The Test of Time

Tokyo arcades had been waiting for me since my schooldays. They sent me loveletters tucked into 90s gaming mags and little video missives on Games Master. They promised to save themselves for me. Finally, years later, I got on the plane.

But what was I expecting? My imagination was torn between two hopes: that they had stayed true and waited unchanged; or that they had grown and moved on, lived their life, their descendant bursting with youth, new trends and promises of a future. In my heart, I knew I wanted them to have just stayed the same, for my sake and my childhood’s.

How selfish I was. Here, I found them, two Blast Cities, waiting in the same spot all those years. A horrifying truth dawned on me: nothing can ever wait unchanged.

They had been ravaged by the years. They waited for me, sacrificing their relevance and their youth, foregoing the possibilities that were their future. Waited in this same old corner running sad old games. For what? For me.

And I came. I came to Kawaguchi, next to the warehouses and construction suppliers and parks of mechanical diggers and industrial cranes. Dark, where no one would come to play games. But I came.

And I played 1943. And I died very quickly.

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