*Zelda chest opening music*
Super Potato is by far the most famous retro video game store in Japan and is particularly famous for its collection of Famicom games. With nine stores in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo, it’s a must-see for those of us who spent our summers playing Pokemon and Final Fantasy.
These stores aren’t that big, but every inch of the store is packed with Famicom tapes, boxed Nintendo 64 games, Mega Drive Cartridges and stacked PlayStations. The largest store is (at most) a narrow three-story building, but you can find everything here from the earliest years of home gaming in Japan to the latest titles.
Mind if I roll need?
There’s plenty of rare loot to be discovered, as well, including systems you’ve probably never heard of like the Wonderswan, Virtual Boy and Neo Geo. You can even find some early home computers like an old Bandai Gundam computer. A quick word of warning for prospective buyers, however. Most of the games won’t work with foreign consoles due to region locking. That means you’ll need to pick up a Japanese console if you want to, you know, actually play any of the games you bought.
In addition, the prices here are very high, a loose copy of Super Metroid is over ¥3,000 here but only about ¥1,000 at normal second-hand stores. especially for games from famous series like Mega Man or Zelda. If you have time, it’s better to check out smaller, less famous shops or the internet for the real deals. Not everyone decided to spec into the bargain hunter class, though, and for those just looking for a chance to grab a video game souvenir, you’re at the right place.
While it’s not the best place for budget shoppers, you’ll still find other things to enjoy. There are, of course, consoles set up playing various classic games like Mario Kart. You can pull out all the tricks you learned as a kid to one again beat your friends.
If you to do some serious gaming right away, the third floor of the Super Potato in Akihabara has been converted into a retro arcade featuring games that are near impossible to find in modern Japanese game centers.
If you’re more interested in merch than software, there are tons of action figures, keychains, branded snacks, and plush toys for you to take home (no region locking can stop you hugging your plush Kirby tight). Some of the more unique items you can check out are video game soundtracks and vintage strategy guides.
It may not offer the best gaming deals, but Super Potato is a great museum to the history of this popular part of Japanese culture.
Tokyo: Akihabara, Ikebukuro
Osaka: Namba, Nipponbashi, Suminoe, Hannancho, Bainan, Izuo