Super Potato in Tokyo is like an 80s and 90s video game time machine
In bustling Akihabara, the area of Tokyo famous for its arcades, maid cafes, and endless shops selling anime and manga goods, you’ll find a special kind of store.
Instead of offering the cutting edge and high tech items that Japan is famous for, this store beats to the beat of a different drummer. An 8-bit drum, to be precise.
Super Potato, a 1980s wonderland, transports customers to the retro world of classic gaming. And the Akihabara location is the flagship of a 10-store chain.
It is not difficult to find. Tourists just have to keep their ears open and follow the 8-bit video game tunes, which can be heard from the street.
These eye-catching sounds will guide them inside a five-story building whose exterior bears larger-than-life images of classic video game icons Mario and Pac-Man, which pursues two of its phantom nemesis, Blinky and Inky.
Customers entering the building are led into a small hallway where a ceiling sign displays the store’s mascot, a potato, and a red arrow that points to a blue elevator door. The elevator / time machine transports customers to the first floor of the store, on the third floor.
Super Potato is the # 1 retro game store in Japan, according to its website. Shelves and bins groan with thousands upon thousands of games for a multitude of systems.
Gamers looking for age-old systems are in luck as Super Potato is also a source for consoles, most notably the Famicom – the Japanese version of the classic Nintendo Entertainment System – and the Nintendo 64. You will also find unique obscure systems such as the Wondermega, a combination of a Mega Drive and a Mega CD that can be used as a karaoke machine.
Finding a game is not too difficult. Although the titles are in Japanese, most have familiar and famous faces of well-known game characters on their covers. Games sold include DOOM, Alien vs. Predator, Paperboy, Kirby’s Dream Land, and Pitfall, to name a few.
For a good deal, the bargain bins contain Famicom games which cost around 100 yen or Sega Saturn games ranging from 100 to 600 yen.
Additionally, Pokémon enthusiasts will find many favorite pocket monsters to add to their collections including stuffed animals, pins, mugs, socks, key chains, bags and more.
Continuing to the fourth floor, shoppers are greeted by a statue of fan favorite Mario. This floor offers a mix of retro and newer games and gaming systems from the 1990s and early 2000s, including the PlayStation 1 and 2, Nintendo Wii, and the Gameboy color.
Book lovers will find a bookshelf at the back of this floor with a variety of manga. Other cool items for sale are PlayStation hoodies and jackets. You can also find Super Mario ties, socks and suspenders.
Finally, a retro arcade area on the fifth floor is equipped with Super Mario Bros., Pong, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and my favorite, Splatterhouse. This is a cult horror game very much inspired by the films “Friday the 13th” and “Evil Dead”.
There are also vending machines and a place to buy snacks, including retro candies such as cigarettes and soda in glass bottles, to enjoy while you play your favorite games.
Super Potato is a must-see store for avid gamers, said first-time visitor Jesus Bibar. He made the trip after watching a YouTube video from the store.
“I have seen the size of the store and the number of different items they sell,” Bibar said. “I love to collect classic video games, so I decided to come visit this store to add to my collection.”
On the QT
Site: 1-11-2 Sotokanda, Kitabayashi Building, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0021
Directions: About a five minute walk from Akihabara station.
Hours: from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays; From 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Information: Online: superpotato.com