September 08, 2016
VISIT

Pilgrimage to Sacred Place Full
With Arcades Games

アーケードゲーム 聖地巡礼

Are you reades familiar with arcade games? You probably are if you are Japanese ageing around late 30s. In the old days it is a common thing for candy shops to have these arcade game cabinets, and we’ve seen many school kids playing them after school. Now that there are less and less of theses candy shops and arcades, it is a rare occasion that we see theses arcade game cabinets in city. In arcade Mikado, they stock variety of retro games from the past including and mainly old arcade game cabinets, which you can still play them. The shop is dim from the daytime, and only the game screens are shining brightly amongst the blue-ish lighting inside the shop. We should note here it is an very hard atmosphere for first comers to go inside. Having said that, it is also a pity if you cannot make your way inside being speechless by looking at the regulars playing. Once you enter, you will find the place confortable thinking which games to complete first.
皆さんはアーケードゲームをご存知だろうか。30代以降の日本人ならば、一度は目にした事があるかもしれない。昔は駄菓子屋に数台並べられた筐体で、小学生の男子が奪い合うようにして遊ぶ姿をよく見かけた。この懐かしいアーケードゲームも、駄菓子屋、そしてゲームセンターの衰退により、街中で見かける事も珍しくなってしまった。新宿から山手線で二駅、JR高田馬場駅からほど近い場所にある、ゲームセンター”ミカド”。こちらではアーケードゲームを中心に、過去に大人気だった貴重なレトロゲームを、今でも現役で遊ぶことができる。店内は昼間だというのに薄暗く、青い照明の中でブラウン管の光だけが煌々と輝いている。初心者には非常に入りづらい空間だ。しかし、常連客を前に足がすくんでいては勿体ない。やがて数々の貴重なレトロゲームを前に、さてなにから攻めようかと、妙な居心地の良さに包まれていく。

Coming to Japan for Games. Foreigners who challenge the pilgrimage.

Customers of Mikado age between in their 30s to 40s. After the clock hits 7pm you will spot workers in their suits playing the games after work. Takadanobaba, where the shop is located, is known as a college town usually filled with students but in this place you will not see them at all. The shop owner Mr.Ikeda speaks that in recent years, there are more and more foreign tourists coming in to the shop. That is still only about 10% of their total customers, but are from various places such as US, Europe and Middle Eastern countries. Even for Japanese people Mikado is a place for game experts, and apparently it goes the same for visiting foreigners as well. It is a sacred place for all gamers who exists in this world.

First floor is an area with cabinet games. These cabinet games are different from arcade games, where each cabinets are shaped accordingly to the theme of the games installed. For example if it is a racing game then there is a handle to it, and if it’s a flight game then it has a cockpit. Arcade games on the other hand, the owner can change the software inside so it can allow people to play different kinds of games on one machine. First floor carries those cabinet games which are old and rare, and is apparently favoured by many european people especially the French people. From about 2011, there is a trend of pixel art in France and the retro games are still an on going trend. Because they do not have the reach to actual cabinet, they download the retro games online and play them on their computers. So, for them just touching the real cabinet games are already shivering enough.

Second floor is an area with arcade games. They mainly serve fighting games. It is masterpiece looking when you see these arcade games lined in rows packed on whole of second floor. Games on the first floor do not normally change, but on the second floor, the owner changes its game titles frequently depending on customers’ needs. Line ups are playful as you may spot a fighting game arcade suddenly right next to “Toki Meki Memorial (Heart Fluttering Memorial, a game about normal high school boy tries to seduce pretty girls)”. What you do not want to miss on the second floor is a game tournament that starts from 8pm everyday. Once you lose, you are to step back behind the winner and that gradually make it into a big crowd in the end. Hard to imagine, as a game amateur, what it is like to win in a place like this. People from Middle East and North America are the regulars to this event. That is because gambling on games are allowed in some parts of Middle Eastern and North American countries, and so is a world where you must be the winner to make money. Those champions come to Japan to compete with the Japanese people. However, with its long history of arcade games, the foreign champions are not even a competition to the Japanese champions. Best in Mikado will probably make you into the best in the whole world. If you are confortable with your skills, then this should be a good challenge to you. These daily game tournaments are streamed live on USTREAM so if you can’t make it to the location you can watch the scene online.

