Geek Zone Akihabara!

[our own pictures coming soon!]

So we’ve been here a couple weeks and have seen most of the things you’re supposed to see in Tokyo. Architecture, people, trains, food. It’s a glorious city, probably my favorite of the ones I’ve been to. I was kind of saving the best part for last, and Akihabara is it. We’ve been there three times now in four days and I can’t wait to go back. :)

So far, we’ve seen five floors of plastic models, five floors of retro games, five floors of anime, five floors of pc parts, five floors of hentai, five floors of pachinko. We’ve been served tea by a catgirl at Cafe with Cat and oogled hundreds of high-tech vibrators (did you know sex toys are illegal in Thailand?). Boxes of PC accessories and flashing LED-coated gadgets down every alley; whole floors of Yaoi doujinshi and UFO-catcher machines. This afternoon we watched a dude rock out on an arcade drum game to the cheers of three dozen gathered spectators, visited a vintage godzilla collectibles store, played on a Virtual Boy and bought a USB adaptor for my DS. Still so much left to see and do in Electric Town.

Oh, and the games! We’ve picked up copies of Panel de Pon (aka Puzzle League) DS, Princess Maker 5, pokemon diamond in english, a period yaoi / bl / dating sim / adventure / rpg, and a ds puzzle game based on pipe dream. We’ve been playing Panel de Pon on the train and remarking on the play changes that the stylus makes to our old fave.

Fact: the term “PC Game” here seems to be mean “dating sim / porn”. This made it a real bugger to find Princess Maker 5 which is for the PC but isn’t hentai at all – it’s a delightful child-rearing game kind of like The Sims, but much simpler, cuter and more personal. We finally found it squashed in with shonen games (gay romance stories for a female audience).

When trying to figure out how to play PM5, I learned that with AGTH and haxxed Fujitsu ATLAS (ask me) you can translate Japanese PC games on the fly, passibly enough to play through them. Horrays! I went back and bought another dating sim; looks like a three-kingdoms-esque rpg with decades of dialogue. We’d already played through so-called dating sim Kana: Little Sister in Thailand, which really had more to do with trajedy and death than dating and sex. It’s a complex genre. I’m not sure I like them yet (too emotionally manipulative and slow for me), but after seeing whole stores of it here, it does seem conspicuously absent from North America.

Dating sims could kill on the NA market if you found the right spin. Maybe western guys aren’t into making cute anime chicks fall in love with them by listening to them talk for hours then timidly requesting to walk them home, ok. But what if you were a streetwise ninja with a selection of techniques for graphically disembowelling your foes, who managed a prostitution ring of girls you’d seduced, and you could skip to the sex scenes any time you wanted? Huh? Dating sims yayaya!


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