As a kid, Shanghaiist was a video arcade fiend. Looking fondly back on that Golden Age of video game entertainment, plenty of hard earned allowance and Chinese New Year money would have been better off being saved in a bank account rather than being flushed down a coin slot. The Mortal Kombat bloodlust was just too strong to resist! Remember that ego-inflating boost of self-esteem that came with whupping someone’s ass for only 25 cents? If you are in need of a reminder, then it would be wise to make your way to the newly opened Sega Player’s Arena in People’s Square (as previously mentioned).
Although the cost to play an average arcade game has gone up a little bit since childhood (games average 5 to 10 RMB per go), this arcade is indeed worth it for those in need of a quick adrenaline boost. Spread out between two levels of in-mall madness, the brand new Player’s Arena is a shiny futuristic funworld perfect for wasting time and money. If you are unfortunate enough to have to take the kiddies along with you, there is a separate area filled with those ticket-spewing machines that can be redeemed for garbage prizes. This should keep them occupied as you, a grown adult, proceed to plop down a good chunk of your weekly salary on a pixelated getaway. It’s probably a lot more worthwhile than wasting money outright at Madame Tussauds (located on the floor above the Arena).
The arena itself is neatly organized into sections, such as the aforementioned kiddie ticket world, the self-explanatory “Music & Guns” area, Car Racing land and a zone filled with sports-related physical action games (like boxing, horse racing, baseball pitching, and soccer goal kicking) that require a bit of muscle and sweat to play. There’s even a mechanized half-pipe for all you flunkie X-game wannabes. But regardless of whether you prefer DDR, air hockey, or skee-ball, one game reigns supreme.
The Formula 1 racing ride costs a hefty 40 RMB to play, requires a seat belt, comes with an emergency “Quit” button and might leave you sweaty and out of breath. That should be enough to sell it. Each player sits in a close-to-life-sized F1 racecar that faces a huge video screen that envelops the driver. You are basically inside the game. Since Shanghaiist has never actually been in a racecar, there’s no way to be certain of how lifelike this ride is. But when time is up and you unstrap yourself and step down wobbly-kneed from the race platform in a cold sweat, your increased heart rate and need for speed will have you promptly returning to the service area to add money to your game card. Don’t fight it, just take that hard-earned money and get lost in the simulated excitement.
Sega Player’s Arena, 8th and 9th Floor, New World Mall (corner of Nanjing Lu and Xizang Lu, People’s Square), Open until 10 pm, 100 RMB minimum game card purchase (80 to spend, 20 for card deposit, returned when you leave the arena).
Image of a pre-Sega hedgehog from hedgehogcentral.com.