Quite a number of people have the misconception that Japanese children are all about hitting the books. While it is true that these children have to pay attention to their studies, it doesn’t mean they have to sit at their desks and flip through the pages of their school books all day.
Kids nowadays have a number of ways to entertain themselves. They have Nintendo DS’s and iPads to play with for starters but I won’t focus on that kind of entertainment. Card dispensing arcade games have been in Japan for a number of years but are still popular with kids today. And with that I present the top 3 arcade games that Japanese kids are hooked on!
A popular game for girls, Aikatsu! is a game where the player uses their cards to dress up the idol in the game. The machine will dispense a card at the beginning of the game and it is about an idol entering an audition. The gameplay involves choosing a character, the audition’s location and the difficulty level. There are computer opponents which the player has to defeat by getting higher points. Points are accumulated by quickly and correctly pressing the buttons when the markers appear.
As cute as the name sounds, this game is a hit for both girls and boys. The gameplay lets the kids find monsters using the ‘guruguru map’ and have a slot battle with 3 enemies. Once they win, they can take a photo of the monster and the card will be printed out. The kids can make their cards stronger by using them more and more when playing. Named as the second Pokemon, the popularity of Yokai Watch in Japan with kids is evident with this game. In many arcades, you can actually see the kids waiting in line for their turn to play!
Popular for boys and for some girls as well is Pokemon Tretta. With gameplay similar to the Pokemon game, here the kids are able to choose between two game modes: Get in-game (ゲームでゲット) or Get now (いますぐゲット).
The game begins by selecting an area where you will search for the Pokemon, have a 3-on-3 battle using your special tiles (or tretta) and reduce the HP of who you are battling as much as you can after three rounds. The player then has a chance to capture these Pokemon and once they successfully caught, the machine will dispense a tretta instead of a card.
I once came across a children’s floor inside the mall and saw elementary kids playing these games. There were a lot of them and if you ever happen upon these game machines, you’ll see the kids rooting for each other while playing and their parents just standing nearby waiting for them.
A game just costs ¥100 for these kids and now you know where some Japanese kids spend their pocket money!