Even if the main focus of my trip wasn’t centered around the Tokyo Game Show, I would have still ended up spending a lot of my time in arcades. I would the same thing here at home if given the chance. The first day I landed in Japan was probably the only day I didn’t make it to an arcade due to jetlag, but from the next day on I visited quite a few gaming treasures.
After the first day of TGS, I visited Akihabara, the anime capital of Tokyo. There are a number of arcades and game shops all over the main street, but I ended up taking my time at Club Sega. With six floors of gaming fun, you have your choice of UFO catchers, purikura, interactive card games, shmups, fighters, or just plain classic gaming.
Later on, I was able to check out a couple of arcades in Odaiba, home of the full scale Gundam. On the top floor of the local mall, there is a retro arcade filled with machines from as far back as the 1950’s. All the machines are playable and surrounded by posters and memorabilia from the past. After that we were able to check out Sega’s Joyopolis. Featuring some of the latest 3D and VR games, I had the opportunity to play their Initial D machine. It was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in a long time. Not only do you get to drive in a full scale car model from the anime, it also had full scale motion just like you were driving the real thing! Of course, that doesn’t include the numerous bumping and crashing.
Also in Akihabara is a video game shop called Super Potato. In addition to being a wonderful place to find old and rare video games and memorabilia, there is a small retro arcade on the top floor. A few classic beat em ups and shmups including a classic and rare Splatterhouse cabinet can be found there.
Back in Odaiba, there is another arcade called Tokyo Leisureland that I was able to check out. It had a large section of UFO catchers, and deluxe prize redemption games. It also had a lot of slot machines. Pachinko and slot machines are especially popular in Japan. I found some of the most popular anime and game titles being featured on some including Evangeleon and Monster Hunter. Unlike Las Vegas, these parlors are not open 24 hours. We saw huge lines waiting for the places to open in the morning, trying to get to the machines with the best chance to win big first.
If you enjoyed this article, then please subscribe to my Arcade Games column. Check out my Video Game Babes and Action Figures columns as well. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and my Blog for more news about anime, games and other events in Houston.