Many of my expatriate friends call Taiwan "China-lite", and to me, that really makes sense. Taiwan, unlike the Chinese mainland, is run by a democratically elected government, it doesn't censor its internets like the mainland does, and most importantly for a gamer like myself, you can legally buy video game consoles.
In Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, there are many places that sell video games and video game accessorie.s but one place has become kind of like a pilgrimage site for gamers and tourists alike: the Taipei City Mall.
Unlike a traditional mall, the TCM is built underground and serves as a underground walkway to Taipei's main train station and subway hub Taipei Main Station. The main section that is called TCM stretches close to a full kilometer (0.62 miles) and connects to various other underground markets that spread all over the city like ant tunnels.
What makes TCM particularly special is the fact that nearly half of the mall is made up of video game and anime toy stores. TCM also holds regular events relating to video games and japanese animation culture, and in the summer it serves as a hang out for Taiwan's street danced obsessed youth.
Even with the "China-lite" comparisons, Taiwan is a different place from the Chinese mainland, politics and governments aside. Taiwan enjoys one thing that the mainland doesn't: legal video game console sales. Back in the year 2000, the Chinese mainland banned the sale of video games leading to the creation of vast gray markets which cater to hungry gamers eager to play console games. The ban in the mainland however had no effect in Taiwan. Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft all enjoy a healthy presence in Taiwan.