PC and Retro Bar Space Station
The dimly lit walls, illuminated only by colorful neon strips of light and the glow of television screens, are decorated with decades-old game packaging and vintage arcade boards. The bar is covered not only with drinks but rows and rows of vintage gaming cartridges. The sound of chatting is punctuated by occasional cheers and 8-bit sound effects the likes of which have been burned into many a millennial’s brain. There it is again — the sound of Mario falling to his death for the seventeenth time.
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Over 600 video games to play for free
Space Station is a video game bar serving tasty cocktails to drink and exciting games to play. The drinks are cheap and, unlike at an arcade, playing games is free! The game selection ranges from old favorites like the original Donkey Kong arcade game and Mario Kart 64 to more modern PC games like ibb & obb and Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime. The original Nintendo and Sega consoles are there, perched right on the bar, so it’s easy to get smashed while button smashing.
The only Osaka bar of its kind
Space Station opened in 2011. Back then, it was the first foreign-owned video game bar in Osaka and only the third in the whole city. The concept of the “video game bar” has since exploded across the nation and now there are dozens citywide.
The friendly owner, American Matt Bloch, is adamantly proud of the fact that Space Station is the only game bar in town without a cover charge; visitors only pay for what they drink. The gameplay isn’t even limited to a set time! This laid-back, free-for-all atmosphere is one of the things that have made tiny Space Station one of the most popular bars in town.
Space Station is a local favorite with many regular customers. However, the majority of the clientele are visitors from abroad. It’s quite common to hear more English than Japanese in the bar, though the owner and staff speak both languages. It may seem that the bar portrays an inauthentic picture of a Japanese game bar, but considering it’s situated in Osaka’s Amemura district — an area known for its American influence — Space Station actually fits right in. This is exactly where you want to go if you’re looking for a place to party until the night is Game Over.