Searching for Retro Video Games in Japan

It feels good to finally put out a NEW vlog. To put it simply, I’ve been busy. We have a lot of changes in life that I’ll explain in due time.

This footage was shot last year and I’ve been editing it little by little. Despite how long it took to produce, I’m definitely satisfied with the way it came out. That’s the thing about my videos… I prefer not to rush a project.

The idea for this video has been in my mind for years.

The store I visit in the first half of the video is extremely famous in the gaming community. So much so that I made a conscious decision to not use the business’s name in the video. But in case you were wondering, the shop is called Super Potato. They might have multiple locations, but the one I visited is in the Akihabara district of Tokyo.

I’ve only been to the store a few times, but it’s always a place I have to consciously seek out when I’m in Tokyo. I’m never “in the neighborhood”. Its very much out of the way when compared to other places I go to in Tokyo. When I visit the city, it’s always to very distinctive districts that’s home to multiple places of interest.

Sometimes I feel like the store is also a museum because of how many games they have to offer. This place has multiple floors of video games and hardware. You’ll instantly recognize the sounds and ambiance they’re going for in the store’s layout. They even have old CRT televisions displaying games in the way they were meant to viewed. There’s something distinctive about the visual fidelity of those older TV screens that can’t be replicated.

The third floor is a coin arcade and snack shop.

They have benches where you can sit and relax, read manga and wait for your turn to jump on a game. The ambiance of this place is extremely nostalgic. I spent a good chunk of my adolescence in places like this. This kind of arcade setup doesn’t exist in America anymore. We have Chuck E Cheese and Dave and Busters, but I would argue that they’re not truly arcades in the traditional sense.

But like I said earlier, I don’t visit often. As much as I enjoy Super Potato, it’s out of the way.

You can find a substantial selection of retro video games and tech at thrift stores in Japan. I frequent a place called Book Off. They actually have a few names under their “OFF” brand; Book Off, Hard Off, Wattman’s… It’s essentially a Good Will.

I know I often write as if everything is better in Japan, but their Thrift Stores are dope. Period.

I think my wife and I stumbled upon this place looking for used bicycles. We didn’t find any suitable bikes but I wandered over to electronics section and felt like I found gaming paradise. There are a lot of hidden gems at these unassuming thrift stores.

You can easily get lost in this place, but its also ironic that I rarely buy games here. I have a few gaming classics that I picked up, but I mainly shop for children’s clothes and household goods. I’ve bought bags, baby chairs, toys and a stroller from this thrift store. Now she’s outgrown it, but my daughter has a yukata that was purchased here as well.

And I don’t want to forget to point out that you can buy model figures and manga if that’s your thing. I enjoy the manga section because I find it to be a great way to practice Japanese.

Growing up in America, Japanese import games were always expensive and hard to come by.

If you’re in Tokyo, certainly check out Super Potato. Even if just to visit for the nostalgia factor. But don’t neglect the thrift shops. The stuff there are in great shape and you’d be surprised at what you’d find.

Be safe and take care. More to come in the future.

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