You cannot talk about Japan’s presence in the fighting game scene without mentioning their arcade culture, which is focuses around their proving grounds: the game center. Gamers around the world, such as those living in the North America, who have been looking at these spots as a sacred place may have stronger admiration for the arcade game than the gamers in Japan, who have been familiar with a game center all their lives.
Every time a Japanese gamer does a great job, the question, “Why are Japanese gamers strong?” is repeatedly asked, and the conclusion has been always emphasized again and again, “After all, the existence of arcade games does matter.”
Two Japanese gamers, Nemo and John Takeuchi, both belong to the North America’s prestigious Team Liquid and are participating in the Capcom Pro Tour for Street Fighter V. Although the two are different in age, both have trained their gaming skills and finally have become professional. What do they have to say about a game center, which can be called their hometown?
Nemo, the elder of the two, expresses his encounters with game centers:
“I had been to BIGBOX Takada-no-Baba and Shinjuku Playland Carnival since I was 10 or 11 years old. Indeed, children of that age tend to feel it as a naughty thing. I felt the same way and with good reason! I gathered all 10-yen coins in my house and asked the clerk in the game center to change them to 50-yen coins. And I waited for a long time till all of the players except me went home because I wanted to play the game alone so that I did not lose in the battle."
"I think I started playing in real matches probably when I was a junior high school student. I just tried, and I realized that I could win, pretty much. Then I started to feel excited about competition. I sometimes received complaints and was even punched, but I didn’t care about that very much. It was just because I loved game, after all.”