Sounds of an Arcade Game Center

Game Center Akihabara

Last summer I was in Japan and like many tourists I went to an Arcade Game Center when I visited Tokyo. This is a great place for those who are looking for games that will never see elsewhere. But something shocked me just after I entered in the building. This is a really, really, really loud place. Of course I already went in a Game Center in France (ok we can’t compare), it’s a bit loud but when you sit in front of a cabinet you can expect to hear the sound of the game without to much interferences. In Japan the sound is too loud and it’s very hard to focus on the sound of the game without hear the sound from other games. I think the loudness is similar to what we can hear in a nightclub (next time I will bring a sound level meter). And after one hour inside, it was painful for me to stay longer. I think people who stay all the day in a Game Center will be probably deaf in no time.

As sound designer I imagine that it can be disconcerting to hear (or not hear) my work in this environment and unfortunately you can’t control it and it’s crazy to ask to put each machines in a separate room (especially in Japan) just to enjoy the sound. Or maybe we should try those directional speakers mostly used in place like museum. But who wants an amusement place as quiet as a museum?

In bonus, two excerpts of what you can hear in a Game Center : chaotic noise support by random j-pop song. Recorded with my Zoom H2n.

Picture from my friend Sandra