IC Guide to Game Shoppin in Tokyo

I've got a week break coming up here, and am planning to hop on the train over to Tokyo for a couple days.

I'm in Nagoya, and am hoping to just enjoy checking out game shops while I'm there, as my pickings are a bit [slim](https://forums.insertcredit.com/d/1887-store-closings) here. I was inspired by @exodus 's discussion of some of the shops he hit up while here for TGS to think a bit before going, and to try to seek out more unique, oddball spots that I might not otherwise bother going to.

There's lots of googleable answers here, but I know you all are the type of people who know what's good in a shop, so I would love to hear any picks shouted out. I'm lookin for a few not-super-rare-but-not-just-at-Hardoff items, but also am looking to just enjoy a few afternoons browsing shelves. Any tips for shops worth poking out to? Thanks for your time and energy!

Very interested in the replies to this – I‘ll be in Osaka/Kyoto/Tokyo at the end of October. My assumption is that all the big spots still somewhat more stocked than usual but I’m curious how quickly that will change after the borders open up.

I wish I had some game store rec's to add, however I do not – I only know of the places everyone knows about, and then have spent some time aimlessly wandering and walked in to one or two cool places that I cannot remember the name or exact location of.

If it is of interest (maybe for another thread (maybe the drink check thread)) I do, however, have a couple of good whisky and cocktail bar recommendations.

I am going in December, over four years since my last trip and I‘m looking forward to hitting the game stores. My knowledge isn’t the best but here's what I know:

  • - The BookOff above the suit shop in Shinjuku can be surprisingly good for finding stuff you wouldn't expect for PS1 onwards
  • - There is a small shop near the entrance to Nakano Broadway which can have the odd good thing but is otherwise a good place to browse for more common games
  • - Nakano Broadway has a weird little shop which sells a lot of game soundtracks that appear to come from special editions of games or be promos or something
  • - The Mandarake in Nakano has Mandarake prices but I got some immaculate guides from there
  • - The BookOff in Ueno can be okay for PS1 onwards
  • - Surugaya in Shinjuku looks like it has A LOT but I haven't been there yet
  • - Friends in Akihabara is good
  • - Retro Game Camp in Akihabara is not good
  • - A youtuber I watch seems to buy a load from Trader
  • If anyone wants to watch game hunting videos in Tokyo and other places, my favourites are:
    Hard Officers https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9rNhO43PRZWjoyumgrfOfg/videos
    Kid Shoryuken https://www.youtube.com/c/KidShoryuken
    Scruffy Looking RGB https://www.youtube.com/c/ScruffyLookinRGB

    Extremely dumb piece of advice from me - don‘t forget the Akihabara bookoff like I did. I think it’s the one north of the station, but I forget. There‘s a good one and a bad one. I was only remembering the bad one last trip so straight up didn’t go, forgetting that it‘s where all the stuff that the other places won’t buy ends up, and is thus a great place to get all the goofier nonsense. OOPS.

    @"Chopemon"#p87295 that small shop in nakano broadway closed - but another shop opened up on the same floor as mandarake galaxy which has some stuff, barely.

    also maybe the shinjuku surugaya is the one folks were talking about - oops!! I missed that one too.

    When I lived in Chiba prefecture I found the best deals were usually in the BookOff Super Bazaar stores.

    For Chiba that was Minami-Funabashi and Higashi-Chiba, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was true for other areas
    (Higashi-Chiba is the better of those two)

    BookOff has lists of their stores, and they mention which ones are Super Bazaars
    https://www.bookoff.co.jp/inbound/kanto/

    The more out of the way they are the more likely they are to keep interesting things with low prices.
    Higashi-Chiba BookOff occasionally got in obscure things like a 3D0, a Sharp Twin Famicom, and a Casio Loopy.

    oh yeah you gotta go to them super bazaars. it‘s a crapshoot but it’s fun to get way out there in the zone and buy some records and some weird shirts and stuff.

