Cigarette-Burnt Dribble Button

Tokyo arcades are the dreams of the Sega-Nintendo schoolyard writ concrete.

Now they’re grown up, those dreams stay out late in tall, narrow streets full of LED signs. They sit in the dark and smoke. They’re “social”, which means they stare at screens and ignore everyone around them. The screens tell them someone else is doing the same at some other location, the specifics of which are irrelevant.

When you play Winning Eleven, drunk, on your way home but not that determined to get there, is there really even another player at some purported Osaka arcade, beating you with a last minute penalty, Man U vs. Brazil? If it was just the computer, would you know? Would it matter?

That kind of social.

In the arcade, Winning Eleven grew a joystick, but you can just play with a DualShock if you prefer. Obviously somebody chose the controller, and rested their cigarette on the dribble button.

A little scorch. Those dreams got some scars.

Photographer and writer covering Tokyo arcade life – the videogames, the metropolis and the people