Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fukuoka Famicom Shops 1: 007

This is going to be the first in a series of posts in which I explore the retro game shops of Fukuoka and uh....write.....stuff. About them.

Fukuoka has a ton of game shops, but its a bit of a challenge to explore them as they are scattered throughout the city and its suburbs. The mission I've set myself is to visit the ones which have a good selection of Famicom games (not all do). The main purpose is just to take pictures of the Famicom sections of these shops and show them off because, as some people have noted (here and here for example), Japanese retro game shops are a rather beautiful thing. EBay is convenient, but you can't wander wide-eyed through its labyrinthine aisles gawking at the wonderful sight that rows upon rows of colorful Famicom carts present. It simply has no labyrinthine aisles in which to do so. Japanese retro game shops on the other hand have them in spades.

A secondary purpose of my mission is to test out something that the scientific half of my mind has long suspected: the market for used Famicom games in Fukuoka's game shops is completely irrational. Let me (briefly) explain. If you are just interested in pictures of the game shop you can probably skip the next few paragraphs.

If you've ever been to Rising Stuff you may have stumbled upon the Famicom price guide that they put together after what must have been some extremely time-consuming (though undoubtedly fun) research. I give them (or possibly just one guy, "Alex" who posted it, I'm not sure) a lot of credit for undertaking that gargantuan task. I think they did quite a good job of it and I sometimes refer to it out of curiousity.

That said, I have to say that the prices in it are not really reflective of the prices charged for games in Fukuoka. That isn't their fault though as NOBODY (yup, all-caps) could make a definitive Famicom price guide for this city. Every shop charges different prices for the same stuff and there is absolutely no logic to any of it that I can determine. A game that one shop puts lovingly into its exclusive glass case with a sizeable price attached to it another one dumps unceremoniously into a junk bin at a blow-out price. And vice-versa.

So just to test this little theory I chose these 6 games that I would like to compare the price of in each of the shops I will visit:
These are all games that were very popular in their day, meaning that there are tons of copies of them out there and I am thus likely to find them at most of the shops in Fukuoka. At the same time, they are games whose continued popularity is quite different from each other. Super Mario Brothers 3 remains immensely popular and most shops charge a premium for that one despite it being extremely easy to find. Moero Pro Yakyuu on the other hand is a game that there are just way too many of: sports games don't generally age as well as platformers and that is one of the games that will inevitably be the cheapest game at any shop. The others fall somewhere in between, with Spartan X, Excitebike and Donkey Kong being a bit more popular like SMB 3 and F-1 Race a bit less.

Anyway, that out of the way with here is today's Fukuoka Famicom shop: 007.
007 is a huge store in a one-story building (not counting the parking lot on the roof). It sells not just games but comics, toys and other novelty items. It has a pretty big retro-game section, the highlight of which is of course the Famicom stuff.

They've got parts of 3 aisles devoted to Famicom games in little plastic bags hung from pegs:
It is pretty colorful in there:
One of the things a lot of people (including me) like about retro game stores here is the hand-written signs describing the game, which 007 puts on some of them. Its such a nice touch:
They have a small selection of boxed Famicom games. Nothing too special, they just take up a little shelf:
Contrast that with the size of the boxed Super Famicom game section:
The part of 007 which I like the best is their glass showcase. They've decorated it with a lot of cut-out letters and pictures, giving it a sort of folk-art feel that is affectingly complemented by the Bladerunner-esque neon blue lighting:
Basically most of the games that they price at over 1000 yen go in there:
And their AV Famicoms which, paradoxically, say "NEW" in English and "USED" (中古) in Japanese:
On either side of the case they have little 14 inch TVs, one hooked up to a Super Famicom and the other to a Famiclone for customers to play:
I always like playing games at shops like this better than I do playing the same games at home. I don't know why but somehow it is always funner that way.

