Game Market 1983 - Chapter 42





“You want to try this one?”

“Yes, do you want to do it with me, Mr. Junhyuk?”

“No, I’ll just be looking.”

She left her bag in the basket beside her and inserted 100 Yen into the coin slot of the machine.

Simulation machines tend to be more expensive than regular arcade machines. I can understand why NEGA makes a sizable income from these….

As she pushed the throttle for the motorcycle simulator, the game began.

I crossed my arms and watched Yuki play.

Hmm~ A simulation game… NEGA definitely has a firm standing in arcades.

The reason why NEGA hadn’t faced bankruptcy was because of their foundation in the arcade industry.

NEGA was the pioneer in these types of simulation games where players could experience — first hand — real life simulations. On top of that, they had also invented the prize-claw machine which further boosted their revenue by a tremendous amount.

‘It’s no wonder why President Yamaguchi would be interested in this field. However, the cost for the initial infrastructure is too high, and per Mr. Gunpei and Mr. Shigeru’s predictions, this market would rapidly fall to the ground as home entertainment systems become more developed. It’s logical that he wouldn’t invest too much money.’

“Ah~ I was so close… I was only a few feet away from a checkpoint…”

These types of simulation racing games were designed to go on to the next stage after one reached the current checkpoint, resulting in a high coin consumption rate. I made a regretful expression on my face and handed Yuki her bag as I inquired.

“But you were pretty good? Ranking 8th on the scoreboard is amazing?”

“I’m pretty good, right? Ah~!! There’s an available seat over there.”

Yuki scurried over to the rather plain-looking machine and called out to me.

“Shall we try this out together?”

“Mmm?”

Ding~ Ding~ Ding~

BamBaBam BamBaBam BamBamBamBaBam~ BabaBam…

There was a certain background music that was currently trending with people on the streets humming the tune.

This addictive tune was from the game center entrance in the town; it had a peculiar rhythm to it that made people unable to forget once they heard it.

The main character of this crazy background music was a creation made from Japan’s Daido Soft called the Bubble Boggle… But it was called the Boggle Boggle back in my country… It was explicitly written in the title as Bubble Boggle too…

I didn’t know why bubbles were coming out of the little dragon’s mouth instead of fire… Anyways, the playstyle of this game was to defeat your enemies by entrapping them in a bubble and popping it.

If the player took too long, a whale-ghost would appear to end the player while the background music would simultaneously change to one with a fast pace and make sweat exude from one’s hands.

Furthermore, the character could be enhanced by eating various items, such as shoes and candy, and there were many instances of allied players betraying each other to get those items.

Yuki covered her skirt with her jacket while pulling over a chair and sat on it.

As I had no choice but to sit down on the Player Two seat, Yuki grinned and spoke.

“Should we have a little competition over the game? The loser will have to grant one wish from the winner.”

We each amiably inserted the 50 Yen coin together and began the game.

There were 100 stages in the game which grew progressively harder the higher one went; honestly speaking, a boring sense of repetition would set in after stage 50.

However, it was a different story if we were betting on fulfilling wishes. Yuki and I furiously started tapping the buttons to defeat as many enemies as possible.

“Uh?”

Yuki’s playstyle was demonically impish. As soon as I expended the effort to entrap the enemies in a bubble, she would dash over like a ghost and take care of them all. Not to mention, she even picked up all the banana and strawberry item drops after clearing the stage to increase her score even more.

“Miss Yuki… You’ve clearly played this many times before?”

“Number 1 on the leaderboard is me~”

If leading me to this Game Center was the first trap, would this be the second? Then I definitely can’t lose here!! I immediately changed my playstyle and dominated with my presence by kill-stealing all of Yuki’s would-be prey.

In Bubble Boggle, I was able to hop over bubbles by timing my jumps within one frame, so I continuously pressed the jump button. At that moment, the boot item luckily dropped from above me. This item gives a 1.5x speed boost~!!

Yuki rushed over after seeing the boot drop, but she didn’t stand a chance.

“Ah, being selfish~!!”

“Where’s the selfishness in trying to win a competition~”

After acquiring the massive speed boost from the boots, I was able to pop every single enemy that Yuki had imprisoned. Wow~ I had completely forgotten about this game, but Bubble Boggle is extremely fun~!!

When I was young, I had almost gotten chased out of the store by reaching stage 100 with only the initial 50 Won fee, keke…

After remembering this memory, I chortled out loud to myself.

“Oh!! Candy~!!”

“Mine.”

“Argh!!”

Yuki was situated ahead of me at the start, but thanks to my wonderful boots, I quickly passed her and ate the candy. Eating a candy had the effect of increasing the range of shooting the bubbles~!!

After my consumption of the candy & boots, my blue dinosaur was no different from a peerless martial arts master. At stage 20, the difference in score between Yuki and I was over 1,000.

