Friday, March 23, 2012

Omocha Souko Part 5: JuJu Densetsu vs Makai Shima

One of the great things about shops that you frequently visit is the little memories they leave you.

My favorite Omocha Souko memory is one from very early in my Famicom days, very shortly after I got my first Famicom.

This was way before I started collecting, I probably had about 15 or 20 Famicom carts at the time and the other 1035 of them were for the most part a complete mystery to me. My wife and I got into the habit of dropping by Omocha Souko once a week or so and buying a Famicom game that looked like it might be fun as a means of cheap entertainment for an evening. At that time Omocha Souko was charging a flat rate of 300 yen for most of its games (save the ones in the glass case), which was about the same price that it cost to rent a DVD. So for a couple of hours entertainment, a Famicom game was competetively priced. And, unlike rental DVDs, you could keep the game at the end of the day.

Anyway, I remember one evening back then the two of us hitting Omocha Souko. They had thousands of Famicom games on the racks. When I see their Famicom game racks now it doesn`t have the same effect that it used to. I know all the games they have because I have them too. There is no mystery. Back then though I didn`t know any of the games so it was massively interesting to explore the racks, trying to figure out which game might be good based solely on the game`s title and cover art.

That evening after spending a while searching the racks, we came up with two possible candidates. JuJu Densetsu and Makai Shima. My wife advocated for JuJu Densetsu. The monkey looked pretty cool and the name `JuJu` suggested fun, as did the cart`s green color.

I took up Makai Shima`s cause. The blue cart looked great. And in the cover art you could see the sailor knocking down little pirates with barrels, suggesting that it was not some crappy RPG but an action game of some sort. Throwing barrels at Pirates, I added, was an activity that really appealed to me.

We agonized for a while over the decision, but in the end JuJu Densetsu won out. That monkey is hard to resist. We took it home and were pleasantly surprised to discover that it was a pretty decent platformer. We definitely got our 300 yen`s worth that first day and it became a regular part of the lineup.

We ended up getting Makai Shima on a later trip. Its not bad either, but I have to concede that JuJu Dentsetsu is way better. A lot of other games fell into our hands on those `buy a game for the evening` trips - Binary Land, Nuts and Milk, Banana, Lode Runner and Yume Penguin Monogatari being some of the highlights. Eventually though we got to a point where we had a ton of games and the Omocha Souko racks stopped turning up games we were interested in as we had picked over all the best. Our little tradition came to an end. It was, however, fun while it lasted.


  1. What a sweet story. I like that you have such fond memories of your earliest trips there. Do you and your wife still have 'Famicom nights' (or whatever you call them), by the way?

  2. I have no idea what the games on those carts look like, but my first impulse would also have been that the blue one "looks" more fun. Also it's a Capcom title, and those are most often pretty decent :)

  3. It's great you and your wife sit back and have game nights - specially when it includes finding a new cart!

    The first Famicom in my house was actually my wife's when she was a child, and although we do play together on occasion she is more into reliving the childhood memories rather than making new ones.

    Your wife definitely made the better decision with Juju Densetsu by the way. ;)

  4. My wife had a Famicom when she was a kid too. Hers is probably stored in a closet at her grandparent's place, I'm hoping that one day we can retrieve it. Its cool that you still have hers!

    And I agree about JuJu Densetsu...

  5. Bryan - Thanks! We sometimes do, mostly we play either Dr. Mario or Tetris Flash. She likes puzzle games a lot!

  6. Kiddo - I kind of agree. I think at the time it was the artwork that made me like Makai Shima, it looks like a really fun game on there. And I agree about Capcom!

  7. Oh, I'm glad to hear you sometimes play together. If I could get David to play a game once in a while I think I'd die and go to heaven :P

  8. LOL, not a gamer is he? Keep at it, he`ll come around someday:)

  9. As Bryan says, very nice story! :) Makes me jealous really - I have to be very careful about even reminding my wife that video games exist :( Also, I like that monkey too so I just looked into the game, intending on trying it, only to find out it's actually Toki! I used to have that game on... can't remember which system now but you're right - it's pretty cool :)