Arcade Addiction

Your guide to Japanese arcade games

By Komal Khiani    - 3 min read

Arcade games are the most popular coin-operated entertainment machines for people of all ages. With so many online video games, music games, pachinko slot machines and happy prizes you just cannot get enough of it.

Arcades are a place for people to get together in a real environment, with actual human players, whether they are your opponents in a fighting video game or your friends dancing along with you. Here is a selection of the most popular activities:

Video games

There are many video games you must try, from racing games like the most popular ones Mario Kart, Initial D to the 2D and 3D fighting games like Ultra Street Fighter 4, Tekken 6/Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Virtual Fighter 5, Final Showdown and Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate. Every game will give you a different experience altogether.

Dancing and rhythm games

The origins of the famous dancing game called Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) come from Japan. It is your personal dance platform where you will be judged not by a person, but by a machine depending on how well your dance moves are. These are multi-player games, so you can also compete with your friends and/or dance together.

The rhythm games are also music based and you need strong eye-hand coordination skills to catch up with the beats in games like MaiMai. Some of them include real musical instruments such as Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Beat Mania and Drum Mania.

Pachinko slot machines

Pachinko slots are the gambling slot machines in arcades. As gambling is illegal in Japan, all prizes are in kind instead of cash. You should definitely try your luck on these.

Happy prizes / Claw cranes

A claw crane ('UFO Catcher' in Japan) is a grab machine which can get you many prizes such as plush toys, dolls, candies and famous anime figurines. Use these games to expand your figurine collection or to impress your partner with a small gift.

Most of the games would cost you around ¥100 per game. This is a perfect place for a casual get-together and fun time with your friends. And ladies, if you have a partner who loves arcade games and spends more time with them than you, please do not hesitate to join him to one of the arcade game stores. There are much more things to do for you than you can think of now, and you both will be busy and entertained for hours.

You can adopt a gamer tag/handle and it will become an important part of your virtual life. These are stored on the game cards that track your performance through the ranking system of a particular game. Video games will always be your own preference, a difficult choice you make the first time when you play them, but it becomes your extended personality once you enter arcades again.

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Komal Khiani

Komal Khiani @komal.khiani

A travelaholic and a photographer, I believe that travel broadens one's view towards the world. Experiencing other cultures, meeting new people from other communities and other countries, exploring new places is something that inspires me everyday. 

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Tayub Hussain 6 years ago
I remember reading that pacman caused a shortage in the 100 yen coin. I'll stock up!
Komal Khiani Author 6 years ago
@VaDelle Harris thank you :)
Komal Khiani Author 6 years ago
@Tayub Hussain thank you so much. You should definitely come to Japan, especially for the arcades. And do not forget to fill up your pockets with loads of coins.
VaDelle Harris 6 years ago
I Love this article. Very Interesting, enticing and made me want more.
Tayub Hussain 6 years ago
This is by far the coolest article ever. Totally going to Japan. I love the thrill of kicking some ass on streetighter!