Bandai Namco isn't done with Japanese arcades despite the pandemic
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Ask any gamer from the '80s, '90s, and even early 2000's about arcades, and they'll probably tell you all about the hours they spent there or begged their parents to let them go to one. In a world of constant change, old school arcades have virtually died out across the globe or evolved into gaming lounges. However, Japan has held on tight to that part of gaming culture.
The vanishing of arcades wasn't due to any one factor, but the ability of fans to enjoy home consoles with expansive libraries in the comfort of their home probably did the most damage. Not everyone had an arcade in their neighborhood, so owning your own Playstation or Nintendo meant you didn't have to go on long commutes. Some gamers even rotated between multiple arcades for a particular title or the community found there.
Bandai Namco announced a few days ago that it's arcade game, Tekken 7: Fated Retribution 2, will be getting a new update that will bring the console version's Season 3 content to the gaming cabinet. First announced late last year, the update was scheduled for Spring 2020 (March-May), but then the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) hit.
アーケード『鉄拳7 FATED RETRIBUTION ROUND 2』が6月23日(火)に大型アップデート予定！— 【公式】鉄拳７ ＠鉄拳プロジェクト (@TEKKEN_Project) June 2, 2020
再び始まる熱きバトルに備えよ！#鉄拳7FR_R2 #鉄拳7 pic.twitter.com/Ng8br47lDk
Arcade fans can expect Zafina, Leroy Smith, Ganryu, and Fahkumram to join the roster, but not much else was shared about the update. It'll be available from June 23, which shows their confidence that arcades across the country should be back in operation once more.
Japan was hard hit by the pandemic, forcing the government to declare a national emergency that put the country into what it called "Lockdown Lite," on April 7. Japan's unique proposition did not implement a mandatory stay-at-home policy with penalties, but instead, asked its citizens and businesses to avoid the "three C's" (crowded places, closed spaces, and close contact).
Despite having a busy train network and a large population of elderly, the land of the rising sun was able to flatten the curve, gradually easing restrictions in 42 out of 47 prefectures. Within six weeks, the state of emergency was called off entirely, but things haven't gone back to normal. They probably never will.
Arcades across the country shuttered their doors during the state of emergency, and popular establishments like Takadanobaba Mikado Game Center, Play Spot Big One 2nd, and Game Newton suffered dearly for it. With a running cost of ¥20,000,000 and no source of income, Mikado turned to crowdfunding to help keep the lights on, and like it always does, the gaming community came together to help raise over ¥37,000,000. In appreciation, Mikado is rewarding backers with game coupons that they can use in the arcade.
Arcades gave birth to the FGC, acting as the home base for many fans that grew to become the pillars of an ever-growing community of fans, players, and enthusiasts. So it's no surprise that many community leaders like jiyuna and MajinObama were able to rally the community to support these arcades' crowdfunding programs.
Although Negan is still conspicuously missing from Tekken 7: Fated Retribution Round 2, the new update is an exciting addition for arcade fans. Oh, and the next time someone says arcades are dead, just point them to Japan.