Author Topic: Visiting Japan: Games to Buy, Places to Visit?  (Read 9083 times)

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Offline M.K.Ultra

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Visiting Japan: Games to Buy, Places to Visit?
« on: February 19, 2023, 10:46:31 AM »
I am planning to visit Japan this year and will be in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. I am planning to doing some game shopping, visiting arcades, and other video game related tourism. Does anyone have recommendations on the following:
  • Good arcades or used game stores in Tokyo
  • Which systems are region free (other than switch)
  • Some really good Japan-only physical games
  • Must visit video game related places in Japan
Thanks for any suggestions

Offline Adrock

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Re: Visiting Japan: Games to Buy, Places to Visit?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2023, 11:04:52 PM »
Which systems are region free (other than switch)
All pre-DSi Nintendo handhelds are region free. Even then, only DSi exclusive physical games are region locked, all five (?) of them. Not sure if you can read/speak/understand Japanese, but either way, you can't change the UI language on any Japanese model of DS to English.

PlayStation Portable and PS Vita are both region free and you can change the UI language to English (functionality for X and O are flipped though). I highly recommend getting a PS Vita, especially the 2000 model, if you're at all interested in console hacking/homebrew.

Game Gear and Neo Geo Pocket (Color) are both region free. I don't believe PC Engine GT (Turbo Express) is region free. WonderSwan was only released in Japan.

Super Nintendo and Nintendo 64 are kind of region locked, but you can open them up and remove some plastic to play games from all regions.

GameCube is not region free out of the box. However, if you have a soldering iron and tools to open the console, you can bridge R6 on the motherboard which effectively turns a Japanese GameCube into a North American GameCube. Even the UI language will be in English. EDIT: You can also install a region switch, or if you’re feeling bold, you can install the XenoGC mod chip onto the optical drive’s logic board which lets you just play whatever region’s games as well as burned discs.

That's all I know off the top of my head.

Quote
Some really good Japan-only physical games
I picked up some Japanese only Game Boy games in the past couple months so here are my recommendations:
  • Kaeru no Tame ni Kane wa Naru (The Frog For Whom The Bell Tolls) (Note: Prince Richard appears in Link's Awakening)
  • Survival Kids 2: Dasshutsu! Futago Shima (Survival Kids 2: Escape the Twin Islands)
  • Star Ocean: Blue Sphere
  • Tomato Adventure (Note: From Alpha Dream, the developers of the Mario & Luigi series)
  • Oriental Blue: Ao no Tengai
  • Magical Vacation
  • Samon Naito KurafutosĹŤdo Monogatari Hajimari no Ishi (Summon Night: Swordcraft Story - Stone of Beginnings)
  • Shin Bokura no Taiyou: Gyakushuu no Sabata (Boktai 3: Sabata's Counterattack)
  • Mother 1+2
  • Mother 3
Most of these are RPGs.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2023, 04:05:09 PM by Adrock »

Offline BeautifulShy

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Re: Visiting Japan: Games to Buy, Places to Visit?
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2023, 06:20:05 AM »
I am planning to visit Japan this year and will be in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. I am planning to doing some game shopping, visiting arcades, and other video game related tourism. Does anyone have recommendations on the following:
  • Good arcades or used game stores in Tokyo
  • Must visit video game related places in Japan
Thanks for any suggestions

So I haven't been there yet but Akihabara is considered to be the mecca of video game shopping in Japan.

So according to this site Japan is still dealing with Covid-19.
https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3003.html

Super Potato is in this district and it has all sort of retro games and consoles like Adrock described.

This person went to a Nintendo Hotel. Username on YT is TDR Explorer.

This is actually Nintendo's original headquarters.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar3NcJMQ2wc

This is a video about the travel restrictions being lifted in Japan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrgRxl7ypzk

This person also has a website and on there, is an article on travel restrictions.

https://tdrexplorer.com/japans-borders-reopening-visa-free-travel-for-tourists-in-october/

I don't know if you know any different languages but if not then there are some cool language apps like uLanguage(For Chrome/Android) or Memrise(iPhone/IOS).

I use uLanguage since I am starting to learn Thai and Spanish recently and if you have Android/ Chrome it is the top tier language app for Android.

I don't know how accurate the show is to actual Japan but for arcades the show High School Girl is a good watch and you may see some similarities.

I do eventually want to go to Japan in the way future so if I find anything else of note I will share in this thread for you M.K. Ultra and others like myself that want to go there in the future.
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Offline M.K.Ultra

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Re: Visiting Japan: Games to Buy, Places to Visit?
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2023, 11:21:37 AM »
Which systems are region free (other than switch)
All pre-DSi Nintendo handhelds are region free. Even then, only DSi exclusive physical games are region locked, all five (?) of them. Not sure if you can read/speak/understand Japanese, but either way, you can't change the UI language on any Japanese model of DS to English.

