Relics of the Land of Nerd

Taito’s Hey game centre is like a Victorian sci-fi author’s vision of a 21st-century opium den.

Elaborate pleasure machines squeeze into tight rows, where patrons drift contentedly away from reality (chasing the dragon in Space Harrier).

On the service counter, plastic-age mass-produced accoutrements sing the timeless songs of engorgement and neglected hygiene.

The motley clutter of promotional/semi-hygienic crap includes: air freshener, hand sanitizer, game card stickers (FREE! Strictly only ONE per customer!), clean ashtrays, dirty ashtrays, slightly perv-oriented Akihabara guide maps, moist towel dispenser, ironically filthy hand sanitizer drip catching towel, staff call button, unsecured change case, game music show flyers, etc.

If this is the opium den, why get clean?

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