Equipment For Shooting Gamers

By Alex Kierkegaard / October 24, 2006

At the 44th Amusement Machines Show, back in September, I was fortunate enough to see in person CAVE's Mushihime-sama Futari T-shirts, long rumored to bestow upon their wearer the twin gifts of supernatural reflexes and multi-focusing eyesight. I asked the booth attendants what extraordinary feats of ability I would have to perform to prove I was worthy to receive one of those shirts, fully expecting them to ask me to beat Hibachi and Doom in a row, but it soon became apparent that it was not going to be that easy. They were simply not giving them away, which makes one wonder why they had then bothered to bring along WHOLE STACKS of them in the first place.

I tried several approaches (the clueless foreigner from a distant land; the respected and world-renown videogame journalist; the worshipping fan), but it was all to no avail. Wads of cash would not move them either. At one point I almost screamed out in sheer despair and frustration, mixed in with not a little anger, that "Dude, if you don't sell me one I'll just fucking TAKE it".

I reckon I would have made it too, had I not been wearing Reef sandals, which are not ideal for outrunning CAVE booth staffers and nimble Japanese security guards. (Next year I am wearing a tracksuit and Nikes instead.)

So I gave up, taking solace in the fact that sooner or later I'd probably be able to score a T-shirt off of Yahoo! Auctions Japan -- no doubt for a ridiculous sum of money, but totally worth it considering the enhanced powers I would gain in return.

But in early October CAVE announced that the shirts would be going on sale in Akihabara on the 21st of the month, at that bastion of shooting game awesomeness, Hirose Entertainment Yard, at exactly 10 am. I rejoiced in the knowledge that I'd yet have my chance to score one of those shirts (for the reasonable price of MORE THAN FOUR THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED GODDAMNED YEN), and also come up with a lazy update for my website.

At 8:30 am on the morning of the 21st -- a Saturday -- I woke up from the sound of the alarm clock to a gloriously sunny Tokyo day. My girlfriend groaned in annoyance that I'd awaken her because of some "over-priced shirts from some geeky videogame", but I reassured her that "it's not a geeky videogame you dumb female" and put her back to sleep. Then I showered and had a quick breakfast, and set off in a hurry, mindful to get there at least half an hour before opening time.

Akihabara is not always bustling with shopping-crazed lowlifes you know

But when I got there I realized there would be a bit more waiting to be done, since Hey opens at 10:30 on weekends, and not at 10, as Cave's website monkeys had suggested.


I also discovered, to my extreme surprise, that only two other people were already there waiting. I guess I couldn't be sure whether they were there for the CAVE shirts, but what else would they be doing outside Hey at 9:30 on a Saturday morning?


After a few boring minutes I started looking around for something interesting to write about for my website. I glanced across the street and saw a large crowd lining up outside AsoBitCity, so I went over to investigate.



And sure enough, they were lining up for DSes, and some stupid Pokemon games.


Back outside Hey a third Cave fan had arrived, this one looking decidedly cooler, wearing a worn-out leather jacket, a spike-studded belt, and sipping green tea. I settled down to wait out the remaining half hour.


At that point, a fat man decided to cross the street.


Two more CAVE fans arrived shortly after, looking decidedly gay.


All the while we were all bored out of our tits, but at least the others had cellphones to play with. And no, they weren't playing those crappy ports of CAVE shooters -- I checked.


And then AT LONG LAST, Hey opened and we all rushed in, because you never know, maybe they were only going to be selling three shirts. Download this video to see for yourself the chaos that ensued. Man, it was wild.

HOWEVER, once we reached the second floor everyone dispersed to play games, and only one guy went up to the fourth floor, which is where they would be selling the shirts.


MOREOVER, that guy didn't give a shit about the shirts. He just wanted to use one of the computers there (the place is also a net cafe).

And as it turned out they had several bags of shirts for sale.


I got both designs -- though I had specifically promised myself beforehand I'd only get one -- because I couldn't help myself: they looked soooooo cool, I just had to have both. By the way they only come in two sizes: medium and large, because evidently CAVE fans only come in two sizes.


P.S. If you skipped to the bottom here's the gist of it: I was the first person in the whole world to buy, and of course to wear, one of these shirts.

P.P.S. Just sayin'.