A Beginner's Guide To Gaming In Tokyo

June 29 2022

Japan has produced some of the most famous video games to date. While the list can go on and on, there are a number of video game titles that will immediately spring to mind, such as classics like the Super Mario Bros. series, and the Pac-Man games that have been around for decades. Japan's dominance over the global gaming market has weakened in recent years, but it remains a leader in innovation and creativity.

A visit to the Tokyo district of Akihabara is like stepping into a video game.

A visit to the Tokyo district of Akihabara is like stepping into a video game.

Its capital, Tokyo, is a popular destination for gamers due to the thriving gaming culture. Old-school games are top-rated and have had a relatively significant impact on Tokyo culture, while next-gen games have had an even larger impact.

If you are living or travelling in Tokyo and wish to immerse yourself in the gaming culture, here are five places to visit.

Internet Comic Cafe Manboo

Manboo! is more than an internet cafe, they are Japan's biggest internet cafe operators, with more than 50 outlets in Tokyo alone. Manboo! is a glitzy all-you-can-eat otaku buffet. Users can peruse the aisles of manga (Japanese comic books), play PlayStation and online games, stay overnight, or simply enjoy a host of other activities.

Although many more casinos online have emerged, Manboo is still very popular. Gamers can charge their mobile phones, sleep and take showers there. The venue also offers small rooms with sofas for taking breaks during games.

Namco Nakano

Arcades in Tokyo are smoky and can be a major turn-off for some visitors. Namco Nakano, located near otaku shopping centre Nakano Broadway in the west of the city, is a little different from most arcades in Tokyo. Namco Nakano's arcade games are separated into smoking and non-smoking areas with air purifiers and No Smoking signs posted throughout the building.

It provides gamers with an immersive, yet relaxed atmosphere, thus providing them with something very interesting during their experience there.

Akihabara Electric Town

Akihabara is a place for gamers and also fans of technology and anime. It offers countless computer shops selling retro games and hardware parts while catering to more modern video game consoles. You can even visit all your favourite areas from Jet Set Radio, the 2000 Sega Dreamcast game set in the area.

Pokemon Centers

Pokemon Centers are found all throughout Japan (from Sapporo to Tohoku). The largest is in Sunshine City in Ikebukuro, where you may have to wait in line. Pokemon is heavily ingrained in Japanese culture, and you will experience it all at one of these shops, from traditional crafts to themed restaurants.

Purikura no Mecca

The sticker photo machine, a Japanese innovation that first appeared in the mid-1990s and is known as purikura or "print club," has become a cultural mainstay.

Purikura Mecca, which is close to Shibuya Kaikan Monaco, is a first floor crammed with machines. Half an hour spent there is long enough to get a good idea of what the place is like. Interestingly, house rules state that men must be accompanied by females, while all-girl groups are allowed. Rules notwithstanding, it is sure to provide you with an interesting experience.

Final Thoughts

These locations will allow you to interact with and experience the Japanese gaming culture firsthand. You can try out new games, meet fellow gamers and perhaps even buy an original Japanese game that you can play back home. If you are a gamer, then Tokyo is a place you just have to visit.

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