Unseen Enemy

The Versus City is a two-faced cab, smiling innocently at the player on each side.

It’s an enormous thing with two screens and control panels back-to-back, bonded by their capacious plastic skin and sharing their internal circuit board organs.

They promise two-player competitive fighting, hiding what your opponent’s doing with their stick and buttons. It’s “pure competition”.

But all you ever see of this supposed opponent is meticulously hit-boxed sprites. All you ever hear is robotised yelps. In truth, you’re only interacting with a green and metal PCB. It’s pure faith that someone else is touching the other side.

Faith in a two-faced freak you met in a dark pit.

When the machines took over, it was supposed to be electrodes creeping into our brains or something – 90s sci-fi style. But since then we’ve just willingly crawled into their jaws.

Here we are, begging to be part of the chipset: the metal is the truth of the world and we can only hope we’re not alone.

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