September 08, 2016

Pilgrimage to Sacred Place Full
With Arcades Games

アーケードゲーム 聖地巡礼

Are you reades familiar with arcade games? You probably are if you are Japanese ageing around late 30s. In the old days it is a common thing for candy shops to have these arcade game cabinets, and we’ve seen many school kids playing them after school. Now that there are less and less of theses candy shops and arcades, it is a rare occasion that we see theses arcade game cabinets in city. In arcade Mikado, they stock variety of retro games from the past including and mainly old arcade game cabinets, which you can still play them. The shop is dim from the daytime, and only the game screens are shining brightly amongst the blue-ish lighting inside the shop. We should note here it is an very hard atmosphere for first comers to go inside. Having said that, it is also a pity if you cannot make your way inside being speechless by looking at the regulars playing. Once you enter, you will find the place confortable thinking which games to complete first.

Coming to Japan for Games. Foreigners who challenge the pilgrimage.

Customers of Mikado age between in their 30s to 40s. After the clock hits 7pm you will spot workers in their suits playing the games after work. Takadanobaba, where the shop is located, is known as a college town usually filled with students but in this place you will not see them at all. The shop owner Mr.Ikeda speaks that in recent years, there are more and more foreign tourists coming in to the shop. That is still only about 10% of their total customers, but are from various places such as US, Europe and Middle Eastern countries. Even for Japanese people Mikado is a place for game experts, and apparently it goes the same for visiting foreigners as well. It is a sacred place for all gamers who exists in this world.

First floor is an area with cabinet games. These cabinet games are different from arcade games, where each cabinets are shaped accordingly to the theme of the games installed. For example if it is a racing game then there is a handle to it, and if it’s a flight game then it has a cockpit. Arcade games on the other hand, the owner can change the software inside so it can allow people to play different kinds of games on one machine. First floor carries those cabinet games which are old and rare, and is apparently favoured by many european people especially the French people. From about 2011, there is a trend of pixel art in France and the retro games are still an on going trend. Because they do not have the reach to actual cabinet, they download the retro games online and play them on their computers. So, for them just touching the real cabinet games are already shivering enough.

Second floor is an area with arcade games. They mainly serve fighting games. It is masterpiece looking when you see these arcade games lined in rows packed on whole of second floor. Games on the first floor do not normally change, but on the second floor, the owner changes its game titles frequently depending on customers’ needs. Line ups are playful as you may spot a fighting game arcade suddenly right next to “Toki Meki Memorial (Heart Fluttering Memorial, a game about normal high school boy tries to seduce pretty girls)”. What you do not want to miss on the second floor is a game tournament that starts from 8pm everyday. Once you lose, you are to step back behind the winner and that gradually make it into a big crowd in the end. Hard to imagine, as a game amateur, what it is like to win in a place like this. People from Middle East and North America are the regulars to this event. That is because gambling on games are allowed in some parts of Middle Eastern and North American countries, and so is a world where you must be the winner to make money. Those champions come to Japan to compete with the Japanese people. However, with its long history of arcade games, the foreign champions are not even a competition to the Japanese champions. Best in Mikado will probably make you into the best in the whole world. If you are confortable with your skills, then this should be a good challenge to you. These daily game tournaments are streamed live on USTREAM so if you can’t make it to the location you can watch the scene online.



Kind With Beginners Too!

Most of the games Mikado stocks are hard to play for the beginners. If you are, then “Atari Star Wars” can be a good match for you. This is the retro game version of every one’s love-of-life Star Wars. This machine is very rare to be working as it uses oscilloscope which are usually used for electro-cardiograms in hospitals. Another easy title is “Burning! Professional Baseball Home Run War”, a simple game where you try make home runs as many as possible. The rule is strict as everything else not a home run will count as out. On the second floor there is also a shop where they sell original Mikado goods such as ash trays, caps, and tees. These may be nice and a little weird Japanese souvenir. Mikado is a gold mine which the game collector Mr Ikeda has been cherishing over the time. It is one and only a place where it lets people play these rare retro games everyday, and the games can’t be fixed once broken. A perfect secret base everybody has dreamed of. There are a lot of foreign tourists come here just for the one play. You must feel privileged for the fact being able to play them everyday after work if you live in Tokyo. One play can be a new substitute for one drink. Mikado today is also full of players of both local workers and a bit of foreigners.




Takada Arcade Mikado

Address: 4-5-10 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5386-0127

Opening Hours: 10:00~24:00
CLOSING: Open Daily

USTREAM: Mikado69

高田馬場ゲーセン ミカド

TEL: 03-5386-0127

月~土曜日 10:00~24:00


USTREAM: Mikado69

writer / EMI KIUCHI
photographer / TOMOHIKO TAGAWA

If you would like to tourist information , please contact us