A visit to Akihabara is most likely already on your itinerary if you have even the slightest interest in retro games. Finding the best shops can be somewhat difficult, and some of the best ones are easy to overlook. Here’s a guide to our favorite retro game stores in Akihabara.
Super Potato is a somewhat legendary store that has everything you’ve ever dreamed of (that is, if you’re the kind of person who dreams about retro games). On the top of the three storeys that Super Potato consists of, you’ll find a small arcade with vintage games such as Wonder Boy in Monster Land, Double Dragon and King of Fighters. They also have a charming section with snacks and drinks.
The store itself is located on the two floors below, and they have the best selection of retro games in Tokyo. They also have plenty of other related goods such as soundtracks, books, plush figures and other collectors’ items. No other store in Akihabara really comes close in regards to the selection, but unfortunately the prices at Super Potato are quite inflated. A few years ago they weren’t more expensive than the other shops, but our guess is that the popularity of the store and it’s high profile made someone a bit too hungry for profit. You will most likely be able to find the same products at better prices if you shop around a bit.
Mandarake COMPLEX is a chain of stores that is very familiar to most geeks. They also have a cluster of stores in Nakano, another otaku-dense neighborhood in western Tokyo. Mandarake COMPLEX is mainly focused on vintage toys and manga, but on the sixth floor of their Akihabara store you’ll find a good selection of retro games too.
The shelves are neatly organized and the price tags often come as a pleasant surprise, especially if you come here right after a stop at Super Potato. The selection is obviously much smaller though, but nevertheless this is one of our favorite places to hunt for retro games in Akihabara.
Trader is a retail chain with several stores in Akihabara. The best one for retro games is the main store, located on a corner of Chuo-Dori, the main street running through Akihabara. Trader has a great selection of all kinds of retro games on the second floor and also a good selection of consoles, both originals as well as newer re-makes of classic systems such as Atari and Neo-Geo.
And while you’re here you might as well check out the other floors of the store. They have a pretty impressive selection of peripherals, including some quite obscure game controllers, as well as plenty of limited edition consoles and games.
Book Off (Akihabara Ekimae), as the name implies, is a chain primarily focused on books, but most of their stores also have a section with used games. The store next to Akihabara Station often has a quite impressive selection of retro games and consoles at very reasonable prices, but your mileage may vary.
Pro Tip: Make it a habit to always have a look whenever you pass a Book Off, no matter where you are (they have stores all over Japan). Sometimes you can get real bargains here, especially at the stores located in less otaku-filled neighborhoods.
Retro Game Camp, located on Chuo Dori, just barely made it to our list. Their selection is a far cry from that of the other stores mentioned in this text, and their prices are basically on a par with Super Potato (i.e. expensive). But, they do have a bargain bin with some of the cheapest retro games in all of Akihabara. You can actually buy games for as little as 10 yen a pop here. Of course, you shouldn’t expect the games to be in good condition for that price, but they usually do function correctly.
Retro Game Camp also has a few playable games set up in front of the store. Since you will most likely pass by this place anyway, it’s worth it to stop by for a quick look and perhaps have a round of Super Mario or two, but don’t expect to find the rarest games in mint condition at great prices here.
Posts by Said Karlsson