In America, video games are slowly passing movies as the for the biggest media money maker. In Japan, video games have been at the top spot for sometime. This means, you can find video game characters on about everything. As you can see, Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid, graciously appears on a can of Mt. Dew.
This shouldn't seem as a huge surprise to most people. Many might say "Well, the Japanese love video games". Well, I should tell you, they love video games more than you might imagine.
Arcades are still a huge business here, something thats on life support back in the States. Even with the small little hick town I live in, there are plenty here. Every time I go on a bike ride to a section of town I have never been to before, I come across a new arcade.
Walking into them is almost nostalgic. Sure the Japanese have a different taste for video games than Americans (they sure love their fighter games as well as rhythm based ones). But growing up, I spent hours upon hours at arcades. My parents generally dropping me off at them as I spent countless hours playing classic beat em' ups like TMNT, letting someone feel the rather of my final Shoryuken, or simple crossing the finish line dead last; as they went shopping. (love that run on sentence?)
I really do love arcades just as much as consol gaming. Its a different atmosphere and I am glad I can still get a taste for it while I'm here in Japan.
Within the next few months, I will surely visit my sister in S. Korea and get the taste of another style of gaming which is also on life support in America, LAN gaming. I know its going to be fun but I am going to get served by some ten year old Korean boy playing Starcraft II. But, I look forward to it.
Be sure to expect me talking about video games as well as anime a bit more in the near future.