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Japanese Game Centers - Drums, Cranes, Purikura and More!

Japanese Game Centers - Drums, Cranes, Purikura and More!

Translated by Lester Somera

Written by Mayu

2016.10.20 Bookmark

Japanese game centers or arcades are fun and exciting places filled with various types of games and activities sure to make you smile. This article introduces some of the popular games that can be enjoyed here!

Game Centers - The Perfect Place To Take A Break

From The Allure Of The Crane Game: How To Snag The Toy You Want!

Game centers, commonly known as 'ge-sen' in Japan, are hotspots for young people who want to play games and blow off some steam. Purikura, which lets users take cute photos, and crane games, which offer players the chance to snag goods featuring well-known characters, are two of the most popular activities available at game centers. Since they're relatively inexpensive - a visit could cost just a few hundred yen, or up to a few thousand yen at most - many people use these places to get rid of stress and recharge their batteries.

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Taking purikura photos is a common activity for young women and couples.

'Purikura' refers to a machine where users can take face or full-body photos in the booth, then customize the photos with their favorite stickers and logos.

Recent advances in functionality now allow users to filter their photographs to show better skin or smaller faces. The number of establishments which lend out cosplay items for purikura photos is increasing as well. Users refer to the act of taking purikura in costume as “cospuri.”

How To Use Purikura Booths

First, choose the purikura booth you’d like to use. Different machines can produce certain kinds of photos: some machines feature a "beautiful skin" option, while others offer a “long legs” option. Find the booth that looks best to you.

Once you’ve chosen the booth, put the coins in. Prices for one purikura session range from 300 to 400 yen.

After you choose the number of pictures you’d like printed on the sheet (as well as the sticker shape and size), proceed to the photo session. The booth will take five to ten shots. Afterward, you can choose which ones to print, then decorate them with pictures, stamps and messages using the touchscreen.

After decorating the photos, wait for a little bit, and the machine will soon print them for you. When you take purikura photos in a group, use the scissors kept at the game center to cut the picture sheet up, and give everyone a photo.

Crane Games

From The Allure Of The Crane Game: How To Snag The Toy You Want!

Crane games, also known as UFO Catchers, are an old standby in many game centers. The rules are simple. Maneuver the crane forwards, backwards, left and right, then claim your prize with the crane claw. However, it’s surprisingly difficult. You’ll get impatient when you can’t quite grab what you want, but that makes success all the more emotionally satisfying!

The prizes range from Japan’s popular Rilakkuma and Kapibara characters, as well as other character goods, anime figurines, snacks and more. Sometimes these character goods are only available as crane game prizes, so there are people who will do whatever it takes to get them. One attempt is 100 to 200 yen.

Taiko No Tatsujin

From“Taiko no Tatsujin!” The Japanese Drumming Game

Taiko No Tatsujin is a game where you beat taiko drums in the rhythm of music. Players must display their sense of rhythm and focus when beating these drums, similar to the wadaiko used during festivals.

The timing for striking the drums is shown on the center display. You get points for rhythmic beats and lose points for mistakes, so players compete for the highest overall scores.

The player with the highest score can input their name into the machine, so people get extremely enthusiastic during their play sessions without even realizing it.

Other music games besides Taiko No Tatsujin include Museca, where players push buttons in time to music, and Synchronica, where players tap screens.

Also read:

“Taiko no Tatsujin!” The Japanese Drumming Game


Whack-A-Mole machines feature a table with eight holes, from which moles pop out at different intervals; players bash them with the provided hammer, and get points for each hit. The machine is set up so that players scoring over 20 receive a prize; however, a score of 19 or below only gets players derisive laughter from the machine.

The moles quickly burrow their heads back down, so concentration is essential for accurate hits, and you’ll get caught up in Whack-A-Mole fever before you know it.

Shooting Games

Shooting games, where players use a model gun to shoot at targets displayed on a screen, are also popular at game centers.

These games are themed around popular anime like Gundam and Pokemon, as well as hit movies like Jurassic Park, so dinosaurs and anime characters burst onto the scene, right before your very eyes. Enjoy some target practice while immersing yourself in these lifelike worlds.

Players play these shooting games to get rid of stress, particularly young men, and they’re perfect for a quick diversion.

Game centers are usually comparatively close to a train station. Naturally, they’re great for people who love games, but if you have some time to spare until the next item on your schedule, how about dropping by? If you try out some of the available games, you might just discover your newfound game addiction.

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The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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