ゲームで来日?聖地に挑む外国人

客層はほぼ30代~40代の男性。19時すぎには仕事帰りのサラリーマンが、スーツのまま盛り上がっている。学生街の高田馬場にも関わらず、子供はおろか中高大学生さえ全く居ない。しかし店長の池田稔氏によればミカドでは近年、外国人旅行客がよく訪れるようになったと言う。その数はまだ全体の一割程度ではあるが、アメリカだけでなく、ヨーロッパや中東からもプレイしに来るらしい。日本人の中でも通好みが集まってくるミカドだが、外国人もわざわざ来日する程の、”ゲーマーの聖地”となっているのだ。
1Fは大型筐体を中心としたフロア。内部でソフトの入れ替えが出来るアーケードゲームに対し、大型筐体はレースゲームならハンドル付きの運転席、フライトゲームならコックピットと、筐体自体が様々な形をしているのが特徴。特に古く珍しいゲームが多い印象を受ける。このフロアではヨーロッパ、特にフランス人がよく遊んでいるという。フランスでは2011年頃からドット絵が流行し、今もレトロゲームブームまっ只中。インターネットで簡易的にレトロゲームをダウンロードし、PCで無理くり遊んでいたフランス人にとって、本物の筐体に触れるだけでも大興奮なのだ。2Fは格闘ゲームを中心としたアーケードゲームのフロア。筐体がずらりと並ぶ姿はまさに圧巻。あまりゲームタイトルの入れ替えのない1Fに対し、2Fはお客さんの需要に合わせて曜日ごとにタイトルが変更される。男くさい戦闘ゲームの横に、突然「ときめきメモリアル(さえない男が女子高生を口説くゲーム。ときめき感度センサー付き)」が紛れていたり、遊び心あるラインナップが楽しい。そして2Fで外せないのが、20時から毎日のように開催される対戦イベント。参加者はトーナメント方式で対戦していき、負けた人がオーディエンスとなり、勝者の後ろに人だかりを作っていく。ここで勝つのはどんなに気持ち良いだろうと想像する。イベントには中東・北米のお客さんが良く来るという。中東や北米ではゲーム賭博が出来る国があり、稼ぐ為にとにかく強さ重視!の世界。母国で最強の王者が、日本人と対戦したくて来日してくるのだ。しかし、長年熟練した日本の王者たちは、いとも容易く彼らを倒してしまう。「ミカドで一番強い=世界最強」と言っても良いだろう。腕に自信のある方は、是非聖地に挑んでほしい。ちなみにイベントは、USTREAMで実況配信しているので、惜しくもイベントの時間に来れなければ、まずは実況で楽しもう。

Kind With Beginners Too!

Most of the games Mikado stocks are hard to play for the beginners. If you are, then “Atari Star Wars” can be a good match for you. This is the retro game version of every one’s love-of-life Star Wars. This machine is very rare to be working as it uses oscilloscope which are usually used for electro-cardiograms in hospitals. Another easy title is “Burning! Professional Baseball Home Run War”, a simple game where you try make home runs as many as possible. The rule is strict as everything else not a home run will count as out. On the second floor there is also a shop where they sell original Mikado goods such as ash trays, caps, and tees. These may be nice and a little weird Japanese souvenir. Mikado is a gold mine which the game collector Mr Ikeda has been cherishing over the time. It is one and only a place where it lets people play these rare retro games everyday, and the games can’t be fixed once broken. A perfect secret base everybody has dreamed of. There are a lot of foreign tourists come here just for the one play. You must feel privileged for the fact being able to play them everyday after work if you live in Tokyo. One play can be a new substitute for one drink. Mikado today is also full of players of both local workers and a bit of foreigners.

ゲーム初心者でも大丈夫!

店内のゲームは、ゲーム初心者には操作が難しいものも多い。そんな初心者には「アタリスターウォーズ」がオススメ。みんな大好きスターウォーズのレトロゲーム。オシロスコープという病院の心電図に使われる技術を利用していて、今でも稼働しているのは非常に珍しい。そして「燃えろ!プロ野球ホームラン競争」。ホームランを打つ回数を競うだけの簡単なゲーム。ホームラン以外はアウトしかない、雑な設定が愛おしい。さらに2Fには物販コーナーがあり、特製の灰皿(1000円)やキャップ、Tシャツなどを販売しているので、一風変わった日本土産にいかがだろう。元々ゲーム基盤のコレクターだった池田氏が大切にしてきた宝の山たち。ミカドは、壊れたら二度と修理できないこの貴重なゲームたちを毎日フル稼働で遊ばせてくれる、最高の秘密基地であった。1プレイの為に来日する外国人もいるくらいなのだから、フラッと仕事帰りに遊べてしまう我々は幸せである。仕事帰りの「1杯」を「1プレイ」に。ミカドは今日も、仕事帰りのサラリーマンと少しの外国人で賑わっている。

SHOP INFO

Takada Arcade Mikado

Address: 4-5-10 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5386-0127

Opening Hours: 10:00~24:00
CLOSING: Open Daily

USTREAM: Mikado69

高田馬場ゲーセン ミカド

住所:東京都新宿区高田馬場4-5-10
TEL: 03-5386-0127

営業時間:
月~土曜日 10:00~24:00

定休日:なし

USTREAM: Mikado69

writer / EMI KIUCHI
photographer / TOMOHIKO TAGAWA

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