Can Japan’s arcades ever escape their fate?
Game centres are doomed to be moody, adolescent places. All heads down in the dark, staring, shunning community.
Sega Worlds were different: out-of-town, family-fun playgrounds for 90s suburbanites. Colourful, cartoon-character institutions of good moral fibre.
But it looks like UFO catcher and karaoke money hasn’t paid the bills. Sega World Funabori’s six-foot-Sonic figurehead has been worn to a faded smile, unable to find its enthusiasm as the 10,000th preschooler crowd passes by.
Gradually, those teenage arcade urges started winning: a few Mah Jong domino simulators here and there, a medal machine, then some trading card games. Not as straightlaced as it was supposed to be – not in line with the kids’ games downstairs.
But no one’s watching anyway.
Today it’s really let itself go. The entire first floor is unsociable, life-wasting cabinets in tight rows. Ugly – but they collect the coins.
The allure of the moneyspinners found a way through, like cigarette smoke seeping under the kids’ room doors.
Photographer and writer covering Tokyo arcade life – the videogames, the metropolis and the people