In what has become an annual ritual, I'm currently in Japan to cover Tokyo Game Show... though, these days Tokyo Game Show has become a pretty modest affair, so I'm mostly filling my time by interviewing cool people outside of the show.
You can hear some of those cool people right here on this week's episode of Retronauts, in which I've taken to the streets (and shops, and restaurants) of Tokyo to talk to fellow journalists, game enthusiasts, localizers, and even a well-known game developer about the unique love for and culture that's grown up around classic games here.
As I mentioned a few days ago, within a few hours of my arrival in Tokyo, I walked into a convenience store and found a bunch of coffee cans featuring a promotion with classic Namco games. You can find old 8- and 16-bit games at pretty much any shop that sells new games or used media. Compared to the way things shake out in the U.S., this seems pretty nutty!
Maybe it's not all good — something this episode's final contributor, comcept president Keiji Inafune, suggests — but there is something absolutely thrilling about being able to come to Tokyo and find games that are rare, obscure, or hard-to-find back home. Even though Japanese shops are suffering the same inflated prices that collectors face in the U.S., it's a heck of a lot easier to stumble across great old games in great shape in Tokyo than it is back home.
In Japan for Tokyo Game Show, Jeremy grills American game enthusiasts (and one celebrity guest!) to learn their favorite thing about Tokyo's retro game scene.
Music in this episode comes from a variety of classic games: Mother, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Gradius II, Gimmick!, and more. Special thanks to Wired's Chris Kohler, Kyle McLain, Eurogamer's Martin Robinson, 8-4's Mark MacDonald, and comcept's Keiji Inafune for their contributions this week!
- The Classic Gamer's Tokyo Shopping Guide: A little dated, but still accurate. A great starting point for retro shopping in Tokyo's hotspots.
- Collectors are Stripping Japan's Rare-Game Paradise Bare: Then again, it turns out jerks like us are ruining it for everyone else.
- Go East, Young Man: Retronauts' in-house tribute to classic Japanese games.