Like Arcades? The Scene is Alive and Well in Japan’s Akihabara District


A quick tour through Japan’s enormous arcade playground. If you like classic games and filthy joysticks, Tokyo’s Akihabara district is a nerd’s paradise.

It’s been awhile since the last entry in the Laser Japan Time series hasn’t it? Over a year in fact! But hey, this week’s episode of Laser Time on localization, featuring fellow Japanophile Greg Moore, seemed as good as time as any to get back in the swing. Today we’re offering up a lightning quick look at Japan’s miraculously thriving arcade scene. HIT PLAY!

It’s not just that there are a few multi-story arcades with throngs of people still dumping quarters (or the yen equivalent) into rows of gloriously loud and glowing cabinets. It’s that they’re everywhere in Japan. 

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And especially in Tokyo’s Akihabara district, where it’s not uncommon to see skyscraper-sized arcades right next to and across from one another, adorned with warmly familiar towering logos you don’t see that much stateside nowadays, like Sega, Konami and Taito. Aaaah…

You might remember this image from our How to Japan episode

In the video we’ll check out the Mario Kart and Dragon Ball Z arcade games barely seen by Western eyes, some stupid crane games, a ridiculous air hockey table, and perhaps best of all, Cho Chabudai Gaeshi, possibly the greatest game ever made about angrily flipping a table over.


This is a quicky video, but the next time you see us in Japan, it’ll be a much more extensive look at the greatest retro game store in all the world! Until then, check out the rest of our Laser Japan Time series on YouTube or the embeds below.

5 thoughts on “Like Arcades? The Scene is Alive and Well in Japan’s Akihabara District

  1. Just wanted to say thanks so much for continuing the series. I’m planning on going to Japan for the first time next year, and these bite-sized videos are perfect little snapshots of things to look out for. I particularly liked your Studio Ghibli Museum one. Looking forward to the next one.

  2. I’m so glad you decided to continue posting these Japan videos. I’ve never had the chance to visit Japan, and I love seeing the arcades and game stores, plus all the weird random stuff.

  3. Proud to say I know exactly what those white plushes are from at 0:47 when Chris zooms in and goes “what the fuck.” They are from one episode of the anime Hoozuki no Reitetsu, a comedy anime set in Japanese hell centered around the creatures that operate it make sure that it is a truly hellish place. The two season series is probably one of the funniest shows (not just anime) I’ve ever seen. The creature that is the plush in this video is a living drawing made by the celestial beast Hakutaku, who despite having this amazing ability to bring art to life, is pretty shit at drawing and brings these pathetic, pitiable little abominations into existence. So where do I collect my nerd crown?

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