Death (and Typing) in Tokyo

Eyes squinting, zero light, monsters everywhere, you’re typing for your life. Yeah, you heard me.

The sudden obsessive uptake of a certain competitive typing game called TypeRacer reminded me of a recent visit to Tokyo. You see, it was there that I saw a couple kids playing Sega’s fabulous Typing of the Dead with unusual fervor late one night in Shinjuku.

For those unfamiliar, Typing of the Dead is a refit of the stunningly mediocre shooting game House of the Dead, but where the former provisioned traditional light guns to dispatch monsters, the latter hands you a keyboard. In TOTD, each word you type right blasts a monster, and speed counts — bigtime. That seemingly minor twist makes a boring game brilliant. If you haven’t tried it, you must.

Typing of the Dead has never appeared in arcades outside Japan (it has seen console release stateside). And it was fun to see Japanese players stuck to it like glue when the game really didn’t get much love back home. Good times, particularly since the kids couldn’t stop giggling to themselves as they nonchalantly typed Japanese characters at blinding speed. Competitive typing, cooperative typing. Either way, it’s goofy awesome.

Ah, Japan. And speaking of Japan, where else can you find fresh pastries just outside the door of an arcade?

Holy cow! Has it really been 6 months since I got back from the Asia trip? I’ve got lots of stories to tell. More photos soon!

6 Responses to “Death (and Typing) in Tokyo”


  1. 1 lotuslee

    ah! red bean cakes. one of my favorites since childhood. did you visit the pachinko stores?

    looking forward to more of your stories.

  2. 2 David Simon

    I’ve seen screenshots of a supposed Typing of the Dead sequel, but no information in any language I can read. Know anything more about this?

  3. 3 Jason

    lotuslee: We did go to some pachinko arcades in Akihabara. (In fact, we saw “Pachinko & Slot” signs eeeverywhere.) Interesting scene, but the sound was deafening! My God. How can people stay in there for hours and hours? Thanks for looking forward. I’ll get through those photos yet!

    David: I don’t know much about Typing of the Dead 2 beyond what I’ve seen in the trailer. Looks pretty similar to the original, but I can’t complain about that. :-) IGN says it’ll be out in March and only in Japan. Weak.

  4. 4 Aparna Pappu

    If I go to Japan it will be to hit the malls. Not to shop. Not to window shop. Not to be a mall rat. But to finally go to those basement stores where apparently miles and miles of the most delicate pastries await you.
    I would not bother coming up for air. Ok maybe just to check out if the so called Love Hotels actually exist but thats it.

  5. 5 Jason

    Aparna: Yeah, the basement goodies indeed live up to the hype. There’s miles and miles of that stuff, tons of variety. mmmm… Oh, and the love hotels are totally surreal!

    Wow, you’re bringing it all back now. Such a cool place. Such a different place. We were only there for 3 days — can’t wait to go back for a longer.

  6. 6 Quynh

    The key to the mall basement food is BEAUTIFUL packaging – absolutely delicate looking pastries packaged in the most wonderful wrappings and boxes.

    As for the red bean cakes and custard cakes, I’m really hoping one of those stands will magically appear one day in chinatown … so much better than those bite-size cakes they toast down there now.

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