega in Akihabara does definitely not make a home of fighting games. Rounding out the 4th floor is World Club Championship Football, a simulation type game where you train a Football Club against other players and try to win a championship, and the latest Sengoku Taisen game.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Floor 5 caters to fans of a more hands on variety as two games in particular take up the majority of the space. Gunslinger Stratos 3 and Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 5 DX are the go to games here. Gunslinger Stratos being a fairly complex arena fighting game where you control your character using a set of two light guns with controls and the ability to link them together to form one larger gun via magnets. While Wangan consists of high speed Japanese Street Racing on representations of actual highways though out the Tokyo and Osaka region. The 8 Machines here are often a hot spot for the region and this floor may very well be the racing game capital of Tokyo. Also in the racing category is Initial D Arcade Stage 8, the 8th entry in the long running Initial D franchise, this game lets you live out life as a Japanese Drift Racer and race along the actual courses from various spots in Japan and from the Anime/Manga series.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The top floor, is home to all of the rhythm games you could ever hope to want to play, represented are Project Diva, Museca, Crossbeats Rev. Sunshine, MaiMai Pink Plus, Sound Voltex 3, Various Beat Mania versions, and Chunithm Plus which does away with buttons and instead is played on a touch sensitive bar. Chunithm’s popularity is incredibly high right now, and the machines are often full up with a queue waiting for a chance to play.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Club Sega Akihabara is what some call a haven of games, nearly every major game is represented here, with some exceptions, Gundam Ex Vs Maxi Boost On is not represented here and is still one of the most played and fiercely competitive games in all of Japan. Sega though has really spread the genres out really well though with the amount of locations that they hold in Akiba, as Gundam can be found heavily in their other locations, as well as Fighting Games in general, if you looking to get into that scene and challenge some of the best Japan has to offer this is not the arcade for you. But what sets Club Sega above some of its competitors is this location has no smoking at the machines themselves, only in designated areas, so its possible to game and not inhale a couple packs of cigarettes second hand.

Although, the centers vending options leave much to be desired, as most of the drinks are standard fare for Japan and the lone vending not serving drinks is an ice cream vending machine.

IMG_20160703_211321