MiniMail: Kotaku's Brian Ashcraft
19 January, 2009
Kotaku is sick. De gasten achter deze videogamessite pakken miljoenen pageviews per maand. Get that? Miljoenen. Een van de mensen die Kotaku vult met postings is Brian Ashcraft.
Hij woont in Japan, nog steeds dé spot voor computerspelletjesfans en gasten met andere afwijkingen. Daar schreef hij ook Arcade Mania, over de videogame arcade scene in dat land. Gaaf.
How did you end up in Japan?
'I'd always been interested in Japan -- ever since I was a little kid. I grew up playing video games and was intrigued by the country responsible for all the game titles I loved. After college, I visited Japan. First I went to Tokyo and I stayed there for about a month. I didn't really like the city.'
'After that I went to Osaka. I fell in love with Osaka as a city. It's truly a great city with a great personality and delicious food -- the best food in the country in my opinion. So, I stayed. I was planning on staying for three months or so. Now, it's been almost 8 years.'
Is it difficult to uphold Japanse arcade etiquette? Any silly examples?
'I think if you can follow basic Japanese etiquette, then arcade etiquette isn't so hard. It's all about being polite. So if you are smoking, and someone sits down at the cabinet next to you and isn't smoking, the polite thing to do is extinguish your cigarette. Now, not everyone does this, but that's the polite thing to do. That's stretches across society as well.'
'Other good guidelines include not looking at your competitor you're fighting in a fighting game. In Japanese arcades, fighting game cabinets are placed back-to-back. You cannot see the player you are fighting, and it's considered bad manners to look over the cabinet and see the player whose ass you are kicking -- or who is kicking your ass for that matter.'
'One nice thing about SEGA arcades is that the staff has moist disposable hand towels -- like the kind you get in restaurants. That way players can wipe off their hands before and after playing. It's probably a good way from spreading things like the common cold.'
What's the worst thing you've ever done during a vs match?
'Hrm... Lost, I guess!'
What's the most surprising thing you've learned after writing Arcade Mania?
'The most surprising thing was how eager and willing Japanese arcade game developers were to talk to me. They were more than happy to be interviewed. The same thing goes for arcade game players. I was a little worried that it might be hard to interview them, but they were all very excited to talk arcade gaming. It was a great experience.'
In Japan, videogames seem more socially accepted. Have you ever chatted up a Japanse girl into bed just by discussing the underlying sexual themes in Sonic games?
'Funny thing, I think on my second or third date with my wife, we went and bought video games. That was the date -- going to the game retailer together, picking out games and then playing them.'
'Granted, there are people in Japan who do not approve of video games -- maybe, they even look down on them. However, since some many Japanese companies make video games, and home console games and arcade games are really a big industry in Japan, I do think people are more accepting, perhaps.'
'By that token, it's not totally unusual to hear about housewives staying up all night to finish "Dragon Quest.'
Kotaku is one of the biggest game sites on this planet. But is it still fun for you to do?
'It's a blast. I really enjoy the other writers I work with. They're all super talented and very funny. I enjoy that every day we have the chance to break news and post interesting things -- and, well, to have fun. Writing about video games is a damn good time.'
Oh and how do you like your Street Fighter games: with a good pad or arcade stick?
'Arcade stick, no doubt. Those games were designed for sticks and should be played with sticks. Same is true for shoot 'em ups from Cave. They need to be played with a stick to be appreciated fully.'