Otaku USA Magazine

The Mad Gamer (R) and co. play some “hot licks” while vintage boom boxes graze on the sound waves.

Document two: “The Poison Spider Mansion Ambush”

I’m thanking my lucky stars. I’m praying to a pantheon of dark gods that don’t even exist and hopefully never will. I’m way past living on a prayer and currently skirting by on pure bald-faced stupidity. That’s because…

I accidentally poured a bunch of water directly into my laptop. It was an accident, one that has taught me a very important life-lesson: don’t put your precious computational device in the sink because you might forget about it and start running the water immediately after. Such are the wages of working out of a tiny bathroom somewhere on the fringes of Tokyo, Japan…
Given the state of the weather here, with temperatures now in the high 90s, you’d think the little bugger could have been thankful for some liquid refreshment, but no. Once the water hit the left side of the circuit board, my trusty Sony Vaio quickly shut down of its own accord and just lay there silently, while I began hopping around and screaming in sheer white-knuckled terror making a gallery of faces fit for a Kazuo Umezu horror comic.
The problem: A dead computer in Tokyo would spell disaster of BP oil spill-like proportions for my so-called-career. For starters, I’d have to scrap my planned Power Point presentation at Meiji University and start all over again, perhaps using non-electrical devices such as crayons and sock puppets.

A battle damaged DJ L?K?0 (L) faces off against DJ Hanger (R) in an epic DJ Hero clash of destiny.

Also, this diary, only just begun, would come to a premature and crashing halt. I wouldn’t be able to tell you about the guy wearing the skull-print ski mask and the vintage Atari wristband from the event known as the “Foreign Videogame Rock Festival 2010.”

This is a semi-annual event held at the Acid Panda Café in Tokyo’s Jiyugaoka ward where assorted TV-game crazed souls crowd into a tiny bar to play the likes of rare-in-Japan Xbox 360 titles such as Rock Band, DJ Hero, and Tony Hawk: Ride. I guess it would be sort of like if we held a “Japanese Game Night” and only played Ryu ga gotoku Kenzan, Super Robot Wars, or any number of only-in-Japan pachinko games (which some of you are probably doing right now).

The players themselves includes the likes of underground musicians DJ Hanger and DJ L?K?0 who mounted a pair of tiny plastic turntables for a DJ Hero battle. Weekly Famitsu magazine’s own masked Mad Gamer lead an attack on the Metallica songbook on Expert mode, and Mandokoro—of nerdcore techno unit Leopaldon—displayed some fine “sidewalk surfing” moves on his virtual skateboard.

Several Japanese game industry members were also in attendance, but their true identities must remain secret, lest corporate espionage result. One of them was a man who had traded in his usual salaryman attire for a skull-print mask and zombie t-shirt, proving once and for all that nothing spells rest and relaxation away from the office than some good old-fashioned death imagery.

Alas, I was not the only foreigner at this event! I was introduced to a former English teacher who was recently hired by a Japanese game company taking a breather before taking the big trip to San Diego Comic Con. I guess dreams really do come true for game nerds who wish upon a star and get the heck out of their home countries. As “It’s a Small World” began to echo in my subconscious, he told me that he’d actually attended the Anime Weekend Atlanta convention several times before in its formative years, but our bonding ceased when I found out he’d had Paschal’s famed soul food and fried chicken at the Atlanta airport.

Citizens of Cyber City are forced to wear these explosive armbands under pain of death.

But the merest mention of air travel reminded me that I was still in the clutches of serious jetlag, so I said my goodbyes to this intriguing “foreign game” affair to catch the last train home in the hopes that I wouldn’t pass out along the way. I didn’t, but I was soon pouring water into my laptop, so who’s to say I got off easy?

The good news is that my computer decided to kindly start working again, after I left it alone to dry for 4+ plus hours in the blazing afternoon sun. But my battles in Tokyo without honor and humidity had just begun…

Patrick Macias is the editor in chief of Otaku USA magazine. His blog can be found online at www.patrickmacias.blogs.com.