If you are a regular reader of this blog then you might have an unrealistic image of Japan as a Mecca of cheap retro game shops. This is because I tend to over-report my fantastic bargain finds and under-report the amount of stuff that I find which is ridiculously over-priced. In this post I`ll try to bring a bit of balance to that situation by demonstrating the ridiculously over priced side of the Japanese retro game market.
I was in a Book Off downtown yesterday. Book Off is a very large chain of used book stores with hundreds of locations across Japan. Some of them also have retro game sections, including the one that I happened to be in yesterday:
Book Offs are very hit and miss with retro games. In my experience (I have been to a couple dozen of them), the statistics break down like this:
60% of Book Offs have no retro games at all.
20% of Book Offs have some retro games and their prices are quite good.
20% of Book Offs have some retro games and their prices are mind blowingly unreasonable.
This particular Book Off falls into the latter category. It has some of the worst prices on games I have ever seen. I had my camera on me so I photographed some of the most egregious Famicom examples.
Yup, 950 yen (about 12$ US). That is about the most common cart for the Famicom that is out there. I`ve seen it for as little as 10 yen at other shops and outside of this example I`ve never seen one priced over 300 yen.
950 yen again. This cart is worth about 100.
950 yen. For a sports title that you can`t give away.
Devil World and Soccer:
1550 yen (about 20$) for Devil World and 950 yen for Soccer. Devil World at least is a good game, but the average price for that one elsewhere is about 500 yen and, of course, you can find cheaper copies if you know where to look. As for soccer, I paid 10 yen for my copy of that one.
Interestingly, not all of the games were ridiculously over-priced here. Terra Cresta, for example:
250 yen is actually a good price for that one. Go figure.
I suspect that this is another example of a store that hires people with no knowledge of retro games who just put random prices on stuff. It is about the only way these prices can be explained.
I should end by noting that if you ever visit Japan for the purpose of retro game shopping, Book Offs can actually sometimes turn up incredible bargains. The problem is that the vast majority of them do not. So if you are walking down the street and happen to see a Book Off, then by all means I recommend popping in to see what they have because you might get lucky. Don`t go out of your way trying to find them though, in all likelihood it will be a waste of time!