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Pachinko Parlors: Too Awful to Miss
You must venture into one of Tokyo's many pachinko parlors to experience the awfulness firsthand. Inside the boxy, fluorescent-lit space the bad music, cigarette smoke, metallic din of the machines, full-blast air-conditioning and endless flashing lights will assault your senses. View the rows of spiral-eyed, chain-smoking husks of people cemented to their chairs, transfixed by the three-dimensional contrived worlds before them. Pachinko is a mechanical game originating in Japan and is used as both a form of recreational arcade game and much more frequently as a gambling device, filling a Japanese gambling niche comparable to that of the slot machine in Western gaming. A pachinko machine resembles a vertical pinball machine, but has no flippers and uses a large number of small balls. The player fires balls into the machine, which then cascade down through a dense forest of pins. If the balls go into certain locations, they may be captured and sequences of events may be triggered that result in more balls being released. The object of the game is to capture as many balls as possible. These balls can then be exchanged for prizes. It's hell on earth.
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