Well those are the pictures. On a personal note I have to say that this is one of my favorite game shops simply because it is where I bought the first Famicom game in my collection: that copy of Clu-Clu Land which graces the banner at the top of this blog. That was quite an exciting purchase, one of the highlights of my Famicom collecting experience. I had just gotten my first Famicom console at another store earlier in the day (kind of an impulse purchase - look at what it has led me to) and my wife took me to 007 late that night to find a game to test it. It was my first time to explore a Famicom game section and I was immediately hooked. She had owned Clu-Clu Land as a kid and I bought it on her suggestion. Getting home it took me about 4 hours of banging to get the Famicom to load Clu Clu Land on our TV but when it worked - crap reception and all - I felt pretty damn good. All thanks to 007.

Anyway, now to look at the secondary purpose of this trip, the prices:

Game Title


Super Mario Brothers 3

1800 yen

Donkey Kong

1500 yen

Spartan X

1000 yen


800 yen

F1 Race

300 yen

Moero Pro Yakyuu

300 yen

We'll see how these compare to prices in other shops in later posts.

Before signing off I should say thanks to Sketcz for his insightful write up about Famicomblog on the amazing Hardcore Gaming 101. His post and particularly this quote:

"the more layers of gimmickry and unsought complexity you place on something which is intended for recreation, the less interested I become."

has given me food for thought on numerous future posts that I hope to put up here!

Related Posts:
- Fukuoka Famicom Shops V: Don Quixote and Village Vanguard
- Fukuoka Famicom Shops IV: Flea Markets Brought to you by the God of War
- Fukuoka Famicom Shops III: Mandarake
- Fukuoka Famicom Shops II: The Decline and Fall of the Famicom Empire


  1. Great post, as always, Sean! Thanks for giving us a glimpse into these shops. I look forward to seeing more of them :)

    Oh, and I just Sketcz's write-up over on HG101. Great job there, too :)

  2. Thanks, Bryan.

    I'll try to lug my camera around to a few more this month!

  3. I the discrepancy between the prices and popularity of some Famicom games in Japan interesting. Their domestic trends baffle me - and I'm sure it's not limited to Fukuoka.

    Seikima 2, a nifty platformer, in those photos is only 900 Yen (6th photo). Compare that to Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken (10th photo, lower left), and it's 1500 Yen. I realise there's an important story behind it, being Japan's earliest adventure game, but even so, it's slow and has been superseded by many other adventures. I can only imagine nostalgia plays an important part.

    As food for thought on this, Famitsu and Enterbrain conducted a poll to find Japan's top 100 favourite Famicom games in 2003. I can't say I agree with the list - there's a lot of strange inclusions (Spelunker is terrible - how can it be above Castlevania?), and a lot of great games aren't even mentioned.

    1) Dragon Quest 3
    2) SMB
    3) SMB 3
    4) FinalFanatasy 3
    5) Dragon Quest 4
    6) Dragon Quest 2
    7) Dragon Quest
    8) Legend of Zelda
    9) Mother
    10) Mario Bros (not SMB)

    11) Final Fanatasy
    12) Kirby
    13) Kunio Kun no Jidaigeki dayo Zenin Shuugou (Kunio in Feudal Japan)
    14) Downtown Nekketsu Koushinkyoku Soreyuke Dai Undoukai (Kunio sports)
    15) Spartan X (Kung-Fu)
    16) SMB2 (lost levels)
    17) Nekketsu koukou Dodgeball Club (Kunio Dodgeball)
    18) Final Fantasy 2
    19) Fire Emblem Ankokuryu to Hikari no Ken
    20) Sanma no Meitantei

    21) Xevious
    22) Ice Climber
    23) Spelunker
    24) Akumajou Dracula (Castlevania)
    25) Gradius
    26) Goonies
    27) Captain Tsubasa
    28) Konami Wai Wai World
    29) Metroid

