Friday, August 30, 2013

Kansai Retro Game Shops 3: Super Potato in Osaka!!

 I have long wished to make a pilgrimmage to Super Potato, the godfather of all Famicom shops.  They don`t have one in Fukuoka so I was never able to visit one while I collected games down there, meaning I was also massively excited to get to visit the one in Osaka`s Den Den Town!  Look at all those amazing rows of Famicom carts!!  With the cool little hand written price tags!  So pretty.

The shop is located on a side street that runs parrallel to the main street in Den Den town.  There are a lot of Otaku related shops on the street so its kind of a cool place for a stroll.

Prices are on the steep side: you won`t find any bargains there.  But oh what a place to browse!  I have never seen so much beautiful Famicom stuff collected in one space (save my closet)!

Look at all the Famicoms:

And Twin Famicoms and Disk Systems!!!
And copies of that shogi game for the Nintendo 64 (well OK, not everything they had a lot of was cool):

The hyper rare stuff was, as you might expect, the best.  They had a Famicom Box, which I had never seen in person before.  This was a coin operated type of Famicom that they used in hotels back in the 80s.  They are pretty hard to find.  They are also interesting because they use the NES-type controllers and gun rather than the Famicom ones.  The game carts, which you can`t really see from the outside, are also shaped like NES ones:

They also had some rare Famicom carts, including these gold copies of Binary Land and Rockman 4.  The Binary Land was (according to the written explanation on that card) made especially for the wedding of one of the game`s developers where it was handed out as a gift to guests, meaning there were only a couple hundred ever made (hence the 84,800 yen price tag).  The gold Rockman 4 is even rarer, only 8 of them were made.  At 628,000 yen (about $6,500 US) it is by far the most expensive Famicom thing I have ever laid eyes on.

And of course they had a ton of CIB Famicom carts too.  Prices were way too high for my taste but it was cool to see them:

Anyway, this is an awesome shop to visit if you are in Osaka, but like I`ve said don`t expect any bargains (except for that sucky N64 shogi game they have a million copies of up there).  Think of it more like a quasi-religious experience for true Famicom believers:)

Related Posts:

Kansai Retro Game Shops 2: Den Den Town in Osaka
Kansai Famicom Shops 1: Kobe

Friday, August 23, 2013

Kansai Retro Game Shops 2: Den Den Town in Osaka

On the last day of our Kansai trip I finally was able to make the pilgrimage to Den Den Town, Osaka`s neighborhood dedicated to electronics (`Den` means electricity).  As such it is also the centre of Osaka`s retro gaming stores, thus making it worth a visit.

Den Den Town is in the centre of Osaka, about a fifteen minute or so walk from Shinsaibashi (where we stayed).  It is a surprisingly large neighborhood with one main street (pictured above) stretching for several blocks and a number of side and parrallel streets. It is a pretty bustling area.

Most of the shops don`t sell retro games, which isn`t surprising given that there are hundreds of stores in the area.  There are quite a few that do though, we wandered into one on the main street and found a wall full of Famicom carts:

The prices were on the high side, but they did have a TV hooked up to a Famiclone with Transofrmers Mystery of Comvoy so we had some fun with that for a while (frustration is sometimes an enjoyable pasttime).

One cool shop we found specializing in retro games was Retro TV Game Revivial:

It is a small-ish shop but packed to the roof with games.  They had a good selection of CIB Famicom games:

And a few retro consoles:

The prices weren`t too bad here.  There weren`t any absolute bargains but their prices were fair (unlike some of the other shops in the area which were way overpriced).

One cool thing I spotted were some old school Famicom lunch boxes, in Super Mario and Bouken Shima pattern:

They weren`t for sale but I thought they were pretty cool.

I haven`t mentioned the biggest shop I visited in Den Den Town yet because it will be the subject of my next post..... Super Potato!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Kansai Famicom Shops Part 1: Kobe

 I just got back from a few days in the Kansai area and was happily enough  able to do some retro game shopping (well, mostly retro-game window shopping) while I was down there!

Back when I lived in Fukuoka I used to do regular posts on here where I`d take my camera to local retro game shops and review them, but I haven`t been doing those since I moved last year.  The main reason for that is my new city, compared to Fukuoka, is very short on decent Famicom shops.  The few that I`ve been to have not been blog-worthy.  So I was really excited to be able to go do some retro game shop touring in Kobe and Osaka.  Today`s post will just be about Kobe!

Kobe is an awesome city if you`ve never been there.  I actually lived in or near Kobe for my first five years in Japan, but that was before I got into retro gaming so I had never been to any of the shops there.

Kobe doesn`t really have a retro gaming district (neither does Fukuoka though), but I did stumble almost by accident into a little cluster of cute retro game/toy stores in an unusual place.

The main train station in Kobe is in Sannomiya.  The JR tracks are elevated there and underneath there are a number of shoutengai (shopping alleys) that stretch for a couple of kilometres from Sannomiya to Motomachi and on to Kobe station. The photo at the top of this post is from one section of it.  This is what it looks like inside:
Near Sannomiya most of the shops are actually high end clothing and other fashion stuff, but as you work your way over to and past Motomachi they start to become dominated by more ecclectic little shops selling used electronics and other stuff.  Naturally some of them had retro game consoles, including some Famicoms: 

 Prices were not that great, about 5,000 yen or so for a Famicom.  Not a rip off, but you can do better on Yahoo Auctions.

Just walking along the narrow alleyway was quite fun, there were a lot of Famicom bits and pieces peaking out of windows here and there:
 This guy had a lot of stuff, mostly toys but also some retro game stuff:

 Including some Famicom carts in his glass case.  Again, prices were on the high side.  Those copies of Super Mario Bros. were 1500 yen each.
So if you are in Kobe definitely give the alleyways under the JR tracks between Sannomiya, Motomachi and Kobe stations a try.  Even if you don`t buy anything you`ll probably have a lot of fun browsing and exploring down there. There are probably some other good retro game hunting grounds in the city, but I only had a day to look around. In my next post I`ll show you retro game hunting in the bigger city of Osaka!