It is widely considered amongst the gaming community worldwide that Japan is the mecca of video games. Japan has a long history of being at the forefront of the industry with companies like Nintendo, Sony and Square Enix dominating the competition. Many collectors all over the world travel to Japan now to buy the old school games from their childhoods or to complete their extensive collections. Here is a quick beginner guide to help you get started on your quest to find those retro games!
Akihabara is Japan’s most famous area for the pop culture and offers a plethora of retro video game stores which makes this a fantastic area to begin your search! The most well-known store in this area is Super Potato and for good reason. Super Potato is a nation-wide chain of game stores in Japan that sell a treasure trove of retro games and merchandise. Do not be fooled by the store’s location in Akihabara. It is in an unassuming location, tucked away from the main street and up an old staircase but this particular store is Super Potato’s flagship store with 4 floors filled with old school Nintendo, Sony and Sega games (among other good finds!). The top floor even has a decent collection of old arcade machines to enjoy after buying up the store!
Nakano Broadway is a multi-level shopping complex north of Shinjuku and is a relaxing alternative to the eclectic streets of Akihabara. It is also a popular hangout for Tokyo’s otaku community. Here you will find an abundance of not just retro games but also vintage anime, manga, clothes, old toys from the 1960/70s, and all kinds of kitsch weirdness! One store not to miss is Mandarake, where you can find rare collector’s editions in mint condition but be warned, these are not cheap!
Book Off is a nation-wide chain of “Off” stores in Japan which sell a huge range of second-hand goods. Keep an eye out for any Book Off or Hard Off stores and you will find an extensive range of retro games and consoles (as well as second-hand electronics, figurines and mangas!) at quite affordable prices. As it is all second hand, each store will have random and various levels of stock but they are all worth checking out as you will surely stumble upon a good find! There are many scattered all throughout Tokyo city.
Don’t have the budget (or space) to buy all the retro games and consoles? Then check out Taito-Hey in Akihabara and relive your childhood! This multi-level arcade is split into two main areas; classic shoot-em-ups and fighting games. But there is space dedicated to other genres such as rhythm games too. One floor even has over 100 arcade machines! And these machines can switch out games so there is a huge catalogue of games to go through. There are many classics to rediscover and niche games that get another chance to shine. This isn’t just a place to play games but also a place to watch the many incredibly skilled players that come to flex and hone their skills.
I also introduce Japan’s Game Centres in another article.
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Tokyo is a big city and it can be hard to know where to begin your search. I hope this guide is useful on your quest to complete your retro game collection!
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