Archive for the ‘Japan’ category

KOF Versus Festival previews King of Fighters XIII

May 16, 2010

Earlier this month, a large Japanese King of Fighters tournament was held, taking in classics such as KOF2002UM and KOF98. However, the big point of attraction was a special preview tournament for the upcoming King of Fighters XIII! Top players were given the chance to battle it out on the latest entry in SNK’s classic series. Check out a video of the finals below!

[Via: Versus City] [Discuss on the forums]

Sega opens flagship arcade in Akihabara

February 19, 2010

Club Sega, Akihabara

Ah, Akihabara. How I have longed to visit this mythical location, in order to peer into the heart of Japanese arcade gaming (well, also to stage an homage to Densha Otoko, but that’s another story entirely). Every time I think it can’t be any more attractive to me, we get a bit of news like this – today, a new six-storey Club Sega location has opened. The arcade boasts a cool 373 machines, with the best video games out now joined by the usual set of UFO Catchers and other popular games. In fact, changing rooms are even provided next to the purikura machines (photo-sticker thingies, to you and me) for those wishing to cosplay (fancy dress!). I’d say you’d never catch me in one of those, but there’s a friend of mine who will almost certainly drag me into one at one point…

If you’re lucky enough to be able to check this wonderland out, please give us a shout and let us know what we’re all missing! If like me you’re not, then rejoice at the news that we’re seeing a new location open, and check out the link below to see some lovely pictures from inside the new arcade.

<Shaggy>: Here’s a little addition from my post which is now deleted, another link about this news: iNSIDE. Also here’s a past link discussing when many media outlets were jumping all over the news of arcades closing in Japan, where I doubt that now they will give this much attention but we can always hope.

[Via Dengeki Online] [Discuss on the forums]

SNK Neo Geo 20th anniversary T-shirt

February 16, 2010

If you’re familiar with Japanese video game merchandise, you might well have heard of the clothing company Mars16. They’ve been responsible for some very tasty Sega AGES 2500 tie-in stuff in the past, and lately they’ve started doing some SNK T-shirts too. While the previous two have focused on the company’s iconic fighting series Samurai Spirits and The King of Fighters, the third SNK-related design celebrates the 20th anniversary of the legendary Neo Geo MVS hardware. The front shows an MVS cabinet, while the back appears to list every game from the machine’s debut in 1990 to the final release, Samuarai Spirits Zero Special in 2004. As with much of Mars16’s work, this is lovely, stylish stuff. It’s also a pain to get hold of if you’re not in Japan, so you might want to collar a friend with a Japanese address and get them to take a delivery!

[Via Kotaku Japan] [Discuss on the forums]

Taito shows off a new light-gun/music shooter, Music Gun Gun (updated)

August 20, 2009

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Taito has another new light-gun shooter that they are showing off in Japan (the other being Elevator Action: Death Parade) and from this recent public demonstration of Music Gun Gun at one of Taito’s arcades in Japan, it looks like the game was interesting enough to grab some attention from the crowds passing by. From all appearances the game looks like it mugevent01will be a shooting gallery style title with different mini-games available to play. As the title of the game implies there is is a musical element to the game as well but at the moment it is unclear as to how that actually works out. For more info on the public event behind this, click here.

UPDATED: Thanks to Aaron Auzins, here is a detailed description of how the game works.

The closest way to describe Music Gun Gun to American audiences would be akin to playing Elite Beat Agents by firing at the screen to activate circular timing markers. Players can choose a song from a menu and the gameplay allows for up to two players to participate in the rhythm-shooting stages. The timing markers appear onscreen with a circular dial on the outside that travels clockwise – if the dial travels the entire 360 degrees, the player misses the “note.” While players are shooting in time to the music, what is actually happening onscreen is players are in pursuit of an “enemy” that throws objects at the players. These timing markers indicate when these items would “hit and damage” the player, so the actual gameplay is in destroying objects hurled at the player, but it is done in rhythmic fashion. Of course, timing comes into play as if players shoot the circle as the projectile reaches the circle (it seems players in the videos are doing this at about 10-11 o’clock clockwise if you can imagine a clock), they receive a “perfect” rating, while being slightly off before or after the timing window results in a “good.”

The August 15 Ikebukuro location event report details a good turnout, with the author of the report being a little worried at first since at the beginning event, there were very few people stopping, but the picture displayed in the Arcade Heroes story shows the eventual evening turnout with many people checking out the game. The two cosplayers are modeled after the in-game characters Tama and Momo.
[Discuss on the forums]

The Sega Honeymoon

June 22, 2009

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My good lady ain’t in to the games. I’ve tried to convert over the years, but she won’t have it. But there are some men out there in the world who’s other halfs are thier gaming buddies too. Well UK:R reader Radguy is one of those lucky men, not only does his with like games, they went on a Sega arcade tour whilst honeymooning in Japan. Lucky sod!

Head over to UK: Resistance to see more excellent pictures

[Discuss on the Forum]

Robots conquer crane machines thanks to Robo Catcher

May 25, 2009

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In Japan it seems that the crane machine is both an art and a science and it never ceases to amaze me as to what companies cook up for cranes there. I am a big fan of integrating robotics into the arcade scene and this latest “crane” machine does just that. Called Robo Catcher, the player controls a robot inside of the booth and they attempt to grab the prizes at the bottom using the robots arms. It’s a pretty cool concept and to do the idea justice, here is a video of Robo Catcher in action.

