Monday, April 9, 2012

Manga Souko: A Very Good Famicom Shop

As I mentioned in my previous post I ended up visiting a Famicom shop that I had never been to the other day. That shop lies WAY down south on good old Route 31. To get there just keep heading south. Pedal along until you think you are going to die of exhaustion. If you see an old F5 fighter plane (correction: F-1 fighter plane) on your left you are on the right track, probably only a dozen more kilometres to go:
The shop`s name is Manga Souko. Like my old local shop Omocha Souko it is a chain of stores that sell recycled toys, comics, clothes, movies, CDs and video games.

When I go to video game stores for the first time I always get nervous as I walk in the door. If you don`t know the store and, like me, are only interested in retro video games then the odds are stacked against you finding what you want. The possibilities are:

1) They don`t have any retro games at all;

2) They have retro games but not a very good selection;

3) They have retro games but their prices are too high;

4) They have a good selection of retro games AND their prices are reasonable.

Most of the time you will find the shop falls into category 1, 2 or 3. It is the cross that all retro game collectors in Japan, nay the world, must bear.

Not this time though. I am happy to say that Manga Souko falls decidedly into category 4! I was so delighted!

Take a look at this massive Famicom section they have:

Hundreds of different titles! Most of them quite reasonably priced!

I was like a kid in a candy store. Pure giddiness.

The great thing about visiting a new store with a huge Famicom section like this is that even if, like me, you have hundreds of games they probably will surprise you with a few you have never seen before. With the game shops that are on my normal `rounds` I know their selection pretty well so I rarely find games that I don`t have or know about.

At Manga Souko though I was able to pick up a surprisingly large number of games that I needed, some of which I had never seen before.

Let me show you around the place a little bit.

They have quite a few consoles, though disappointingly no Famicoms (save for the one in the junk box I mentioned in the last post). They had lots of Super Famicoms, a couple Mega drives, Game Cubes and some other more recent consoles nicely packed up though:
Their Super Famicom section was pretty good too:
As was their Game Boy section:
And they had an interesting showcase full of vintage toys that I thought looked quite neat:
They also had a very nice glass case with some of their `good` Famicom and Super Famicom games:
Happily I had enough on me to buy a few games out of that!

This here was one of the store`s more interesting features:
In one part of their Famicom section they have arranged the games according to the `top 100` rankings. This follows the rankings made by Famitsu based on a reader vote a few years ago. I put the whole list at the bottom of this post for reference for anyone interested. Here you can see the top 3, Dragon Quest III, Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 3:
Tower of Druaga came in at #56:
And rounding the list off at #100 was Gradius II:
Anyway, to say that I went crazy would be an understatement. This is what I got:
A whole basket full of Famicom carts, what an image of beauty! This was actually me exercising self-restraint, I could easily have filled two of these up with stuff I wanted to buy but the two hour bike ride back home convinced me to limit myself to the one basketload.

I`ll probably do another post to highlight some of the new additions to the collection later.

Since I get a few readers looking for info on local Famicom shops from time to time, anyone who is interested in visiting this particular shop just go here:

View Larger Map

To end this post, I present the top 100 Famicom rankings according to Famitsu (courtesy of Sketz at HardCore Gaming 101 who originally posted it here in a comment a while back):

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
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


  1. What kind of prices were we talking, like 200, 300 yen a pop?

  2. On average yeah, about that. The cheapest were 100 yen each and they went up from there, I actually paid 2500 yen for one game that I have been wanting for a while.

  3. I was here the other day for the first time too as I've started working quite close.

    When I went there was an AV Famicom, pity it's gone now :(

    It's much more organised and clean than Omocha Souko which is nice.

    I'm more interested in Super Famicom games (as I've yet to buy a Famicom) and they had a pretty good selection. Was very happy to Super Metroid for 100 yen :) A lot of the other Super Famicom games were around 400 yen.

    Pity there isn't a proper junk section like in Omocha Souko though. The hardware was a little on the expensive side.

  4. I love the cleanliness too, way better than Omocha Souko. It is a real bummer about the lack of a junk section though, that was really the best part of Omocha Souko.

    I noticed the SFCs were about 4000 yen or so each which isn`t a bargain but I guess it is reasonable for a tested and complete one packed up like that.

    And they had Super Metroid for 100 yen? D-oh, I wish I had seen that. I spent all my time in the Famicom section so I didnt look much at the SFC section.

  5. They actually had quite a few copies, they were 100 yen each or 2 for 150 yen! Although the only other games I saw in the 2 for 150 yen offer were sports titles, so I didn't bother with that.

