This was a big day of retro game hunting for me. After getting a taste of what’s available outside of Akihabara, I thought I was finally ready to jump into the deep end and really look for some titles that I’ve been drooling over. This felt like a good strategy for me. By going to Hard-Off stores and seeing how much you can get certain games and consoles for, it would give me more information to make an informed purchasing decision. I knew how much a boxed Super Famicom was going for, so Super Potato wasn’t going to get one over on me or anything like that. I’ve also learned a lot about what I could and couldn’t find outside of Akihabara easily. If I wanted really nice copies of harder to find games then it would just be worth it to get them in Akihabara.
My goal was pretty simple, on the train ride into Akihabara I made a list on my phone of a bunch of games I wanted to pick up. Each store got their own column. When I arrived I’d go to each store, see if they had the games on my list and put down how much they wanted for it. After I did all that I had a snack and a drink, went over my list and decided on which games I would buy and from which store. In the end I came away with a bag full of really great games and a slimmer wallet.
Trader was my first store and would end up being one of my favorite for retro games. You can enter on the side of the building and go straight up the stairs to the second floor, that’s where all the games are. The games are all protected in cases and it has a decent amount of room to navigate, at least for Japan it does. Carrying a backpack always makes navigation a bit harder.
I was a little surprised to only find three of the Famicom Rockman games in box at this store, I thought they’d be a little easier to find in Akihabara, but I definitely was wrong about that.
They of course had a ton of loose Super Famicom games. I took this picture because I was looking at getting copies of Go Go Ackman 1, 2, & 3. These were all decently priced for the loose carts… Sadly, I wanted them to be boxed copies and the 3rd game is definitely a lot more expensive in that regard. I did, however, simply turn around in this isle and find all the boxed copies for those Go Go Ackman games. I picked all three of them up in one scoop. They were around 50,30, & 90 USD each for a complete in box copy.
These were the boxed Super Famicom RockMan games they had, including RockMan and Forte. I picked up the boxed versions of RockMan 7, X2, & X3 from this store. My Super Famicom collection is definitely getting pretty good.
I will end up buying a boxed copy of Akumajou Dracula XX, but today wasn’t the day. I’ve recently revisited this store and found the price for this game had dropped by 30 USD, so I think I’ll see where it’s at on my next trip and pick it up then. The box will have to be in great shape though for me. I just love the look of the artwork, way better than the game to the left of this box.
It’s a little crazy to see the price of Battletoads. I just don’t think people should get that juiced up over playing it. And yes, I do already own Virtua Fighter for the 32X and yes, it does suck about as much as you thought it did. I have a hard time liking the first couple Virtua Fighter games, everything feels like you’re underwater. Perhaps it’s a series I need to go back to and give a second chance.
I really need to check if this version of Perfect Dark comes with the expansion pack or not. If it does, it’s not that bad of a price, if it doesn’t then I don’t understand why Perfect Dark is going for so much in Japan. Perhaps it was a Rare game! (chuckle)
I was just looking it up on eBay and it doesn’t seem like these versions come with the RAM cart.
No, I did not buy this copy of Night Trap for the Mega Drive, I already own the remaster for the Switch! When I think about it, I just feel sad for people that played these styles of games when they were younger and thought they were good. This is from someone who played a good amount of Sega CD games with their brother as a kid, we played them so much yet they sucked so bad. You just don’t know any better when you’re that young in the 90s.
Like I said earlier, the price on these copies dropped in just a few weeks. I think I’ll try to head back to Akihabara in the next couple of weeks or so and see what’s happening with these prices. If you’re a collector, or just trying to start out, it’s good to keep coming in and out of these stores over a period of time, you get a sense of pricing and the inventory does change over on the regular. Perhaps I should have picked up that copy of Rendering Ranger I saw…
Some loose Super Famicom controllers for about 9 USD, look to be in good condition as well. I knew I was going to just buy a boxed Super Famicom, so getting 2 controllers is basically a third of the price of that package.
Now Mandarake is a store for the collectors out there. I believe it’s an eight story building, with the retro games taking up the 6th floor. All the games are in cases like you see in the photo below. This makes it hard to find the specific title you’re looking for if the spine is only in Japanese. They also have a good amount of money cases with a lot of expensive titles on the walls of the store. The prices are high in this store, but they are supposed to be catering to people that want their games in great condition. I’m not so sure it’s totally worth the price they’re asking on some of these titles. They do have a surprising amount of Virtual Boy games though.