    30) Takeshi no choujin (Takeshi "Beat" Kitano game)
    31) Final Fantasy 1+2
    32) Portpia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken
    33) Nekketsu Kouha Kunio Kun (Renegade)
    34) Bomberman
    35) Ganbare Goemon
    36) Wizardry
    37) Donkey Kong
    38) Hokkaidou Rensa Satsujin Oho-tsuku ni Kiyu
    39) Pro Yakkyu Family Stadium (baseball game)

    40) Twinbee
    41) DR Mario
    42) Metal gear
    43) Excitebike
    44) Fire Emblem Gaiden
    45) SMB USA
    46) Dai 2 Ji Super Robot Taisen
    47) Tetris
    48) Rockman 2
    49) Kunio Kun Soccer League

    50) Rockman
    51) Captain Tsubasa 2 Super Striker
    52) Ikki
    53) Kinnikuman Muscle tag match (M.U.S.C.L.E in the West)
    54) Star Soldier
    55) Dragon Ball Z
    56) Tower of Druaga
    57) Dragon ball Z 2 Gekishin Freeze!!
    58) SD "Gundam" Gachapon
    59) Dragon Ball Z Gaiden Sayajin Zetsumetsu Keikaku

    60) Adventure Island
    61) Ghosts 'n' Goblins
    62) Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari
    63) Hatori Kun
    64) Metal Slader Glory
    65) Lode Runner
    66) Waganland
    67) Balloon fight
    68) Famicom tantei club 2: Ushiru no shoujo kouhen
    69) Valkyrie no Bouken Tokinokagi densetsu

    70) Momotaro Densetsu
    71) Akumajou Densetsu
    72) Zelda 2: Adventures of Link
    73) Momotarou Dentetsu
    74) Contra
    75) Meikyu Kumikyoku Milon no daibouken
    76) Rockman 5
    77) Rockman 3
    78) Hanjuku Hero
    79) Dragon Ball Z 3

    80) Famista 89
    81) Famicom tantei club 2: ushiro ni tatsu shoujo zenpen
    82) Kaiju monogatari
    83) Famicom Wars
    84) Family Jockey
    85) Rockman 6
    86) Dragonball
    87) Rockman 4
    88) Ganbare Goemon 2
    89) SD Gundam Gaiden: Night Gundam Monogatari

    90) Legend of Kage
    91) Sweet Home (pseudo-prequel to Biohazard)
    92) Famicom Jump
    93) Yoshi's egg
    94) Dragon Ball 3
    95) Famicom tantei club kieta koukeisha kouhen
    96) Hokuto no Ken (Fist of the North Star)
    97) Famicom tantei club kieta koukeisha zenpen
    98) Nekketsu Kakutou Densetsu
    99) Gundam Z Hot Scramble
    100) Gradius 2

    "Select 20" that didn't quite make it, in no order:

    Outrun Chase HQ
    Yie are kung-fu
    Clu Clu Land
    City Connection
    Star Force
    Devil World
    Toukaidou Gojusansugi
    DK jr
    Nuts and milk
    JuJu Densetsu
    Mighty Bombjack
    Metro Cross
    Route 16 Turbo

  4. Yeah,the price differences are crazy, aren't they?

    Those are good examples from the pics you spotted. I got my copy of Potopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken in a lot of 10 games that I only paid 500 yen for, yet here it is on its own for 3 times that much. I think you are right: nostalgia plays the biggest part in determining the price.

    Sekima II is indeed a nifty platformer, I like that one. It is 900 yen there, but I think I paid about 300 for mine. Obviously, it really pays to shop around for Famicom games.

    Thanks for posting the list too, its interesting to see how Japanese video game preferences differ from those of foreigners, at least with the Famicom/NES.

    Funny that you mention Spelunker. I finally got a copy of that for my collection a couple months ago. My wife was massively excited about it. She had it when she was a kid and it inspired a great deal of nostalgia in her.

