After getting overwhelmed at the Akihabara mall which houses anything and everything you can think of in terms of electronic gadgets, i exited through a gate which gave me this sight. Now being a tech scribe, i know what it is to be obsessed with a game and all that, but in my case at least, it’s limited to when i am sitting in front of a system at home (or office, Yes gaming is a part of the office culture and not frowned upon). Generally my type of gaming is in isolation. My office pals do indulge in LAN gaming with Quake, Tribes Ascend, Counter Strike, but i’ve realised that i am not really great at these games. I am more of the Max Payne, Hitman, Mafia third-person shooter type of gamers.
Bottomline: Gaming is not really mainstream here.
Here though i was fascinated to see the obsessive gaming at a group level. These nerds, popularly called Otakus can be found all over Japan. At Akihabara in particular, it just makes sense for these gamers to gather and try out the latest games that they have just purchased. I did notice a lot of old-style GameBoys in the crowd. (This is one thing i fell in love with about Japan: a respect and loyal following of everything retro, whether it’s old-world gaming pads or film photography. You just know that these cultures will never die in the Land of the Rising Sun.)
Even while all of them were engrossed in their game, they still had the sensibility to leave enough space on the pavement for passersby. You can’t help but smile:)