Check out the gallery above to read a bit about some of the most popular of these and see how they play in action.
Ever wished that all those baseball cards you had collected as a kid could be used in a video game but figured it's just an impossible dream? Well, kids raised on Baseball Heroes will never encounter that problem.
As you collect the cards for Baseball Heroes, you are able to build your dream team lineup from among the vast majority of players currently playing baseball in Japan. In the game itself, you call the pitches and manage your team's positioning and strategy. Outside of their games, you can also take a hand in their training as well.
In addition to the player cards, you are able to play event or item cards that can tip the scales in your favor if used at just the right moment.
Check out the video above to see the final round of this last year's Konami Arcade Championship. (Gameplay starts at 5:45.)
Gundam 0083 Card Builder
If the fact that the Japanese government is currently looking into the idea of building an honest-to-god Gundam isn't enough to tell you how popular Gundam is in Japan, I don't know what is. So back in 2005 when card based arcades were just becoming popular, Banpresto released Gundam 0079 Card Builder (which has since been updated to 0083).
Set in the U.C. Gundam universe, this game lets you choose not only your Gundam but also its pilot and equipment via your cards. To play, you simply move your unit's card on the playing field to make it move on the screen. To attack, all you need to do is to turn it toward the enemy. If you're in range, you will automatically attack.
Interestingly in this game, each battle you win or lose affects the overall war between the Earth Federation and Zeon. Of course, so do the battles of everyone else who plays the game—making it a meta-war among the players of each side on top of everything else.
WORLD CLUB Champion Football Intercontinental Clubs 2010-2011
Baseball isn't the only sport to get a trading card arcade. WORLD CLUB Champion Football brings soccer into the fray as well. The game sports the rosters of ten of the greatest pro soccer teams in the world—which you can mix and match to make your dream team if you have the cards.
You set up your formation by placing your cards on the field (and you can change your position at any time just by moving your players' cards). After setting up your players in the areas where they play the best, you then use the buttons to the side of the field to control the general flow of where you want your team to take the ball and when you want them to shoot it. Outside of matches, there's a ton of back end team management as well.
Sangokushi Taisen was the original breakout star of the trading card arcade genre. Set in the three kingdom era of Chinese history, this game allows you to direct armies with the goal of unifying the country. Each card is the leader of a different army and you control their entire armies on the screen. Different cards have different kinds of armies—spear, bow, sword, mounted, etc.—and the area in which they attack varies as well.
Anyone who's played Dynasty Warriors will recognize many of these faces as they share the same cast of historical figures. Currently, the most popular version of this game is the spinoff, Sengoku Taisen (see the video above)—which is basically the same game but set in feudal Japan instead of China.