Japanese Retirees Flocking to Arcades

Japanese Retirees Flocking to Arcades

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Senior citizens in Japan are whiling away their leisure hours and blowing their retirement savings in places that have traditionally been the domain of youth: arcades.

So you're old, you're retired and you're bored. In Canada that means screwing in an hour or two of every day at the local Tim Horton's, slurping back the double-doubles while you shoot the breeze with your buddies. In Japan, however, they do things a little differently, and when it's time to meet the boys for a bull session, more and more of them are heading to the arcades.

"Recently, I've been coming with my grandchildren, but it's like a dream," a 65-year-old arcade fan told Nikkei (via Kotaku). "I'm so busy making friends, I feel rejuvenated."

One-third of the customers at the Sega Dream Factory in Tokyo are seniors and some arcades are now specifically catering them to them, with bonus token programs and even offers of free blankets for anyone who gets cold. Japanese oldsters apparently have a preference for medallion games (I have no idea what those are), pachinko, crane games and horse racing games. One 73-year-old said he blows about $12 a day on horse racing and pachinko, adding that he keeps coming back "because it's cheap to play." It's also apparently a very social environment; some of the gray gamers bring their lunches with them and spend the entire day hanging out with their pals.

That's just fine with Japan's Amusement Industry Association. Between advances in home gaming and Japan's famously low birth rate, the group said it's becoming increasingly difficult to attract young males to arcades. Many elderly gamers, on the other hand, are looking for a reason to get out of the house, so arcades are a more natural fit. Maybe not as natural to those of us on this side of the pond as blowing half your morning hanging out at a coffee shop, but probably a better choice all-around in the long run.

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That's where I'll be in another 37 years. Not so strange really.

Ha that's pretty cool! As long as they are having fun I guess!

Got to do something before bingo.

Well here in the UK the Arcades are nearly dead, in Japan it's just those using them.

I now expect a 70-year-old to beat Takahashi Meijin's 16-presses-per-second record. Don't let me down, senior citizens of Japan!

All I could think when reading this was, "Aww well, Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell are about to get squashed at Donkey Kong."

Hopefully by the time my generation gets old, arcades will have been completely revived. Because there are absolutely none left anywhere near me. It sucks.

But video games are Bad! Or something... Whats the argument they use again?

It's really nice to see video games improving communitys amongst all this "Yap Yap Yap BAD GAMES Yap Yap Yap".

Is it wrong that I squealed seeing an original Galaga/TRON/Q*bert/Joust/Burger Time/Centipede/Space Invaders?

Is it worse I can actually recognise them from their decals?

(Can't get what the one between TRON and Joust is though...)

I wish that arcades were still around where I live. The last one closed down years ago.

You guys can have your arcades, I'll be spending my old age in bowling alleys and the aforementioned Timmie Ho's, eating sesame seed bagels toasted with butter and drinking their awesome hot chocolate.

Does that mean we'll start seeing WW2 vets at a future Evo or SBO?

Can't wait to see how they work some SF3. :D

Nice. Yeah it's only natural for people who may have grown up with these games (or at least not long before) to want to play them again in the big long free time that is retirement. Hell, when it's my turn I'll probably just jump on the best new MMO and do that until I die. At least then, the whole problem of wasting one's youth is no longer an issue.

That's the life I want to have when I retire! *sigh* Arcade with friends, everyday^^

A good time to be in the arcades with nothing but free time. If I was them, I'd play nothing but Street fighter and this when it's released:

AvsJoe:
You guys can have your arcades, I'll be spending my old age in bowling alleys and the aforementioned Timmie Ho's, eating sesame seed bagels toasted with butter and drinking their awesome hot chocolate.

oh man, toasted sesame seed bagels with butter....

I Can't wait to be old.

I've been in those arcades. I'm not in the least bit surprised. They're heavenly.

...assuming you can tolerate cigarette smoke, but having a cornucopia of fighting games and UFO Catchers led me to build a tolerance. Just because a lot of the machines have actual ashtrays on them was no reason to ignore Arcana Heart 2 and Azumanga Daioh Puzzle Bobble.

Andy Chalk:
So you're old, you're retired and you're bored. In Canada that means screwing in an hour or two of every day at the local Tim Horton's, slurping back the double-doubles while you shoot the breeze with your buddies.

My dad just goes to the Wal-Mart and then sits around trying to formulate another argument about why I'm not eating enough.

The_root_of_all_evil:
Is it wrong that I squealed seeing an original Galaga/TRON/Q*bert/Joust/Burger Time/Centipede/Space Invaders?

Is it worse I can actually recognise them from their decals?

(Can't get what the one between TRON and Joust is though...)

Well, there's a chair there. So it has to be a long one.

Am I the only one that immediately got a mental image of Ishikawa's gaming/gambling center with all of the old people from Ghost in the Shell?

I'd expect that. It's either this or the pachinko parlous and good GODS do those have horrible chain smokers...

SL33TBL1ND:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Is it wrong that I squealed seeing an original Galaga/TRON/Q*bert/Joust/Burger Time/Centipede/Space Invaders?

Is it worse I can actually recognise them from their decals?

(Can't get what the one between TRON and Joust is though...)

Well, there's a chair there. So it has to be a long one.

I think it might be Scramble with the Moon Cresta hardware. Difficult to tell as there were so many machines put into that hardware box, and they often didn't change the decal.

DuctTapeJedi:
Am I the only one that immediately got a mental image of Ishikawa's gaming/gambling center with all of the old people from Ghost in the Shell?

Yeah actually. I now see old people getting flashbamged by a SWAT team now. Still. This is pretty neat.

Sweet...To bad that there are no arcade halls in Sweden...Atleast not in my town.

I guees when i am old i will just grab the most popular mmo and play it that.

Andy Chalk:
Japanese oldsters apparently have a preference for medallion games (I have no idea what those are), pachinko, crane games and horse racing games.

Do look up the word "research" some time before you die.
It may change your entire life, not to mention the quality of your awful work.

Right there with ya. Lets just hope when its our time, its as awesome as GIT.

Talk about an untapped source of money.

You gotta adapt with the market, you know.

 

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