Virtual-On Oratorio Tangram

Smoke stirs in the Hirose Entertainment Yard, barely lit by blue strips…

A pair of bland back-to-backs sit ignored, as if they’re no big deal. They’re just generic cabs, with laminated cards adding the titles to the machinetops. But look at the panel: This is unmistakably it. Twin sticks!

A classic so distant it was unreal in the day, but that’s it, right there, ¥100 a play.

I’m sure plenty has been said about the manly symbolism of the joystick. When most games in history have been egocentric power fantasies, it’s a funny demonstration of omnipotence that we should play them with so servile a grip.

But double! How are we to interpret this twofold puissance? Am I a twin-sticked being, sybaritically employing all manual resources to my own ends, or is it rather that two single-sticked beings are present, commanding my attention? Either way, you’ve got your hands full.

And as I succumb to this unknown daydream, handcuffed to the bed of extra-dimensional mech-on-mech fantasy, another player sits behind the screen, watching my moves through the two-way mirror of our back-to-back units in the Akihabara grunge.

It probably doesn’t bear analysis.

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