Game Market 1983 - Chapter 54
“Because the production speed of Psychic Battle will be slowed down by the specialty chip, I would have lost the sales race anyways.”
“I would be ahead in sales, yes. But what the players really want would be Psychic Battle; there won’t be any in stock even if they want to buy it.”
That was right. Mr. Shige’s thoughts were exactly what I had in mind. If I couldn’t mass produce the game, I would cultivate its desirability with marketing. A game that would be sold out the day the new batch comes in… How attractive a strategy would that be?
As my lips inadvertently twitched upwards, I hurriedly lifted the beef bow upl to hide my face and wolfed down a spoon.
After the meal.
Shouts were ringing out from the various game shops as we stepped into Akiba again.
“I was the 4th in line; what do you mean you don’t have any more Psychic Battle cartridges?”
“That’s, we’ve only had three Psychic Battle cartridges in stock. But we have a plenty of Dragon Warrior 3 cartridges here.”
“I’ll take one Dragon Warrior 3 then.”
Mr. Shige and I were walking around these shops while observing the current situation. As small shops were only stocked with 2~3 Psychic Battle cartridges, they were sold out almost immediately.
Players who weren’t able to buy a Psychic Battle cartridge were starting to sprint across the station to the shops on the other side. And Mr. Shige and I hastened our footsteps to follow them.
“Excuse me, are there any Psychic Battle cartridges left!?”
“No, they were sold out just a moment ago.”
It was the same situation everywhere. As video game stores weren’t included in major malls yet, there were voices ringing throughout the various alleys of Akiba searching for Psychic Battle. Only the lucky few would successfully purchase a Psychic Battle cartridge, while the rest would not even see the cover of the cartridge case.
“Do you guys have any Psychic Battle cartridges in stock!?”
“Our last customer bought the last cartridge… We’re terribly sorry.”
At that moment. Mr. Shige and I heard a scream coming from the next store we were planning to visit. We stuck our head in to see what was going on and saw one uniformed male student holding a golden ticket from the cartridge. Oh? Someone discovered a golden ticket already?
“A golden ticket?”
Subsequently, another person who seemingly had also bought a Psychic Battle cartridge was shaking the package upside down. However, as the cartridge didn’t contain anything but the manual, he opened his mouth with a dejected face.
“I don’t have it?”
On the other side, the male student who was holding the golden ticket stared intently at it before opening his mouth to read the words on the ticket.
“Congratulations. You have been selected to attend the Psychic Battle event this summer; this ticket will allow you to attend a national convention with other Psychic Battle enthusiasts. There will be a plethora of prizes. We hope to see you there! - Junhyuk Kang, Psychic Battle’s main director.”
“A ticket to an event!? Woah…”
As the male student let out a cry of joy, the envious gazes of everyone in the store shifted to him.
At that moment, one man took out his wallet and spoke to the student.
“Hey there. Do you have any thoughts on selling that ticket to me? I’ll offer you 10,000 Yen. How about it?”
“No thank you.”
He declined the offer instantly.
Of course, the price of the ticket would increase exponentially over the course of a few weeks, so refusing 100 Yens was the wise choice.
One month passed by like this. Predictably enough, there were signs that read ‘Psychic Battle sold out. We are taking in pre-order requests.’ in front of the entrance of various stores. Players must have inquired these stores to the point of interrupting their businesses. And a moment later. An incredulous situation unfolded in front of me.
-I’m buying Psychic Battle cartridges at a premium price-
Various buyers were pitching to buy Psychic Battle cartridges next to the Akihabara station. I predicted that something like this would happen sooner or later, but to think it was happening so soon… After weeks of searching all over the market for a Psychic Battle cartridge, this was their only hope of acquiring a copy. But the more surprising was, the number of these ‘pitchers’ were slowly growing.
“This really is... I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. These people are desperate enough to come out here and pitch to random people in hopes of buying a Psychic Battle cartridge.”Mr. Shige muttered as he stepped out of the smoking area after smoking a joint.
“The release event is approaching soon, and they must be anguished when they can’t buy something even if they have the money. This idea will be tormenting their heads when they’re at home... Hence why these people are out here trying to acquire a copy to play for themselves, no matter how small the chances are.”
“Hoh~ Why didn’t you release more cartridges if you’re pitying these people.”
“I’ll be marketing Psychic Battle with pre orders from this point on.”
“Pre order? What’s that?”
“It’s a process where customers would pay upfront to reserve a spot for the next batch of stock. Since Psychic Battle cartridges require a specialty chip, we’ll have a headache if there are any leftovers. It’s obvious that people will continue to complain with the current situation; that’s why I told shop owners to take pre orders. After a month from now, most people who’d pre ordered a copy should be able to receive it.”
“Huph… You think they’ll be able to wait for a month? This… is truly a blood-draining strategy.”
I grinned slightly in acknowledgement as I led Mr. Shige to the Dragon Warrior 3 event. It was at this moment. Mr. Shige who was following me suddenly stopped and spoke to me with a trembling voice.