    The Super Famicom had a top 50, but it lacked Super Metroid :(. It seemed to be mostly full with RPGs and anime games, but at least Mario Kart was number 1.

    I'll definitely be calling in there again every now and then.

    There's also an Eco Mall not too far away as well, which had a few games (a lot better than my local one). Ended up picking up Cotton 100% for the SFC and Tiny Toons 2 for the Famicom for a grand total of 500 yen.

  6. Sean: I don't know why I've never asked this, but I'm guessing you don't have a car? Also, I'm guessing biking there is easier than taking a bus or train? Or did you just want to get some exercise?

    Regardless, I look forward to seeing and hearing about all of the games that you picked up during this particular trip. It certainly looks like you added a few titles to your collection! :)

  7. I am sure you have thought this yourself as well, but you probably would not have cycled down there if not for the demise of Omocha Souko. Yes it takes a little more effort, but what a great catch!

    With this basket full cartridge goodness added to your already impressive collection, how many Famicom games do you now have?

  8. ^No kidding! It's a little farther, but it seems you've found a store to replace Omocha. Now all you need to do is find another $500 game for a few cents and it'll have all come full circle.

  9. Mike - yeah I saw that SFC top 50 too and had a browse through it. With the Famicom games they had a few decent titles in the 100 yen each (2/150) deals that I picked up (though mostly it was sports too). I also picked up a couple of Game Boy games with that price.

    I actually stopped at that Eco Mall as well but didn`t buy anything. There is a Book Off just around the corner from Manga Souko too, but I was disappointed to find that the only retro games they had were a few very common boxed SFC games.

    Anyway, like you I will be heading down there every once in a while when I have time. They gave me some coupons that I have to use by the end of May so that gives me an excuse!

  10. Bryan - correct, I don`t have a car. When I`m in Canada I always have a car but in Japan I`ve never needed one so I`ve never even bothered to get a license here. Public transit is amazing here and Fukuoka is an extremely easy place to get around on by bicycle so I`ve never had a problem. Basically it boils down to:

    Major benefits: Keeps me in shape, saves me a ton of money and helps the environment at the same time.

    Major drawbacks: Can`t buy too much stuff at places like Manga Souko due to limited carrying capacity. Also cycling on a rainy day sucks.

  11. Erik - thanks, you are correct. The closure of Omocha Souko has forced me to go out and explore some other shops around town like this so it has been a bit of a good thing too!

    Unfortunately I lost my Famicom checklist last year so I don`t have an exact count of how many I have, but I think with these purchases I am probably close to 800.

  12. Skyrunner - oh yes. Unfortunately this shop doesn`t have a junk section like Omocha Souko so my chances of finding another Gimmick like that are slim, but I will keep the hope alive:)

  13. What a great store layout! If I had a store near me like that then my sales thread would consist of donations to ship out boxes of random games to people. haha

    Do you ever see copies of Gunman's Proof around for the Super Famicom? I always wondered what the later releases would sell for on average...

    Are those books on top of the glass case that contains the FC/SFC selection? :)

    I'm going to have to switch your blog to my homepage soon enough. :D

    1. Boxes of random games, that would be awesome :p

  14. I've been keeping an eye out for Gunman's Proof, but have yet to see a copy.

    It sells cheaply on Amazon Japan though, a cart only copy is around 100 yen plus shipping.

  15. Thanks, rgallant! I haven`t seen any copies of Gunman`s proof, but like Mike said it apparently can be had on Amazon cheaply!

    The things on top of the glass case that look like books are actually Famiclones!

  16. I love your site and your for sale thread too :p I wish we had awesome game shops like this where I live! One day when I go to Japan I'm gonna take a big empty suitcase just to fill with games lol

  17. Thanks Alana!! Do make the trip someday, it is quite a fun country (especially if you have an empty suitcase to fill)!

  18. That is a Mitsubishi F-1 Fighter, not the F-5 by Northrop.

  19. Good call! I actually spent a few years as a kid growing up on an air force base so I have to admit that I knew it wasn`t an F-5 even as I composed this post. I had no idea what it was though and it looks a bit similar to the F-5 so I just called it that:)

    Never seen a Mitsubishi F-1 before, very interesting.

  20. Being able to cycle to an amazing game shop on a nice day. Sigh, what a life. I love reading your blog Sean :)

  21. Thanks Wil! A sunny day with nothing scheduled, two wheels and a city full of retro game shops and other interesting places: the recipe for a perfect afternoon:)