    I feel like somebody should mention that the Akihabara Super Potato is fun to visit and see some extremely rare and hard to come by stuff, but that it’s only really worth buying there if you’ve got pockets filled with gold doubloons.

    Ok there now I’ve mentioned it!

    I think the best place to do that is Mandarake Galaxy in Nakano Broadway! Super Potato actually had fewer gems than usual this time, but maybe that's just the world now. What they did have was a copy of Coryoon that mysteriously went up 20,000 yen when TGS/Gaijin Week started.

    on super potato, not sure what state things are in but last time i was there (more than five years ago) the prices didn‘t seem outlandish for certain non-game items. i got a very good star ocean 2 guide there for very little. or maybe it just wasn’t selling lol

    there is also a super potato in ikebukuro that is like one-tenth the size of the akiba one but there was never anyone in there when i would go, worth checking out if you happen to be in the neighborhood

    i really like FRIENDS the most although from the most recent episode it sounds like it's a lot different from when i used to go.

    My info about Super Potato is also extremely out of date, so I’m not surprised it’s changed! They had a copy of Psychic Killer Tarōmaru for Saturn that cost the entirety of my games budget for the trip, but I passed after legitimately considering it for like 1/2 second!

    @“tapevulture”#p87342 nah they finally did the thing where enough game stores closed and now they are way more expensive than everywhere simply because they have the inventory. It always felt like the plan and now it's happening.

    When I go to Tokyo in December I have decided that I want to get a nice PS2 controller. I currently have a few but either the plastic feels old or they have developed noisy squeaks. I could probably open them up and fix the squeak but whatevs.

    Does anyone know if places like Super Potato (as opposed to whatever gets dumped at a BookOff) do refurbished or at least test the controllers they sell? I don't mind paying over the odds for one in Super Potato if it is a cool colour and has some guarantee to be in nice condition.

    @“Chopemon”#p88098 nobody refurbishes but most places, if selling loose controllers, will test and report status on the package. (or mark as untested)

    Awesome, thanks!

    In Akihabara, besides what‘s mentioned above, I would say visit the retro game Surugaya and Beep, which are right next to each other near Star Kebab. You probably won’t find any steals but prices are reasonable for everything I've checked.

    Also I'm not sure if they moved them, but Surugaya does technically have a PC games section on the top floor of their roughly eight-story building which is also nearby. They have PC98 stuff in the retro game shop, so I think it's just Windows games? The rest of the building is toys and stuff so I don't go in much.

    @“polm23”#p88284 When I was there a few weeks ago I asked about this and they told me “if you‘re talking about games, they’re only in here”

    @“MDS-02”#p87240

    Tokyo kind of sucks if you are looking for a deal.
    You need to go past Tachikawa or out to Chiba, Higashi-Chiba, Saitama for any good prices and selection will be very random.

    If you just want to immerse yourself in game culture though, go to Retro Game Camp or Nakano Broadway before it is closed down.

    There are many book offs and a few hard offs, but anything inside the yamanote and maybe even 23-ku will be slim pickings in the age of mercari flippers. As boring of an answer as this is, if you have something _specific_ in mind look at mercari and kuroneko it to your hotel.

    Also I hope this doesn't come off as excessively jaded, but Super Potato Akihabara is only worth spending maybe ten minutes inside of as a tourist attraction, or if you want to play Dodonpachi up top. The Ikebukuro one is far better if you're actually going to purchase anything.

    If you can, go to Osaka!

    @“Chopemon”#p88098 buy a new old stock one, there are always a few on amazon.jp

    @“Neko”#p88337

    Yeah as I’m living here I’m not concerned about squeezing perfect value out of anything, more interested in the browsing experience. So a store with too high prices but things I never have encountered before is the priority. I’ll maybe check out Retro Game Camp but now we’ve got some competing views! Definitely lean towards “see it before it vanishes”.

    Thanks for the input.