“I think it’s pretty much over now~ Miss Yuki~”

“Hnngh, I will never give up. Just you watch, I will definitely win~!!”

What kind of a personality is this? Her entire personality took a wild 180 degree turn after taking a hold of the steering wheel.

At that moment, the boot item descended from the sky once again and landed on the stage.

“Ah!! Boots!!”

“Mine.”

“You already have one, Mr. Junhyuk!!”

The system would add an additional 1000 points to your score after eating a second boot~ I rapidly ran over and snatched Yuki’s would-be boots. This was a little shameless even by my standards~ She couldn’t possibly turn mad over a game, would she?

As I discreetly lifted my head up to look at Yuki, she was also staring back at me with a smile.

I had no clue what sort of a smile that was, but it subtly exuded a feeling of slyness. At the current stage 30, Yuki manipulated the levers to open a secret pathway that directly led to stage 50.

“I haven’t given up yet, alright?”

“Challenging stage 50 without any items would be difficult to say the least.”

“Just you watch.”

Watching Yuki intensely focus on the screen with her lips shut tight was an incredibly cute sight.

I was not the only one thinking this; the surrounding gamers took secretive glances at the scene of Yuki working the levers, and there were even some who stayed behind us to watch.

“Woah~ That guy is playing the game like a complete asshole.”

“Yeah, he’s snatching every single item. What a fucking bastard. Go easy dude, go easy…”

“If I had a chance to play with a girl like that, I would give her all the items…”

No matter if I died from over-consumption and what not~ I was winning fair and square~!!

But… What should I ask Yuki to do after I win? There isn’t much that I could ask of her. If one had to pressure me to the end, I would take her to ‘that’ place that I thought…

Hey, hey~ What am I thinking of, this is only our 2nd date…

While I was lost in thought, something spectacular occurred.

“It’s a cross!!”

At the shout of the man from behind us, Yuki was startled and looked at the screen to see a blue cross fall four blocks from her position.

“Wow, it’s real. I’ve never seen a cross drop in Bubble Boggle before~!!”

Fuck!! No~!! I quickly stepped on the bubbles to head towards the cross drop. I have to eat that no matter what!!!!

“Miss, you can do it! Quickly, jump!!”

If someone else saw this scene, they would think that I was some sort of a devil!! I bit down on my lips and spun the lever to run towards the cross, but Yuki was able to eat it before me by a hair’s breadth. Subsequently, the men who were watching Yuki rose up in a clamor.

“Wow~!!”

The cross being one of the ultimate master piece items in Bubble Boggle with the rarity of a 1:4782 chance of appearing, it was able to turn the attacks of the dinosaur from bubble breaths into fire breaths.

The flames were a powerful weapon that was able to instantly K.O. enemies in one hit. She had a huge advantage over me, who had to first trap the enemies in a bubble.

In the end, with the onslaught of the flames from the cross, Yuki was able to quickly catch up to my score. Until the very end, she did not die even once and cleared the game.

The final score was 92,000 to 89,000. Of course, I was the latter.

“I won~”

She was clapping her hands with a smile on her face as the credits were rolling.

My back was aching so much from playing for over an hour. I’ll just quickly do whatever she wants and go back to my hotel to sleep.

It was past 10 PM when we finally went out of the game center and headed to the subway. The last train was almost here, so there were some people heading to the station as well.

“Tell me what you want. We promised each other to fulfill a wish.”

Yuki took out a small notepad from her handbag and shyly passed it over to me.

“Can you give me your phone number?”

“This is your wish?”

“Yes…”

This… was a completely different face from when she was possessed by a banshee while playing Bubble Boggle earlier. I took her notepad and wrote down my number.

“I usually get off work at around 5 PM, so you can call me anytime after that.”

“I had a lot of fun today, Mr. Junhyuk.”

“Same here. Before I head back to Kyoto tomorrow, are you free to grab a meal with me?”

“Yes~ I’ll be waiting for your call.”

Once we arrived at the Shibuya station, I glanced at my wristwatch and spoke to Yuki.

“I think I’ll be staying in a hotel near here. Go home safely, Miss Yuki.”

“Okay. But Mr. Junhyuk, there is one thing I’m curious about…”

“What is it?”

“If you had won instead, what wish would you have made? It seemed very important…?”

“Ah… That… Mmm… That’s a secret.”

“So it’s an Ah~ That~ Mmm~ secret. But I think I have the general idea.”

“Hh… Hmm…”

As I averted my gaze, Yuki lightly tilted her lips upward and spoke.

“Then, rest well today and we’ll see each other tomorrow.”

“Yes, go home safely.”

A while later. After Yuki disappeared inside the Shibuya station, I rubbed my red face and muttered.

“Ah~ it’s warm, warm…”





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