Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Super Potato, Akihabara: Retro Game Store

If you are into retro games or Japan's video game culture, chances are you've heard of Super Potato. Super Potato is a used video game store with locations in Osaka and Tokyo. When Mark and I visited this spring, going to the shop was definitely on our to-do list. We went to the store last time we were in Japan, so we knew what to expect this time around.

Super Potato Akihabara

The Tokyo branch is located in Akihabara, the district of the city known as "Electric Town" because of all the game shops and electronics stores. Mark and I were just talking about how we wished we could've seen Akihabara 20 or more years ago during the height of the video game craze.

Outside of Super Potato
This way to old video games, please!
Super Potato is easy to find if you take the Electric Town exit out of the station and head past the Club Sega; it's just a few blocks away! You'll know you are there because of the huge silly potato on the sign. Of course.

Super Potato Entrance

Inside, the multi-floor, geeky-tourist destination holds all the old video games, systems, and books an otaku could want, including Famicom, Game & Watch, Super Famicom, Mega Drive, PC Engine, PlayStation, Dreamcast, Saturn, and lots lots more. It's pretty overwhelming, especially if you aren't exactly sure what you're looking for and extra-especially if you aren't familiar with the Japanese name for the game you want to find. Most everything is spined at the shop, so you can only see the games title on the side.

The Super Potato in Akihabara lets customers take pictures in the shop, so I definitely did just that as Mark spent his time looking through the games. There were a lot of foreigners in the store; like I said, this is definitely a tourist destination. The store is awesome to visit, that's for sure - but it isn't the end all, be all of retro gaming shops. (Other shops we liked were Mandarake, Trader, and a few mom & pop shops that Mark researched before we left.)

Rainy Akihabara
Rainy day when we visited Super Potato.

Club Sega in Akihabara
The Club Sega you'll see when you leave the station.

Ready to see what's inside?
Good, because I have a million pictures.

Retro Game Master Tokyo

Arino! The first thing I saw when we went into the first floor was the Game Center CX display! There was a TV playing episodes of the show and featured games that he played in the episodes. Awesome.

Game Center CX Super Potato

Super Potato Smash Bros

I know this is a not so great photo, but I loved it. It's the character selection screen for Super Smash Bros, but with the Super Potato mascot edited in. Being in Super Potato is like being in your friend's basement; completely decked out with video game memorabilia, posters, and art. But, 100x cooler. There are TVs all over playing the start screen eye catchers of video games, retro game music in all corners, and a lot of playable demos. (I was happy to play the first levels of the NES version of Mario in Japan.)

But the best part was all the original art on the displays. The drawings were so cute and so awesome and so unlike anything you'd see in the chain stores of the US. I wish I could draw like that!

Super Potato Akihabara

I think I took this so Mark would remember to go back and find it next time he went.

Japanese Strawberry
Some drool on your strawberries?

Akihabara Super Potato

Super Potato Akihabara

Tokyo Retro Game Store

Video Game Shop Japan

Super Potato Pokemon
Oh, I know you!

Japanese Video Game Strategy Guides
Look at all those strategy guides! There were art books, too.

Super Potato Art
How awesome, right? I think this is showing how they test and clean games before they sell them.

Super Potato Cats
I LOVE THESE CATS. What are they saying? Someone please tell me.

Super Potato Staff Pick
This cat is even better!

DQ Super Potato
These slimes kill me. Look at that big blue one.

Bubble Bobble Japan

An example of the mini posters hanging from the ceiling. Nice and classy, not just leftover promo posters for boring video game releases. Also, I love Bubble Bobble.

Otaku Akihabara

Video games in Tokyo

There is a rating scale for the used games, but Mark wasn't as big of a fan of their system as he was of other stores. Other used game shops had an actual letter grade for the quality of the cart/box/other inserts, but the Super Potato rating scale is only shown through price differences alone. Sometimes there is a sticker saying if there is something wrong or missing, but it isn't as detailed as other stores.


Inside of Super Potato Tokyo

Although it is a magnet for gaijin (myself included), I did see plenty of native shoppers with baskets full of multi-colored carts and video game related trinkets.

Super Potato Game Watch
Remember these?

Game & Watch Retro

Akihabara Super Potato
Sneaky picture pointing to the front counter. You can see a working hunching over!

Retro Wonder Swan
Wonder Swan!

Video Games Akihabara

Akihabara Super Potato

Super Potato Stairs
I love the stairs, but so steep. Yikes!!

Video Game Art in Japan

Can you tell how much I really loved all the drawings? Even that little picture on the Super Famicom tags.. what a cute detail that makes everything fun to look at.

Video games in Japan

Retro Video Games Tokyo

Akihabara Retro Games

Super Potato Retro Dreamcast
Dreamcast is the coolest.

Super Potato Akihabara

Super Potato Dragon Quest
Little slime!!!

Super Potato Tokyo

Retro Video Games Akihabara

After a while, we were were finally done browsing. It was still early in the trip and Mark had gotten some idea of what he wanted to pick up (or do some price-comparing!) before we went back home. We had successfully warmed up from the rainy weather, but we headed back out in the wet gloom to figure out what was for supper!

Akihabara Station
Mark buying a ticket back to Shinjuku at the Akihabara Station.

So what did you think? I definitely recommend going to Super Potato once, twice or more if you are visiting Japan. Akihabara has plenty to look at, and if you walk past this shop, I'd definitely pop in to walk through the three floors.

9 comments:

  1. Wowww I would be so overwhelmed in that store! The little drawings are so great though. I love the kitty holding the kitty paw wand? haha <3

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  2. OMG!! This is the coolest thing ever. Thank you so much for taking photos. Japan seems like a dream.

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  3. Soooo much to look at, complete sensory overload! :)

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    Replies
    1. i know! it is nuts -- there is even a floor i didn't go to!

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  4. Wow I could drop some serious money and time in that store...its going on the list!!

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