MegaMan (megaman) wrote,

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Japan and American Arcades Draft 1

I have to turn this into Japanese, so Alot is not very exciting, and the english isn't always the best.
but theres are some ideas, please enjoy with vigour.

*types of people at arcades
*different types of games (fighting, ddr, shooting, typing, gambling, baseball...)
standing vs sitting
*arrangement of multiplayer games (in japan you sit and each person gets their own screen and cant see the other person.)
*non video game games (shooting gallery, racing games, pinball games, stupid psycich read things. thoes stupid crade things)
*size of the buildings
*atmosphere (do they decorate it, is it smoking allowed?
*condition of consoules (does each game have its own marquee? are there the right number of buttons, or is there just some random used MKII consoul with puzzle bobble in it?)
*social aspect (do people talk to each other ? are they friends or strangers? do people come in groups or by themselves? do they bring their girlfriends? are they happy looking? are they drunk and talking about korean pride?)
*gender/age (what gender/ age plays what games?)
*atarashi (are there mostly new games at the arcade? or do we have a choice of x-men vs street fighter and the simpsons game)

that:s the general outline for the reasearch. so if anyone has some time and a digital camera, could you take pictures of an american arcade (such as the boardwalk) capturing the essence of such things, and put them online some where? (I have a really strict firewall, so you wouldnt be able to IM them to me.) thank you. that is all.

Fire fighting game…
Lupin the shooting / lupin the typing

The origin of arcades.

In japan pachinko has been around for many years in japan since the 1920s. Places to play pachinko were developed and have been growing in number for many years. As arcades started to be popular in America, they were also popular in japan, and they found a natural home amoung their pachinko bretheren.

In the US, there was no established home of Arcade games, and such Arcade game began their step-child life in bars, gas stations, pizza places, and movie theatre lobys. Fortunantly as the American gaming community grows older (and richer) the appearance of dedicated Arcades is increasing. Huzzah!

Observed differences:
*In japan you get to sit down to play arcade games. I have yet to see a japan arcade consoul in which you stand up (that’s not true. The lupin the typing game was stand up. Because you were the typing. What does this mean? It means that it’s easier to spend long periods of time at the arcade. Than at the US where you must stand. Personally, I really don’t know why the us arcades have you standing, or why the Japanese make you sit. Because I would say that sitting consules (with the player) takes up more space than standing ones. This probably leads to the next point that:
*Japanese 2 player games usually give each player their own screen, as they sit across from each other at a big long connecter cabinet. This means that each player has ample room on their side to sit and streach out their legs. In addition it means that the human opponents are unable to see each other, as they are obscured by the huge arcade machine.
On one hand this is nice, as you’re never fighting with the other player in real life, either for elbow room on the machine, or after a a domination due to questionable tatics. (you can’t get into a fight with your opponent if you cant see them, and they’re all the way on the other end of the machine. )
To me, having grown up with the perfectly functional American standing/2 people per screen system I always saw this as a monument to inneffificency. Why pay for the upkeep of two arcade systems why they could split it up, and rake in the earnings from 4 potential players.

The other thing about the japans vs cabinets is that when I play with friends, I like to be able to talk to them as we play. However, with the Japanese style, I don’t know weather or not I’m playing a computer or if I’m playing someone else. And I can’t talk to them.

I think the reason the Japanese can have these futuristic monstrosities is because they charge more per play. Games in japan are almost universially 100Yen to play, whereas in the US games are anywhere from 25cents to $1. per play. So, the Japanese rake in more money with each play. Of course, because everything costs more in japan realitive to the dollar they don’t really see much increase. However, because Japan is a much smaller and more centralized place, there is a higher influx of people in an arcade than in the US. In japan they can have one arcade and because there are more people in that one region, more people will come and play at that arcade, and thus, more money will be devoted to that arcade. So, they can make one version of a new game, and put it in a popular arcade in Tokyo and successfully reach 5% of Japan. Whearas, one new game, even in a popular arcade will only reach maybe .03% of the US game playing population, merely because the US is so spread out.

*Japan gets lots of weird games. So for the above reason, developers are able to create unusual games (both in the arcade and for the home systems,) and try them in a realitivly small area, and get a lot of people to play them. So if a game sucks, but the developer only made 3 of them, they lose much less money, than if they had made 500 and then put them in arcades only to discover they were unpopular.
Simillarily the larger stranger games (the dog walking game, and the fireman game comes to mind.) cost more to produce, and thus they can make a few, and have many people play them, justifying their costs.

*why do games come out in Japan first?
Games come out in Japan first because they are made in japan for the most part. The other and equally significant reason is Japan’s different distribution system.

Many of the coustomer related aspects are the same. Depending on the arcade, they may or may not alow smoking, they may or may not have a clean, friendly environment, they may or may not have special features, such as as an extra low price on a popular game. Larger Arcades in both Japan and the US hold contests/tournaments and similar events.
Maybe make up some figures for the amount of contest held/ other things…

A rather obvious difference between Japanese and American arcades is seen in the age and genders of the patrons. In Japan it is not uncommon to see a room full of suited men appearing to be over age 30 or 40 playing arcade games, (especially pachinko) where as American arcades rarely have patrons to appear to be over 25.
In the US Video games are still viewed as a somewhat childish pastime, and thus it is rare to find older men and women playing arcade games, although as the initial generation of gamers grows up, this is quickly changing. 10 years ago the average age of American arcade gamers was around 13, now it is more likely around 16. However in Japan it is more like 20, because of that…
Arcades are predominantly thought of to be a boy’s excursion. Traditionlay only boys would be in an arcade. And for the most part males are the primary patrons of arcades in both Japan and The US. However, with the growing popularity of the Bemani type games, girls are finding more to do at arcades than bore themselves watching their boyfriends play street fighter. Girl’s interest and activity in arcade games in both the US and Japan is increasing, although because the video game culture is more invasive in Japan, arcades in general, and bemani type games specifically are more prevalent in japan, it is a logical conclusion to say that the interest increases more in japan than the US.

Finally, is there gamers edicut?
There is undoubatly gamers edicut in japan just as there is in the US.
Experienced gamers will tell you that you are much more likely to receive interaction outside the game in an American arcade than in a Japanese arcade. Part of this is due to the obvious segregation and anominaty of challengers in a Japanese arcade, whereas a similar part may be due to larger cultural differences between Japan and America.

Despite overwhelming differences between the structure and orginaization of Arcades in America and Japan, the audience is largely the same, and the competition between players is just as dedicated.


Despite differences in the external appearance of arcade, or the layout of the cabinet, or the amount of money you pop in, once you start playing you’re immersed in a fantasy world no matter where you started out. (or something like that)

Japan US
Average cost of new game/play 100 yen 50¢
Average cost of an old game/play 100yen 50¢
Average cost of a bemani game/play 100yen 100¢
Average age of arcade goer 22 16

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