    But when we played it? God, what a frustrating game! What idiot came up with the idea of making the player die every time he jumps from a slightly-too-high place? We played it for a couple hours the first night I got it, then the next day dragged it out again and after our first death-due-to-minor-miscalculation-of-jump we promptly placed the cart on the dreaded shelf of "games we don't play regularly", which is a sort of purgatory for our less-loved Famicom carts.

    Mind you, I do like the Spelunker cart itself. That pink ghost just looks kind of neat.

    I also find it funny that a keiba horse racing game (Family Jockey, #84) made the list. I can't understand why those games are so popular here, they are just useless. It is very amusing to see it ranked immediately ahead of Rockman 6 on that list.

    I will, however, give the retro-gaming public here credit for not having voted any Pachinko games onto the list!

  5. Stumbled upon your blog when I was searching for gamestores that sell old games in Fukuoka. Thanks for leading me towards Mandarake; that was good for a impuls buying of at least 7 boxed Super Famicon games! :D

    Anyway, what I want to ask is where exactly is this store? I want to seek out all the stores you mentioned on this blog and this one seems to be very interesting. However, it is very hard to find an address on this particular store.

  6. Great, I`m glad the blog could be of use to you!

    This store is located on Route 3 in Higashi Ku. There is a map here along with the store`s address (in Japanese):

    Basically it is quite close to Kaizuka station on the Nishitetsu subway.

  7. Incidentally there is another great store - Omocha Souko - that is only a couple of blocks away from this one so you should be able to kill two birds with one stone on the same trip. From 007 just walk about 2-3 blocks east on Route 3 and you`ll find Omocha Souko on your left.

  8. The "New" on the Famicom says new because it's the "New Famicom" and not a "new" famicom, that's the actual name of it since it's not the original but the later released version of it.

    I live in Fukuoka as well, and Omocha Souko is the biggest rip off store possibly ever when it comes to clothing and games, they overprice for badly damaged items even, but I can't help not going into them to see if I find some rare gem.

  9. Hi Helgen X,

    Good point about the New Famicom!

    With Omocha Souko you have to be careful as they just toss random prices on stuff. I`ve actually gotten some amazing bargains there over the years so if you know what to look for (and what to avoid) they were an absolute must visit place.

    I say `had` in the past tense because they are actually closing that store in Kaizuka. They stopped buying stuff at the beginning of March and have had a going out of business sale since then. If you walk in there today you`ll just find nearly-empty racks. I think they will finally shutter the place any day now.

  10. Have you been back to 007 recently? I went there the other day and noticed that it's now a Manga Souko and so has changed a little bit as they now stock second hand clothes.

    The games sections seems a little smaller than before but there aren't any major changes.

    Was happy to pick up ぬーぼー (Noobow) on the gameboy for only 100 yen :D

  11. Hi Mike,

    Yes, I noticed that, they made the change to Manga Souko back in the summer. I was intending to do a post about it here but never got around to it (and I left Fukuoka in October so I sadly no longer live nearby).

    I was a bit disappointed that there weren`t changes actually. The Manga Souko out in Dazaifu has much better prices on Famicom games than 007 did, but sadly they kept the 007 prices after they made the change.

  12. It changed in the summer? I'm a bit behind then! I'm over in the west of Fukuoka and don't get a chance to go up to Kaizuka very often, so only noticed the change recently. Haven't been up there since Omocha Souko close down.

    Ah, I didn't realise you had left Fukuoka. Where are you located now?

  13. Yeah, I forget exactly when but it was a few months back. Not much fanfare or anything, just some workmen came over for a couple of days to change the sign and that was about it! Sadly since Omocha Souko closed Kaizuka probably isn`t worth a visit anymore, 007 hardly ever got anything new in (at least retro gaming wise) and the prices were only so-so and that didn`t seem to have changed with the arrival of Manga Souko.

    I`ve decided to keep my new location off of here for...well, a few reasons. I can say that I`m still in Japan but no longer in Kyushu, which I miss so much!

  14. Fair enough if you want to keep your location private.

    I'm guessing that as all your recent purchases are from online, there aren't many good shops where you are now?