Japan: Land of Gaming

There are some things you can’t really appreciate until they’re gone. The Japanese’ attitude towards gaming, for me, was one of them. In the 3 or so hours that I’ve been  back in the UK, I’ve whipped out my DS twice in an attempt to catch em’ all and both times I’ve been judged by the large majority of people sitting nearby. An 18 year old with a Pokemon obsession as big mine does deserve to be judged I suppose but no one could even see the game. It was simply the object in my hand that was their problem with me.

Sitting on a train in Tokyo, you could always see at least three or four DS and PSP consoles being played around you, and that was in a semi-empty carriage. Walking along streets you’d find special, roped off areas of the pavement /just/ for people to gather in and play Dragon Quest or Monster Hunter. And gather they did! There literally was no space to move within them. We tend to gather in secret, online or in small groups in our homes. We laugh at LAN parties and people see a night of gaming as a wasted one.

It’s not just accepted by everyone in Japan, it’s enjoyed by everyone whether they game or not. As we sat, waiting for a table in a restaurant, a girl opposite us was opening her brand new DSi and my friend, who hasn’t owned a console since the PS1, leaned over to me and commented on what an exciting feeling a new console brought. It wasn’t even our console, it was a stranger’s but we could both enjoy the fresh atmosphere that it brought.


In conversation, if I ever told anyone that I hoped to head into the gaming industry, they were more than enthusiastic, encouraging me and asking if I would come to Japan to work. Here my plans are met with scepticism and disapproval.

Britain is just miserable in general. I’m snowed in at Aberdeen airport, have no money to either buy breakfast or phone home and having asked a man if I could borrow his phone, he looked away from me and shook his head as if I was some sort of beggar having walked in off the street. Well sorry for interrupting your blank staring, Mr.Christmas-Spirit. During the process of typing this sentence, Captain Miserable walked away for something and returned to sit next to me. Now he’s watching my screen (I doubt he can read this though, the font is too small). Some people really are the worst. His phone just rung. He doesn’t even have it on silent. How obnoxious. I should crack out my DS and see what he thinks of that.

He doesn’t like it.

It’s for that reason that I love TSA. Whilst we can all be miserable gits, even as miserable as Screen-Watching-DS-Hating-Grumpy-Face, every one of us all has so much enthusiasm for gaming that it more than makes up for all the sods outside. When I say “we”, I don’t mean the staff, I mean everyone who visits. You, me, (and Dupree) all have the same, undying passion for gaming. In Britain we don’t get the massive advertising campaigns, or have entire city districts become famous due to their association with the gaming world. To most of our fellow countrymen, it’s still just that “stupid” hobby that people who are “sad” enjoy. The thing is though, everyone at some point has enjoyed some time with a controller in their hand.

Just tell me, where’s the love?