I’m really just not a fan of the way this store does it’s thing. I don’t like these cases, I don’t like how hard it can be to pull some of them out to look at the cover, they just pack them in tight. And some of the aisles are just small and make it awkward to dig through some of these shelves.
This is the “classic” retro game shop that everyone talks about. This is place you’re supposed to go to when visiting Tokyo.
What do I think about Super Potato?
I actually loved this store! I don’t think it beats out Trader as my favorite though, I think the selection of games in Trader gives it the win. What I do like about Super Potato is that if you want a certain game, they’ll have a range of prices for it. They don’t do this for every title mind you, just some of the higher-tier games.
So let’s look at this image of some Super Famicom games here. The boxes on display are empty, you have to bring them up to the counter and they’ll show you a bunch of copies that you can pick from. I bought Super Metroid from them and so I brought the Super Metroid case up to the counter. The clerk pulled out a bunch of copies of Super Metroid, each one a different price and in a different condition. He must of had 7 copies of the game on the counter for me to look at. I decided to get one that was around 85 USD. While that’s a bit rich, the case is in near mint condition and the manual looks like it’s never been touched, it’s insane. It makes me not want to touch the manual because I don’t want to be the one that ruins it.
Now, can you get a boxed copy of Super Metroid for cheaper in Japan? Definitely! I said in an earlier post about the Super Metroid copy I found at a Hard-Off for around 45 USD. It was beat up and the box definitely wasn’t that nice. I am glad I didn’t just pick it up, I wanted this game and I want to display it on a shelf. I love the artwork on the box and just the way it’s presented, so the price is worth it for me. Also, I really just want to play this original cartridge on a console. I want to say that I beat this game and not just an emulated version of it.
Super Potato also has an aisle of Pokemon and other merch, like Nintendo. There’s not a whole lot, since the store is so small, but it’s something.
I did end up buying Mario 1, 3 & USA from Super Potato. I didn’t get the copies that needed to be taken to the counter, I just grabbed some decent looking boxes from the shelf below. It just makes me wonder if I really need a pristine copy of those games… That Zelda games is going for upwards of 100USD though! Who knew?
What did surprise me and was a bit of a letdown, was the lack of RockMan games. You could always go to the cart isle and pick up all the Famicom RockMan games for relatively cheap, but I wanted them to all be boxed. They just don’t seem to have the supply right now. I wonder if it had to do with Super Potato starting an EBay store during the pandemic that cleared them out. I did grab a copy of RockMan 5 on my way out.
The left of this image shows the boxed Famicom games. The right has the loose Famicom carts. The back wall has the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast titles.
They even have a whole section of Famicom Disk System games to look through. The prices on these titles are definitely high in my opinion. I was able to get some of these titles at a Hard-Off for about half the price. Keep in mind that’s with the luxury of living in Japan and having time to go around to all these stores. If you’re visiting on a trip and have a limited amount of time, it’s probably worth the cost to just buy the games at one of these stores, even if you can get them for cheaper elsewhere.
I popped into Surugaya because of the videos I’ve watched of KidShoryuken and it seemed like a decent place to have a look. I ended up not liking this store at all. You go down into the basement and there are like 3 aisles you can walk down, each of them with enough room for one human adult. If someone is in the aisle looking at games you can’t really get in there and navigate, you kind of have to wait for other people to leave for you to move in. Besides that, I just prefer the shop layout of Trader and Super Potato over this store, I really don’t see a reason for me to go back here, especially since the selection of games and prices really didn’t compare well with what I had already seen.
Wrap it up already!
So that was my first real trip to Akihabara to look for retro video games. I picked up 15 games and spent a good chunk of money. I am good with that though. I went in knowing that I would probably spend more money than normal, I was looking for some harder to get games and I wanted them to be complete in box. Outside of the Famicom games I mentioned from Super Potato, I got 8 Super Famicom games as well. All three Go Go Ackman games, the three RockMan games, F-Zero, and Super Metroid. Out of those games, only Super Metroid wasn’t from Trader. I also got three more N64 games from Trader, Shadows of the Empire, Episode I Racer, and Turok; all of which were really cheap.
I really did enjoy my time looking around all these game stores in Akihabara. It’s a fun trip and I really just enjoy looking around these stores. I’ll update you more on my next trip to Akihabara and what I got then, so stay tuned for that one.