Game centers in Japan are making arcade-game-playing more comfortable for senior citizens and retirees. Almost a fourth of Japan’s population is over the age of 65, and amusement arcade operators are making changes to better accommodate the elderly.
A popular game among seniors is the "medal game" in which coins or tokens dropped into the machine may eventually push jackpot coins over the inner rim and out to the player.
Namcoland Aeon in Kyoto has access restrictions. Those age 15 and under cannot enter after 6:00 P.M. unless accompanied by an adult, and anyone age 18 and under must be accompanied by an adult in order to play a medal game in its "medal corner". The arcade’s theme is "Amusements for three generations."
Namcoland Aeon’s aisles are wider to accommodate strollers and wheelchairs, there are no steps or other barriers, there are more chairs, and the outlet is easy to access from street level.
The in-store sound system volume has been lowered to make it easier for the elderly to hear and the text size has been enlarged on signs and displays.
The Namcoland Aeon staff has been instructed to speak clearly and to make the medal games more user friendly.
Some Adores game centers offer complimentary tea and sweets to customers over age 60 before 10 a.m. Free medal game credits to customers over the age of 60 are also offered by some Adores outlets. The chain also lends out blankets, gloves for wearing while playing medal games, and, if it’s started raining while the customer is inside, umbrellas, if the customer doesn’t have one for the return home.
Some of Konami’s latest arcade games have instructions in larger type to aid readability for senior citizens. Game instructions are also clearly indicated on the machines.
Many game centers have installed massage chairs, and provide reading glasses to customers upon request.
Other retail businesses are catering to the elderly market. The Ueshima coffee shops in Tokyo offers wider aisles an lower tables than the typical Starbucks, and Keio department store provides more chairs, and larger text on signs.
photos: wheelchair; crane games; taito-station; horse racing game; massage chairs.