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Taito Station Is A Claw Machine Utopia

Oct 11, 2019 | 09:54 Fri
Photos: Brandon McGhee
Taito Station, the biggest arcade games chain store in Japan, the creator behind all-time favorites like Space Invaders and Bubble Bobble, has opened its first spot in Shanghai. Not nearly as big as its world famous six-floor game center in Akihabara, it still promises plenty of gaudy, fluffy fun for fans of claw games. We went to pluck victory from the fluffy jaws of defeat with the robotic hand of God. The Claw! The Claw is our master! It decides who will go and who will stay!

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So far, this is the only one in the country. Tucked inside the first floor of Parkson on Huaihai Zhong Lu, the space is entirely taken up by two rows of crane game machines, glittering in red and pink, and so, so much fluffy cuteness. Tempting.

Taito Station Shanghai

Taito Station Shanghai

Lot of stuffed toys you'll only find here, like Slime from the RPG Dragon Warrior. The biggest Slime sits in a lucky roulette (not when we went back for pictures, so they must rotate), where you pressing a spinning button where the support strut comes in, so that they snap back and release the prize into the prize hole.

Taito Station Shanghai

Almost all their machines can be paid for through WeChat. Unlike the reasonably priced Japanese centers, this claw-machine-only Taito Station is quite costly. Each token is 5rmb, which gives you one shot at your cutey-wootey quarry. The hand-written window stickers say "super easy to catch." A blatant, almost criminal lie. Any veteran arcade gamer will tell you that claw machines take many, many tries. Careful, or you'll blow through your lunch money in no time.

Taito Station Shanghai

Taito Station Shanghai

Taito Station Shanghai

In that way, Taito Station is teaching us about life. Patience. Perseverance. Risk assessment. Knowing when to cut your losses, and when to try just one more time. Most importantly, we learn that it's never as easy as the label says.

TELL EVERYONE

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