I found this great little arcade in Kyoto, completely by accident.
I passed by it on my way to the “AEON” mall, which is close to the main train station in Kyoto, where they have a Namco arcade that I wanted to check out. It turns out the mall is full of locals doing mall things, and the Namco arcade is full of rhythm games, Purikura (photo booths), fun kids games, claw machines, etc. All very well-lit, not the kind of place I was looking for. (BUT THEY DID SELL PROPER BANAPASSPORT CARDS! … and there was some pretty serious Pokkén action happening…)
Anyway. So on this random small side-street that I happened to be walking along, I see this sign: “VIDEO GAMES KTT”. It didn’t seem all that welcoming, but I can hear arcade games on the inside, and I worked up the gumption to go in on my way back from the mall.
It’s this tiny, smoky hole in the wall, little cramped arcade. There are a bunch of rhythm games, Gundam games, things I don’t really understand… and then two Tekken 7 cabinets and a NESiCAxLive.
I sit down next to a guy who’s in practice mode, working on his Kazuya ch df2->PEWGF. (it’s clear to a Tekken player what he was trying to do). He’s maybe in his early 20s, and smoking like a chimney. I watch him try it over and over again, mostly getting df2 -> df2. And then he nails it. And I’m like “SUGOI!!”, and he appreciated that he had an appreciative audience. (this is basically the hardest combo in Tekken, that and taunt-JU) Later on, I watch him in action and he’s this badass Dragunov somewhere up in the Yellow ranks…
In this little arcade, it turns out that you get two credits for every 100¥, so I played a bunch! Played a bunch of Kazuya – I wrecked some Laws, a Bob, a Master Raven… and I had this great match where I came back super convincingly against a Dragunov. Had an appreciative audience for that one – the first guy’s friend (who spoke some English) shared that special moment where you’re watching to see if the person you just beat is going to try for a revenge match. … we’re waiting, the time is ticking down, and the Dragunov decided they’d had enough. That, that’s victory. (I also played some Kazumi!! She’s still wonderful.) My Kazuya is now at 1st Kyu, so if I play any more this trip, I should get 1st Dan!
(this second guy was a really strong player, in addition to being super friendly – after I lost, I got up and let him play, since there were only the two cabinets. And he’s in practice mode, and he’s doing OTGFs like a boss, and he’s got this *gorgeous* Korean backdash. Like, the real one: “b b~d/b~b b b~d/b~b …” … none of this lazy “b qcb b qcb…” business like I do when I’m hitboxing.)
Making a note here: huge success. Tekken: the international language!