The best Sega arcade games, as featured in ‘Yakuza’

gRowing as a hardcore Sega fanboy, it was a sad day when I learned that the Japanese company would be exiting the console market to become a third-party publisher after the failures of the Saturn and Dreamcast. But the news that he is now leaving the arcade company that made his name 56 years ago seems even more profound – the true end of a golden age.

Ultimately, the impact of this news will be much more visible in Japan where the big blue Sega logo has graced arcade centers across the country for decades, all of which are about to be renamed GiGO – du least whoever new owners Genda intends to keep. open.

Still, if it makes you daydream of Sega’s arcade of yesteryear, luckily that era lives on. Yakuza series, as well as its spin-off Judgement. As well as being known for their gritty melodrama, crunchy action, and wacky humor, these games have always offered an authentic slice of Japanese culture to virtual tourists, with the streets of Kamurocho changing over time as much as its real-life counterpart Kabukicho. . Including the Club Sega arcades as well, I guess you could say they preserve that history as well.

Although we don’t know what these new developments mean for the future. Yakuza games, here are some of the best arcade games you should play in the Yakuza series, if only to get a taste of the good old days of Sega’s blue sky coins. Also, a fun fact: the big Club Sega on Kamurocho’s Theater Square (pictured above) is actually the site of the Humax Pavilion Shinjuku complex in real life, so who’s to say Club Sega can’t live in virtual fiction?

out run

OutRun by Yakuza. Credit: Sega

Select the track of your choice on the radio (I’ll have “Magical Sound Shower”) and soar into Yu Suzuki’s sunny masterpiece. out run was less of a racing game and more of a driving game that wants you to enjoy the experience in luxurious style as you get behind the wheel of a Ferrari Testarossa Spider with your infamous blond passenger in the seat next to you . Even if you don’t manage to reach the end before the time runs out and fool yourself by crashing the car, ultimately it’s all about the journey, with multiple routes to take for each ride. A classic that defined the 80s, it’s no surprise that it features in Yakuza 0.

Playable in Yakuza 0, Yakuza 6, Yakuza: Like A Dragon and Judgment (PS5/Xbox Series X|S).

Virtual Fighter 2

Virtual Fighter 2
Virtua Fighter 2 from Yakuza. Credit: Sega

While Club Sega hubs have been present in all Yakuza titles from the start, early entries were fairly light on minigame content. It is only with the development of Yakuza 5 that Sega started including real playable arcade games. One of them was Bandai Namco’s famous Japanese drum arcade light Taiko No Tatsujinthe other was another Yu Suzuki masterpiece, Virtual Fighter 2.

The first one virtual fighter may have pioneered 3D polygon fighting games, but its sequel was far superior: far more graphically impressive than its low-poly predecessor running at double the frame rate at 60FPS, one of the first games to use advanced motion capture techniques, and just technically deeper gameplay than rivals like tekken. Fighting games dominated Japanese arcades in the 90s and Virtua Fighter 2 was the apex predator.

Playable in Yakuza Kiwami 2, Yakuza 5, Yakuza: Like A Dragon and Judgment (PS5/Xbox Series X|S).


PuyoPuyo. Credit: Sega

Tetris may be the world famous puzzle, but in Japan, PuyoPuyo is king, a puzzler built with competition at its heart as you aim to pop as many titular bean-shaped things, unleashing a dizzying chain of combos that sends more trash Puyo on your opponent’s screen. Its inclusion in Yakuza 6 was just shortly after the puzzle began to gain more international attention following the release of puzzle mash-up Puyo Puyo Tetrisand therefore features the same modern visuals rather than the classic look of the Puyo Puyo 2 cabinets that you are more likely to find in a Japanese arcade. However, this dependence Puyo gameplay remains intact.

Playable in Yakuza 6 and Judgment (PS4).

Motorized Raid

Motorized Raid
Judgment Motor Raid. Credit: Sega

Think road rash with a tron aesthetic and you have Motorized Raid, a neon-soaked futuristic racer quite different from Sega’s more realistic racers like Sega Rally and Manx TT Superbike, not to mention the fact that you can smash opponents or knock them out of your way with melee weapons. Besides racing against the clock, where you finish also affects where you end up racing, with only the best able to race on a secret planet under the eyes of a great Sonic statue.

You’d be forgiven for only hearing of Motorized Raid since it never had a home base when it was released in arcades in the late 90s, so thank goodness Sega chose to preserve it and delight new audiences, not forgetting to leave the detective Yagami romp.

Playable in Judgment and Lost Judgment.


Yakuza ToyLets
Yakuza ToyLets. Credit: Sega

When it comes to Sega’s mining history, here’s one of its weirdest. Around 2011, the company tested ToyLetsa collection of interactive mini-games set in public urinals – in other words, guys, a game controlled by the power of your piss.

Obviously Yakuza Kiwami 2 only simulates this via QTE-style commands, but it still incorporates two real mini-games. One has you compete against the previous player’s score (ghost pissing?), depicted onscreen as two players blowing milk through their noses and seeing who gets blown out of a sumo ring, and the other uses the force of your urine to mimic the force of a wicked wind trying to blow off a woman’s dress. Oh, and before you pitch it as something that’s just “weird Japan”, the UK apparently has a few similar interactive urinals, and the whole concept was actually featured in a UK online magazine called Yanko Design.

Playable in Yakuza Kiwami 2.

sonic the fighters

sonic the fighters
Sonic the Judgment Fighters. Credit: Sega

Did you know the blue blur had its own fighting game? Previous Super Smash Bros. a few years from now, sonic the fighters (also known as Sonic Championship) was a cartoony low-poly fighting spin-off started by none other than arcade maestro Yu Suzuki himself, though it was far from hitting the bar of virtual fighter.

Nonetheless, it was significant in some ways as it was the first game to feature Sonic properly 3D modeled, and even much of his moveset was implemented for his character in Super Smash Bros Brawl and the following entries. Whether or not you consider it a lost gem (or an emerald), its inclusion in judgment lost coincided with the hedgehog’s 30th anniversary.

Playable in Lost Judgement.

Kamuro of the dead

This one is a bit of a cheat because it’s not a real arcade game, nor the first fictional arcade game in the Yakuza series – that honor goes to sci-fi shoot-em-up Boxcelios from Yakuza 3. Nevertheless, Kamuro of the Dead is a rail shooter in the style of the classic The House Of The Dead series (a game I wasted a lot of coins on after school) but using the strengths of a zero zombie spin-off Yakuza: Dead Souls.

Of course, you have to play with a cursor rather than a real light gun – a technology that all but disappeared once CRT screens disappeared – but it still captures the spirit of these games as you’re overwhelmed by hordes and bosses where you fight with precision and a shaky camera. Heck, that was enough of a hit to warrant a sequel, Hama of the Dead.

Playable in Trials.

All of these Yakuza (and Judgment) games are available now.

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