Any gamer who touch down on otaku ground zero in Akihabara, Japan for the first time will definitely be overwhelmed. With several dozens of shops in the area, the biggest question would be where to begin? Fear not, as we have scoured out the best places to make video game purchases. Check out our video game buying guide in Akihabara below!
Sofmap is primarily an electronics retailer, but the several stores they have set up across Akihabara are dedicated to selling video games. The one to note will be the store next to the Sega arcade which you will notice upon leaving the Akihabara station.
Here you will find the latest and greatest games on the fourth floor, although if you are on a budget, there are used titles the floor below it. These aren’t necessarily old games, as they can be recent releases which have been sold back to the store.
But if you are the type to look for rare and older items, the third floor will meet your needs too. Items in mint condition will set you back quite a bit, and sometimes way above what they retail for, although if you are a collector, that would not matter at all. If you just want a copy to play, the boxless games will cost much less, so there is that to factor in. Sofmap is also a good place to pick limited edition game consoles too, as long as you don’t mind them being second-hand. But really, second-hand items in Japan are near pristine as its former owners are very careful about handling them.
Because we are in Japan, there will be a selection of games that you probably will not be able to find sold out in the open elsewhere, and that is none other than adult games, also known as eroge. Head further up to the sixth floor and you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to such titles. Interestingly enough, this is what constitutes as PC gaming in Japan.
Moving up further right across a Colonel Sanders, you will find one of the many Trader outlets in Akihabara. Here we will be looking at the second store. While the selection here is far more limited, they do carry a good assortment of titles new and old.
Prices here are considerably better than the bigger chains such as Sofmap, so it is a good idea to drop by here for the newer titles. Much like Sofmap, there is also a dedicated section for used games here. If you are looking for something particularly rare, there is a good chance you may find it here.
There is one name which is synonymous with retro games in Akihabara, and that is none other than the legendary Super Potato. Unlike the two stores before this, the location of Super Potato would not be immediately visible at first, so be sure to look out for that sign. The store spans a number of floors and here you will find a large assortment of retro games here. Despite the size of the store, its selection of games is very impressive, and you will likely find whatever it is you are looking for.
When it comes to prices, these aren’t particularly the cheapest, as you are paying for the convenience of having most of them available to you under one roof. As you might expect, there are many rare titles available here, so if you are a collector, you find yourself right at home.
Mandarake is a chain for multimedia products, which also includes video games. The store in Akihabara is particularly known for its second-hand items, so deal hunters will have much to look for here.
The sixth floor is where you want to go, and here you will find games across generations. While Super Potato focuses on the 8 bit and 16bit era, Mandarake has a better selection for releases of the PlayStation generation and upwards. And unless you are looking for a rare item, prices here are fairly reasonable.
Speaking of which, those with deep pockets and a penchant for the exquisite will be able to appreciate the assortment of rare video games put on display at Mandarake.
The Trader headquarter’s claim to fame is for its unique selection of games that you would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. While you will also find your usual selection of retro and new games, the one of two main draws here is the assortment of import games.
In case you didn’t notice from the image, import games here refer to what are essentially English language games which we are more familiar with. While most games out in the market are localised for the Japanese market anyway, there are some purists that would want to have their original version.
Furthermore, you can find actual PC games here, which interestingly enough, also share the same floor as the adult games. As we mentioned earlier, Japan does not draw the distinction between the two.
Retro Game Camp
Next to the main Trader store we have another retro game shop, known aptly as Retro Game Camp. There is not much to talk about this store, but you may be able to find gems every now and then that the other bigger stores may not stock.
The choice of hardware and software here are less impressive, but it is still worth checking this place out in case you stumble on something particularly interesting. Prices here are not the best but sometimes just being able to complete that collection is far more important.
Rounding off the guide, we head back to the Akihabara station to our last location, Book-Off. As implied in the name, this is a chain which specialises in the trade of used books. Of course, by virtue of being of being in Akihabara, the outlet here also has used video games in stock.
The selection here is vast, and the available titles span across generations. Prices at Book-Off pretty much fluctuate all the time, so if there’s a particular game you want, it’s best to take note of them. That said, you are likely to find a very good bargain here if you do your research and legwork.
These are all we got for our video game buying guide in Akihabara, do leave us comments if you have more recommendations!