Nintendo Fans Flock to Tokyo Gaming Parties

"I heard this was the mecca." That's how a petite 24-year-old woman—a self-described infrequent gamer—explained her decision to grab her Nintendo DS gaming console and head to the Yodobashi Camera store in Tokyo's Akihabara electronics district one recent Sunday afternoon. Her idea of mecca: On the sidewalk near the store entrance, more than 150 people playing Dragon Quest IX: Hoshizora no Mamoribito ("protector of the starry skies"), a game of monsters, swords, and dungeons, on portable DS consoles.

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