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Michael Eng sent me an interesting link yesterday to a fledgeling web site which has set about the task of cataloguing the various locations around the world that may be of interest to the travelling videogamer. The fact that most of these so far are in Japan says a lot, but isn't surprising.

It's tempting to say that one cannot be a videogames otaku without to a certain extent also being a weeaboo, but the same could be said of many interests. It's pretty hard to be a serious doll collector, for example, without your interests becoming inseparably linked with Japanophilia.

There just seems to be more people in Japan willing to take that extra step from making their interest a personal thing to something overtly public. Compare Game Focus in London with Super Potato in Tokyo:

[Game Focus] [Super Potato]

The two are directly comparable I believe. Game Focus is situated in the closest thing to Akihabara that the UK has and as far as shopping experience goes, they are among the best you'll find within these shores. That being said it's hard to imagine Game Focus being well known even in the UK outside of Greater London.

It's not just confined to retail—I can't really imagine an 8-bit cafe or a chiptune bar with a Dreamcast dev kit taking pride of place being commercially viable propositions in the UK.

The number of British arcades worth the name has dwindled dangerously close to zero. They still exist but the are generally nothing to be proud of, whereas pride seems to be the driving motivator behind many Japanese game centres.

It's not that I have an animosity towards my own country but it just seems to me that it's pretty hard to be interested in games without Japanese gaming culture comprising a large part of that interest.


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