I was thinking the same thing. The last time I was back in Taiwan, 13 years ago, it was the same situation as it is now. My understanding of it is that they wanted to cut down on the number of slot machine type video entertainment, so they banned all video based entertainment, including arcade games. There are still a couple of places you can get your fix, though. I have a good nose for semi burnt pcb board smell and can smell an arcade when I am nearby. Must be from the time in 1981 when they banned video gaming machines (wonder how many times they banned it as I know of 3 separate attempts) and my dad and his friends put together Galaga, Pac-Man, and Dig Dug in the back of our shop. Good money building those things. Enough to bring us to America.
Sidetracked…So the places I have found. They are all in the Taipei area with the exception of two in Taoyuan since they are not as rare in the south. Please excuse the desciptions of the directions. If you follow them to the T, you will find them…I just don’t know their addresses.
ZhongXiao E Rd in the alley on the north side of the street. The number of the unit on ZhongXiao should be around 180-190 as it is near the club Luxy, where I was going there when I found the arcade. If you are actually on the north side of ZhongXiao E Rd and find the Starbucks or Luxy in the rear, go through the walkway into the alley behind and turn left. Right past the parking lot, you should see it on your left. Coming from the west, when you see some kind of friend chicken shop that I never heard of, go down the alley in front of you and turn right. Its right there. I think its been a month since I was down there and they had the typically asian arcade fare of primarily some versions of King of Fighters, 2 Tekken 6, 4 linked…forgot the name, that street racing game that just has you going around on Tokyo freeways, 4 linked Intial D 4’s, and some “gaming” machines. Don’t know why they mixed because I think the only pachinko parlor in Taipei is right next door.
Don’t know if this one is still there since its been about 8 months since I have been. At the Guting MRT station, forgot the exit, but its right across the street from the True Fitness on Heping W Rd. Its a hotel, and at the far left of the building if you are facing it, there is a bakery. Go down the hallway past the bakery and past the light color facade, you’ll see a concrete walled room. Nice place since its open at 10am for the nearby Shi-Da U students. Favorite thing about the place…it also contains the frieght/service elevators for the hotel above. That’s where the “professional” workers from the hotel above enter/exit. Lost about 50NT just being distracted by the cute girls walking through. Don’t know what floats your boat, but I don’t go there for the video games since I am not a fan of King of Fighers and that’s about all they have besides some really old games and some Playstation2’s that are coin operated. Ahhh…memories of the summer before junior high in Taiwan, 10NT for 15-30minutes of NES (not snes) and a cigarette. Wish I was still 12 again.
This one is the easiest, the Shilin Night Market. There are video games inside the main night market building on the south (left side in your are facing it from the MRT). Just go down the aisles and you’ll find it. Keep walking around as there are several stands spread out in the immediate area. Pretty up to date. Also, there is shopping plaza west of the main building. If you are facing the front of the main building from the MRT side, turn right and cross the street. Immediately made a left down the street until you come to this indoor shopping plaza that contains a McDonald’s. Go to B1 and you’ll see it. Word of warning, there are two arcades here. The one directly in front of you as you come down the escalators and the one to the left. They are two different entities, thus, they use two different types of tokens. I brought some nephews and nieces one time and they had a 500NT for 1000NT special, but I couldn’t use it at both places. Also, the games there are sort of dated…Sega Rally?. I think I WAS 12 when it came out.
Another easy one if you live near Taoyuan. The Tonglin Department Store near the Taoyuan train station. On the 9th floor. Typical non Taipei setup, I assume. Casino in the middle, video games all around. Good up to date games along with a lot of oldies. Battle Gear 4! Physics are different, don’t like it.
Another one in Taoyuan, (I live in Linkou so these are close by) the TaiMall. The 6th floor. Just walk around and you’ll find it. Most of the floor is a children’s play area. There’s a giant one on the east side of the building. I sort of remember the color of the walls of the arcade being orange as opposed to blue for the kids area. If you see a knife shop, the arcade is right next to it. (only in Taiwan will one be allowed to open a knife shop next to a children’s play area…I love it here). I believe its a Dave & Busters (you’ll know if you are from the US) transplant as I saw several of the machines with D&B stickers. That being said, the game selection is pretty bad, but it cures my fix when my thumbs are tired from my console and I switch to my index and middle finger button mashing.
I know there is one more somewhere in Taipei, but I just can’t think of it. It was a hole in the wall anyways with only 3 or 4 machines. Just wander around and I am sure you’ll find more. They have to put up some arcade games to front for the casino. I forgot to mention, there’s a casino in the TaiMall as well, its a side room separate from the arcade. If I see anymore, I’ll post them here. Maoman, I want to hear the actual reason they are so rare these days. My description was what I was told from relatives.