“What is it?”
“Look… Look over there, next to the station…”
I turned my head around and saw a huge poster board. And after reading the words on the poster, I doubted my eyes for a moment.
-Buying a Psychic Battle cartridge for 50,000 Yen. Golden tickets for 200,000 Yen.-
Holding up the poster was a person covering his face with a sunglass and a cough mask. But judging by the person’s stature, it was obvious that he was a male highschooler who was offering an outrageous amount for Psychic Battle.
The poor kid was looking at the ground and avoiding people’s gazes as he was holding up his sign.
“He’s young. What has this world gone to…”
Mr. Shige clicked his tongue as he looked at the boy holding the poster. However, I was able to figure out exactly who the kid was.
“Ex...excuse me, Mr. Shige. I need to go to the bathroom…”
I sprinted to a nearby public bathroom and hurriedly took out my Game & Watch. I searched up one individual.
A flood of information about Janice, a famous Japanese celebrity appeared on the Game & Watch display. And I selected the date February 10th, 1988.
“I was right.”
Dragon Warrior 3.
It was a title that swept the nation with 380,000 sales and was hailed as one of the Family console’s top games for a year.
When I was a kid, I was lucky enough to purchase Dragon Warrior 3 as well, which was sold out in a majority of stores , much like the current situation with Psychic Battle. I’d experienced a unique set of fun while playing the game knowing I had what many others immensely desired.
As Mr. Shige and I stepped into the event place, we were greeted with the scene of a bumbling crowd. Models of the purple slime, an iconic mascot of the Dragon Warriors series, were situated in various locations throughout the event. And the statue of the ‘Prince’s Sword’ was set in the middle of the event.
“The Dragon Warrior series is an RPG loved by entire nation after all. This kind of setup should be expected.”
Which would also add to the imagination of the players…
As I was leaving the store after purchasing a Dragon Warrior 3 cartridge, a familiar scene occurred as I met eye to eye with a women.
“Ah! You’re the guy from!!”
She blitzed over to me with a mike in her hand as soon as she spotted me. Mr. Shige who was besides me recognized her face as he spoke to me.
“Isn’t she the reporter from this morning?”
“Yep. Ms. Kachuragi Masato.”
“Oh~ You remembered her name?”
That’ was… How could I not remember her name after my interview with her…
She came up to me with a disapproving look as I awkwardly smiled at her and asked.
“You said you weren’t going to buy a Dragon Warrior cartridge but we’re seeing each other again.”
She was obviously irritated from what I did in our interview. I stared directly at her current self and smiled as I opened my mouth.
“You seem to be upset from our interview earlier.”
“Who..Who said I was upset.”
“Oh? You’re not upset? I wanted to give you a piece of breaking news as an apology…”
“Breaking news? Oh!? What is it!!”
Funnily enough, people working in the news industry all showed the same reaction in response to a breaking news happening. Seeing how she came all the way to Akihabara because of a game release event, there was a very high possibility of her being an intern at the broadcasting station like Yuki. Ms. Masato seemed to be a bit older than Yuki as well, being around the same age as me.
“Why are you staring at me like that? Please tell me what the breaking news is.”
“You sure are impatient. Then can I borrow your ears for a moment?”
“I’m telling you; it’s breaking news. We don’t want this information to leak, do we?”
“Okay…If you say anything weird again, I won’t let you off!”
Misato wore an irritated expression as she leaned her ears to me. As I neared her, Misato seemed to be tickled as her petite shoulders twitched ever so slightly.
“Sakai Masahiro is currently in Akihabara.”
“I said Sakai Masahiro is currently in Akihabara.”
“What are you saying. Why would Sakai-kun be…”
“I’m telling you the truth. I saw him.”
“Rea...lly? Sakai-kun really is in Akiba?”
“Yes. He’s probably standing next to the train station holding a poster board right now.”
The moment I finished my sentence, Misato grabbed the camera who was taking pictures of the interior and disappeared like the wind.”
Her determination can’t be questioned, haha.
Sakai Masahiro was the leader of the idol group, SMEP. They were composed of teen stars who were professionally cultivated by the entertainment company Janice, who was known for taking in middle to high school kids and debuting them as idols.
And the leader of that SMEP was holding a poster next to a train station right now.
As a game enthusiast, Sakai had been an avid fan of the Dragon Warrior series. That must have been the reason why he sneaked out to come to Akihabara. His original plan was to buy the newly released Dragon Warrior 3 and return, but the sudden announcement of Psychic Battle’s release along with not being able to buy its cartridge caused him to hold up a sign next to the station like that…
Psychic Battle, a game that the popular idol group leader, Sakai Masahiro, wanted so much, he held a poster board next to a train station to buy it from a pedestrian…
This story might make the 9PM news if I’m lucky. This could potentially be a game-changing free advertisement for Psychic Battle!!