Friday, 30 March 2012

Takadanobaba Arcade Game Centres

Located in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, Takadanobaba is a transport hub for commuters and with many educational institutions nearby there are a large number of students.  As we arrive at the JR platform and the doors slide open, the Astro Boy theme tune can be heard over the hustle and bustle.  Very cool.   Astro Boy was supposedly born in Takadanobaba and the JR platform uses the theme music from the TV series to signal the departure of a train. 

Anyways on with the arcades….

Mikado Arcade

It’s difficult to say which is the best arcade in Japan as it depends on the gamers tastes, but Mikado is definitely up there with the best of them, along with Taito HEY and Try Amusement Tower.  The arcade is located next to Takadanobaba Train Station tracks. 

Here are some of my personal highlights:

Space Harrier – Man I love this game.  If the arcade only had this game I’d still be happy!  Just a shame there was no Planet Harriers!

OutRun – hydraulic sit-down version.  Again, I will never tire of this.  Awesome.

After Burner – another Sega classic.

Virtua Fighter 2 – like an old friend I hadn’t seen for years!  It’s strange how the classic Street Fighter games are still very common in the Japanese arcades, but earlier Virtua Fighter instalments are a rare sight indeed.

Marble Madness – this was the first time I had ever played this game.  Great fun, but I was rubbish, totally unable to keep the marble on the course for any length of time!

Star Blade – I had completely forgotten how awesome this Namco classic is!  The game is very atmospheric, the visuals slick and totally immersive.  The 3D effect totally puts the new Konami racing games featuring 3D glasses to shame.

R-Type and Ninja Spirit / Saigo no Nindou – two of Irem’s finest right there!

Rainbow Islands – one of my all time faves.

Ninja Warriors – another awesome find!  I remember playing this in a zoo in the UK years ago, and even back then one of the screens wasn’t working!

Solar Assault – I had seen screen shots of this back in the day, and was very happy to finally get to play it.  The game plays better than I had ever imagined, and is very faithful to the Gradius / Nemesis series.  It’s a shame Konami didn’t explore this concept further.

Konami’s Solar Assault - Stage 1 youtube video

The arcade also sells a selection of superplay DVD’s and sound track CD’s.

I could have spent hours here.  Easily one of my fave arcades of the trip. 

Hakucho Game Plaza

This is a small arcade located on the corner of the street leading to Mikado arcade.


This is a Taito Station located on one floor of the BIG BOX department store.  And I do mean one floor – the whole level is an arcade!

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