I got back last week and was all over the country. In general, most arcades I saw — the legitimate ones with candy cabinets — were dirty and unclean. Dudes leave their cigarettes and food and junk on the controls, and no one bothers to clean it up. Many CRTs have bad geometry, color distortion, and burn-in. If nothing else, everything is cheap — the most "expensive" places are 1 yuan per play, and I've found some places that were as low as 0.5 yuan per play. I guess that makes up for the nastiness!
Here are the trends I observed:
- Every legitimate arcade has several full OutRun 2 cabinets (with the two-seat model car) and always King of Fighers '97, sometimes '98. Most places have posters with KoF characters plastered all over the walls. Other iterations of the series are less common
- IGS games are very common. I dunno their names because they're all in wing wangs, but they all seem to be beat 'em ups based upon Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Googling it, they're probably games in the Sān Guó Zhàn Jì (三国战纪) series
- Some arcades had some CAVE games. I saw Deathsmiles, DoDonPachi, and Espgaluda II. As a noob, I sucked hard at all of them and had to endure taunts from my bored girlfriend every time I died a quick death. Maybe I will blame the cigarette-stained equipment
- The crappier arcades had these 240p games hooked up to LCD monitors, stretched widescreen and all that. I kept away for fear of vomiting