Anata no Warehouse
A dystopian arcade you don't want to bring the kids to.
Anata no Warehouse is a trip before you even enter it. From the very first seconds, it feels as if you are entering into someplace alien even though you’re in Kawasaki just a bit outside of Tokyo. The foreboding-looking doors slide open with a hiss of steam and the first sound you hear is the synthesized sound of rats scurrying through the walls and the chatter of people speaking in a language that you can’t discern.
Anata no Warehouse (meaning “Your Warehouse”) is a place that has such a foreign feeling that a visitor could conceivably get cyberpunk culture shock simply from entering. Of course, in the case of this arcade, this effect is intentional. The building is based on Kowloon’s “walled city,” an infamous overcrowded slum that used to exist in Hong Kong. To add authenticity to this illusion, there is a carefully designed layer of grime on everything.
…Make no mistake about it, most people are here to game.
As you take the escalator up from the ground floor into the arcade itself, gradually the sounds of the faux-Chinese townscape melt away and are replaced by the noisy roar of arcade machines. Sure, the unique atmosphere of the location is a big part of its attractiveness, but make no mistake about it, most people are here to game. Each level of the building is dedicated to different types of gamers from pool sharks to people trying to win cuddly toys on the coin drop machines to the UFO catchers.
The main attraction for most visitors is undoubtedly the video games. Unsurprisingly for a venue based on a part of Hong Kong that only exists in the memory for its citizens, its Japanese doppelganger is filled with the type of games that would have been played in Kowloon during the late 80s/ early 90s when the slum saw its final days.
If you are from the generation that hears names like Spikeout, Darius, Space Harrier, Parodius and Gauntlet and think they sound like the names of exotic cars or designer drugs, then you may not appreciate the gaming experience that Anata no Warehouse has to offer. Most of the more modern games seem almost guiltily on display, tucked into the corner just in case. If you are willing to give retro gaming a try or desperately want to re-experience the 90s; however, you’ll soon find yourself on your next roll of 50 yens, desperately trying to beat that boss.
This is definitely a place for adults (age limit is 18 and up only). The fifth-floor of the warehouse continues the 90s theme with an internet cafe where you can even get a massage. Alright, then. However, in order to use all the cool facilities inside (like the comic shop with the latest magazines, the Mahjong booths or the darts corner) you will need to make a membership. You can find more information about the membership here.
In short, Anata no Warehouse is a place with a real sense of time, place and identity. It genuinely feels like it could be a part of a Chinese slum in the late 90s. Admittedly, part of the run-down area that focuses more on more innocent fun than the notorious gambling dens that the real area was known for. While you will have to endure the narrow corridors, neon and noise that both areas were notorious for, the brave of heart will Anata no Warehouse a great place to come not just for the games but also for the experience.