Hey guess what? I'm back in Hong Kong!
Travelling around has been a great experience so far, and it is something I would recommend everybody do at least once in their life. But despite all the fun and excitement, the time I have been able to spend playing games has droppd significantly. It's a price worth paying for such an adventure, but sometimes you do get the shakes if ya know what I mean, hell, the latest console game I have played was uncharted 2, and that came out last year! If I didn't have my DS handy I probably would be having some serious withdrawls right now.
But it's this sort of videogame deprival that makes a journey down to a good-old Hong Kong arcade all the more sweet.
How did this all start? Well Dan Mazkin and I were getting the itch for some Street Fightans Four, so I did a little research around SRK and found out to our delight that there are quite a few very good arcades in Hong Kong. So we checked out which one was the best and headed down to Mong Kok (don't giggle), most people visit Mong Kok (I said don't giggle) for it's markets, but we had a different target in mind.
Mong Kok, okay you can giggle a little.
Navigating our way through the crowds locals, expats and tourists, we made a bee-line for the Game Zone arcade in Mong Kok, luckily for us it lay right across the road from the train station. See?
Looks like we're going downstairs...
So, an underground arcade, in a foreign country, and add to that the fact that we heard a few odd rumors that some arcades in HK were Triad hangouts, should we be nervous? Hell no! They got STREET FIYTAH FO!!
So in we went.
Ahhh arcades, what a sweet sight.
Now arcades in Australia have changed a lot over the years, from bright and colorful places where anyone could just walk in and have a bit of fun, to today where most arcades are dirty, almost empty and leaving you with a very uneasy feeling that you're not welcome. It's a sad state of affairs but that's the way things are going.
But here in Hong Kong, in the Game Zone arcade, we were greeted with a bright and bustling place full of people playing all manner of games.
And the noise, my god the noise. Think back to how you remember arcades as a kid, the clash of every machine in the house turned up to full volume to the point that you have to yell at your friends just so they can hear you. That's the sound filling the walls of this arcade, and it was beautiful
Now, since the shock and awe has died down (a little), it's time to do a lap.
Gundam Vs Gundam... Vs Gundam Vs Gundam Vs Gundam Vs Gundam
Now keep in mind I took a few photos but I didn't want to go too crazy with the camera, they had security around and I didn't want them getting sus on me. Anyways, in case you didn't notice, Gundam is big here, very big. All these Vs machines were set up with people rocking them all the time, being a fan of robots of the giant variety I decided to give the game a shot, regardless of the fact that I'd never played it before and every detail about the game was provided to me in Cantonese.
I died of course, and very quickly too. From what I could tell the objective of the game was a 2 on 2 battle and the fight I was in was completely against the AI. This is probably for the best as I am sure if I was playing against a live opponent I would have died in half the time. I even had a small audience of a few locals witness my spectacular failure, looking back I should have taken a bow, instead I just took my coins and moved on to see what other games were around that I might not suck so much at.
Token gambling machines huh?
While the Vs Gundam games are big here there was something much bigger and more popular. Token gambling machines. They are so popular in fact that about half the arcade is taken up by machines of this nature. There are slot machines, machines that look kinda like Pachinko games, and there is even a big table where people sit and bet ot virtual horse races. I don't know if anything can be bought for these credits or if they can be exchanged for cash, maybe someone could explain this to me, but I decided to leave these games be and keep on exploring. Oh, and props to the fella who helped us swap our tokens for coins after we accidentally bought a bunch of tokens thinking we were getting coins. Bloody language barrier.
More Gundam, this time with cockpits?!
This is a crazy looking game, I don't even know the name of it except that it obviously must be Gundam-something-something. It's a setup of four enclosed cockpits where each person pilots a Gundam and the four Gundams form a squad that have to fight others squads in other arcades online in Hong Kong and Japan.
Ooooh look at me being sneaky with the photos.
This is the interior of one of the cockpits, as you can see the screen wraps around the user, now is that epic or what? I was tempted to play the game (after doing some research I found out it's called Gundam: Senjou no Kizuna
) but the game was really pricey to play, and also after my previous Gundam experience I figured I'd prefer to walk away from this game with my pride intact. It's a shame though, this game looked pretty mad.
Taiko Drum Mastah!
I didn't play Drum Master, it was all Cantonese again, but I thought I'd take a snap for the few people out there who love this game. You know who you are. Represent! ;)
Now, we came to this arcade for one main reason, it was time to step up to the fightans.
Ooooh shit yeah son.
Ahhhh fighers, how I love fighters. While there was Street Fighter IV, the dominating fighter in HK seemed to be King Of Fighters. They had twice as many KoF machines there than SF ones, and the only SF game was Street Fighter IV. The KoF games seemed to span from KoFXII to KoF98 and god knows what else. I confess that despite my love for fighters I have not played much from the KoF series, and since the guys playing looked pretty skilled I felt that I'd have better luck taking my scrubby ass over to the Street Fighter IV machines instead.
So how did myself and my bro/SFIV Sparring partner go?
Well, we played a few fights against each other which went well, Dan' usually a Gouken player but his Ken and Vega skills are right up there as well. He beat me a few times with his Vega, but after a few matches my Fuerte evened up the score and we left the friendly competition at that. After that it was time to take on the locals to see if we were up to scratch.
This is the real reason why we came here, playing against each other is something we were able to do every day while at home, but seeing what the rest of the world has to offer, even if we are not that good, is the true essence of being a World Warrior!
But yeah, we got our asses beat.
Dan getting his ass handed to him by some white guy with a ponytail.
That's what happens when you get your SFIV arcade from info from SRK, you fight against the best, and we didn't win a single fight.
However. despite our losses we still walked away satisfied, we did fight many hard battles, but we refused to get peaced out without at least taking a round or two from our opponents. We made damn sure that the people we were up against knew that we weren't just some scrubs who got lost wandering the streets of Hong Kong. We knew how to fight, and while we did lose, we forced our opponents to really earn
That said... El Fuerte always has a hard time against Balrog players. So there.
And so that was that, we ran out of coins and we had places to be, so it was time to go. It was a great to be able to hang out in a real
arcade again, even if I was a bit of an outsider, I still felt comfortable bashing buttons amongst the noise and chaos that can only be found in places like this that we all know and love.
So that's it for me for now, since you've all been so nice to read this blarrg to the very end, I have a two extra photo of some randomness we found that day that I thought you'd all like to see.
COD4 fans, start fapping
This here is an airsoft gun. Sort of like a top shelf BB gun that people use for war games. Like paintball battles except you can bring your own airsoft guns along, just like this one.
Hey... that logo...
Yeah I saw this in the Mong Kok market and just had to share it with you all. Blatant plagarism can be a funny thing sometimes. If you haven't spotted it yet this
might help you out with it.
And now that's really it from me. In a week I'll be off to Europe so I'll try get another blaaarrg up online before then to let you all know where I'll be and when.
So until then...