[Via Hobbymedia.it]

A tale of two cities

January 19, 2009

It’s another one of those days, as contrasting stories emerge about the health of arcade gaming. Badness abounds as New Orleans CityBusiness is reporting that the original Fun Arcade in New Orleans is closing down after 37 years, leaving no traditional arcades in the area. The owner, 69 year old Jack Boasberg, blames the rise of game consoles and proclaims that “The traditional arcades will go the same way that drive-ins went“. Interestingly, the site of the second Fun Arcade (which closed in 2003) now hosts a LAN centre. The owner, 27 year old Michael Wagner, highlights an important problem with the expectations of those who would visit arcades: “When they make a new machine and it costs the arcade $20,000, people expect to pay a quarter to play it […]

Elsewhere in the USA, Dallas Morning News has interviewed Brian Ashcraft, regular Kotaku contributor and author of the book Arcade Mania: The Turbo-Charged World of Japan’s Game Centers. While the introduction to the interview is less than positive about the American arcade scene, Ashcraft provides some interesting insights into the differences between US arcade culture and Japanese arcade culture. It’s well worth a read for anyone looking to learn a little more about what is undoubtedly the arcade capital of the world.

[Home video games force arcades to pull the plug] [Dallas native chronicles Japan’s vibrant arcade culture in book] [Discuss on the Forums]

Konami releases BeatmaniaIIDX Empress in Japan

November 21, 2008

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[Via BemaniStyle.com]

While most of our news the past few days has been about US arcade releases, they are still busy in Japan as well. Konami has released the latest addition to their Beatmania line-up, BeatmaniaIIDX Empress. As the name and banner above suggests, this title carries a bit more feminine theme to it than other Beatmania games in the mix, so I guess we’ll see how guys take to the game. It does feature quite a line-up of music that should be particularly pleasing to Beatmania fans, including music from an American bemani fan turned Konami artist. The playlist features over 40 songs and it also will use a number of e-amusement pass features. Check Bemanistyle for the full run-down on the title.

[Official BeatmaniaIIDX Empress site] [Discuss on the Forums]

Namco sets up a Razing Storm website

October 23, 2008

Among the new game revelations last month was Namco’s light-gun shooter called Razing Storm and in Japan it is going on location test and it has a website set up to describe the game in Japanese. It looks like the information provided is the same as what we saw in flyer scans from last month but with clearer images it’s easier to see what’s going on.

From what I can tell this appears to be a sequel of sorts (at least spiritually) to Namco’s Crisis Zone, which had it’s own small ties to the Time Crisis series. There are destructible environments (but on a much larger scale than CZ), terrorists and the foot pedal puts you behind a bullet proof shield. One notable difference is that you can see the gun you currently have selected on screen, which is something more reminiscent of first-person shooters and not light-gun titles. Razing Storm also uses a dts digital surround sound system to should provide a neat audio experience to compliment the great graphics. The only question now is how much is this going to cost operators (which trickles down to players at the coin slot) and will it be available outside of Japan? On top of that, how much will replacement guns go for? I’ve seen a few Crisis Zone cabs be decommissioned once the gun failed since a replacement costs around $800 (and I thought that paying $50-60 for a game console controller this generation sucked) so hopefully they’ll be way below that.

Personally I was quite a fan of Crisis Zone, I once got to a point where I could complete the entire game in under 13 minutes without getting hit once so I am curious to see how Razing Storm plays in comparison, but we’ll have to wait until at least March (when the game is released in Japan) to know more.

[Razing Storm Japanese Site] [Discuss on the Forum]

Kawasaki Warehouse – Location Report, Japan

October 17, 2008

Wow, I have just got back from Japan and made a fabulous discovery whilst I was there:

Kawasaki Warehouse

This incredible arcade has been built from the ground up to look like a disused, run-down warehouse complete with rusting doors and peeling paint but is in fact a fantastic site with some great games. The site has some neat touches like the front doors that appear to be rusted shut but open when you approach to reveal a red tunnel which looks like a bit passageway to hell. As you approach the second door you are blasted by a smoke machine. Inside the lighting is great (dim but really asmospheric) and flickering neon signs and faded posters cover the walls. The site is over several floors with Bingo (!!!), an arcade and a Darts bar. I have to say I only had a couple of hours free and never left the arcade floor itself.

Amongst the highlights were:

Original Retro cabinets  (All in great working order)

  • Street Fighter
  • Virtua Racing Twin
  • Outrun DLX
  • Hang On
  • Super Hang On
  • Pro Monaco GP
  • After Burner DLX
  • Space Harrier DLX
  • Darius
  • Gauntlet 4 Player
  • Rad Mobile DLX
  • About a dozen cocktail cabinets
  • Daytona 2 (4 Player)
  • Virtua On (Loved this on the Dreamcast)

In addition I got to play some great recent and new games:

  • Street Fighter 4 (Got my ass kicked at least 20 times by some guy!)
  • JuBeat – Really interesting game and very funky cabinet
  • Afterburner DLX (Played it before but never linked)
  • Halflife Survivor (Just couldn’t get used to the controls)
  • Initial D 4 (Good fun!)

If you get the chance I really recommend setting aside a couple of hours and heading over there. It is about 10 minutes walk from Kawasaki train station.