Gunslinger Stratos: I always describe its awesome control scheme (twin light pistols with dual analogue thumbsticks) and crazy gameplay (8P team deathmatch around Tokyo), then I add a full stop. “And you can fly.”

Pretty cool, huh.

Apart from being cool, it looks cool. The cabinet consists of double-holstered, bowlegged cyber-chaps. It was used as the Mad Dog MacCree Redux cabinet in the 2045 diner in Back to the Future Part IV.

It also gets female players – maybe thanks to its character design, which is less misogynistic than the Tokyo arcade average. (A bar you could dig over.)

Example: the female gunslinger selected in the photo is showing almost no skin, wears loose-fitting clothes and has a fuckyou headset and cyberstilts.

It would be great, then, if the latest AAA from the same dev/pub combo (Byking/Squenix) achieved the same. 2018’s Starwing Paradox is every bit as exciting and convoluted a premium installation, but the first female character I saw had unfortunately been employed as a typically simpering and cleavaged setup/tutorial assistant.

Ho-hum. Baby steps, I guess.

Meanwhile, the Byking/Squenix collab is showing originality, ambition and a serious commitment to flamboyant experience design that can only happen in the arcade. Let’s hope for character design that attracts more and more people to see it.

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