sabage9sb

After a long, frustrating day of work, there’s nothing better than plopping down in front of your computer or TV and shooting the ever-loving poop out of digitized bad guys. This is, obviously, just an opinion, but it is a common opinion–global video game sales for GTA V, Call of Duty, and Battlefield would certainly seem to support this. But, you know, as much fun as video games are, they’re not exactly great exercise, are they?

And that’s fine, of course! Not every single thing we do everyday has to be healthy. But maybe you’re starting to notice a little pudge around your edges (like me) and are trying to think of the least painful way to get some exercise.

Sure, you could go for a jog, I guess. Or you could head down to Tokyo’s newest airsoft field and shoot some of your friends!

sabage12f

Airsoft, also called “survival game,” is a lot like paintball–you run around shooting your friends and if you get hit, you’re out. However, the “weapons” are a bit different. Airsoft guns are basically fancy BB guns (think of A Christmas Story if you’re not sure) and use pressurized air to shoot pellets. Though the pellets aren’t moving too fast, players wear full body and face covering to protect themselves from getting injured.

▼ A typical survival game outfit. Lens flair optional.

sabage1t

Of course, this might seem like a strange hobby for Japan, after all the country isn’t know for its fondness of firearms. However, while guns are rare in Japan, there are a number of magazines and stores catering to Japanese folks interested in the weapons and military tactics. And even though you may not be able to buy a real gun in Japan without undergoing some serious background checks and classes, you can still get the airsoft version relatively easily. In other words, the game’s popularity in Japan isn’t as strange as it first seems.

▼Hey! The field is no place for a nap!

sabage4

So, how does the game work? Well, the rules tend to vary depending on where and with whom you’re playing, but the basics are usually a capture-the-flag game. While each team runs back and forth attempting to steal the other’s flag, players shoot at each other with the airsoft guns. A single hit, and you’re out regardless of who shot you (friendly fire is on!), so you’ll probably want to avoid the common video game tactic of “run and gun.” Also, players are expected to give themselves up with a “hit call” when they are shot, making honesty a very important part of the game.

▼ Photos of the all-women survival game group Joshi Sabage Bu

sabage8jba

sabage7jba

The game got its start in the 80s when paintball became popular in the United States, but it’s seeing a bit of a boom now, having recently gained a lot of popularity with women as well. A combination of being able to blow off stress shooting people and dress up in fancy gear helps it appeal to nearly everyone! Whether you like video games or cosplay, there’s a good chance that you’ll have fun with a few rounds of survival game on the weekend.

▼Halloween Survival Game! Where cuteness meets horror!

sabage3

But there’s one problem! If you happen to live in a major city (like Tokyo), you generally have to travel an hour or so into the country to get to a field. While this can be a bit frustrating, it does make sense–games can include anywhere from eight to 100 people running around dressed in full camouflage gear with realistic rifles. Probably not something you should be doing at Yoyogi Park on a Sunday afternoon.

▼ Pew! Pew! Pew!

sabage2t

However, the Internet is currently abuzz with the exciting news that an indoor field has opened up in Tokyo! Called Asobiba, the field is built inside of an old spa with tons of fun obstacles and rooms for players to sneak, shoot, and squirm around in. Unfortunately it’s also a bit expensive: For 5,000 yen (roughly $50) per person, you can rent the field either from 9 am to 4 pm or from 4 pm to 11 pm. You’ll need to get a fairly large group together though as they recommend at least 30 people for a full game. On the other hand, if you only have 15 team members, you can instead request to play against the Asobiba team, though that kind of seems like an uneven battle.

▼”Boom! Head shot!”

sabage1

Of course, if you’ve never played before, you probably don’t have an airsoft gun or any of the gear necessary to keep you safe from bodily harm. With a basic setup costing about 30,000 yen (around $305), it’s a significant investment to get started, but most fields (including Asobiba) provide rentals. That way you can try it out before committing too much money to the game.

▼Note that team members all wear same-color armbands.

sabage5

To get a better idea of what the game is like, here’s a first-person perspective video of a basic playthrough. WARNING: You may want to skip the video if you have motion sickness.

If you like what you’ve seen so far and you live in Tokyo, this is the perfect weekend for you to try it out! This Sunday, November 3, Asobiba is having an all day event for beginners, with discounts on rental gear. You can learn more and sign up on their Facebook page (Japanese only).

▼”Hmm…should I let them know the game’s started…naaaaah!”

sabage2

So, what are you waiting for? Grab an airsoft gun and shoot someone!

Note: RocketNews24 is not responsible for lost eyes or ruined friendships if you shoot your buddy in the back for a laugh. Play responsibly, please!

Source: Naver Matome, Asobiba, Hyper Doraku, ASCII.jp
Images: Naver Matome, AsobibaJoshi Sabage Bu, Headquarter, Twitter (1, 2), Asobiba Facebook