So DS is region free but 3DS is not. Can I play a Japanese DS cart in my US 3DS?

Offline M.K.Ultra

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Re: Visiting Japan: Games to Buy, Places to Visit?
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2023, 11:24:28 AM »

So I haven't been there yet but Akihabara is considered to be the mecca of video game shopping in Japan.

Super Potato is in this district and it has all sort of retro games and consoles like Adrock described.


During my stay in Tokyo, my hotel is actually in Akihabara  :D. Looking at Google Maps, Super Potato is just a couple of blocks away. Thanks for this recommendation!

Offline Adrock

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Re: Visiting Japan: Games to Buy, Places to Visit?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2023, 12:35:25 AM »
What else are you doing while in Japan?

So DS is region free but 3DS is not. Can I play a Japanese DS cart in my US 3DS?
Yes, DS games from any region can be played on a 3DS from any region.

Offline M.K.Ultra

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Re: Visiting Japan: Games to Buy, Places to Visit?
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2023, 01:10:41 PM »
I visited Japan for about ten days in May. I flew into Tokyo and stayed in Akihabara for 5 days. Specifically I was staying at the JR-East Hotel Mets Akihabara, which is right next to the train station. This is a great hotel with full size beds and bathrooms and quite affordable. It is also right in the middle of Akihabara. Looking outside the window you can see the Namco arcade.

I visited the Namco, Taito, and GiGo (formerly Sega) arcades.

They are really worth a visit and while there is not that much selection, the games featured are different than what I see at a local arcade in the US. There is usually a floor of claw machines (UFO catchers). Sometimes a floor of Gachapon machines (toy capsules). Then, what seems to be the most popular in Japan, a few floors of rhythm/music games. These include DDR-like machines,

Rock-Band style cabinets (with attached peripherals),

and then button/touch screen rhythm games. My favorite was a keyboard style game that tracked your hands movement in the air above the keyboard making for some really cool gameplay.

The top floor would often be retro games with older arcade cabinets. There are also places that have floors of pachinko and slots and the whole Akihabara strip reminded me of a Vegas from a parallel universe where everybody is polite and everything is clean.
Seriously, the biggest shock in going to Japan and seeing that large crowds of people doesn't have to mean people are loud, rude, and messy. Apparently that is just how Americans are. I would be in a super crowded train or street and it would be dead silent, nobody would bump into me, and there is not a single piece of trash to be seen.

I also did a decent amount of browsing used game stores. I visited the famous Super Potato store (as recommended by BeautifulShy), which has such a great collection that it is almost a video game museum.


 I also recommend Hard Off and Trader (my favorite). Now, you might be like me and avoid used games because they are not in good shape, but in Japan, people actually take care of their belongings, so used games look brand new. The games I posted pictures of in the "last gaming purchase" thread were all used. Almost every game is CIB, even Super Famicom games and older titles. In fact, the DS and Vita games that were cartridge only were so depreciated, they were dispensed in a capsule machine!

The toy capsule machines are so popular you will find them all over the place in Tokyo, even outside the game centers.

I also visited the Nintendo Tokyo store in Shibuya, which was really nice and is right next to the Pokemon and Capcom stores. The Capcom store did not have that great of a selection so it was a little disappointing. The Pokemon store had hundreds of plushies for all the different Pokemon. 


If anybody ends up going to Tokyo Disneyland, they have a really neat Penny Arcade with a bunch of antique mechanical arcade games.


After five days in Tokyo, I went to Kyoto for another five days. There I spent more time out in nature at parks and shrines. Finding shrines all over does resonate after playing the newer Zelda titles. From Kyoto it is a short train ride to Osaka where I went to Universal Studios Japan. You still need a special timed entry pass to enter Super Nintendo World, but I managed to get them the day of, using the USJ app. It is super crowded inside but really worth it.

The place is so well decorated that just walking around is an attraction in itself. I did not get the express passes for the Nintendo rides (they sell out months ahead of time) and the wait times ar upwards of two hours (which is all the time you get with the timed entry pass), so I just rode the Yoshi ride, but it offers a great tour of the Nintendo area. I am hoping to ride the Mario Kart ride when I visit the park in California.

Again, the merch stores are awesome and it is easy to spend way too much money, but a great place to get gifts for others. I tried to focus on the video game aspect of the trip, but if you want to know anything else about visiting just ask.