Call it urban archaeology or the creepy, unexplained disappearance of a arcade manager, but this is a discovery that will excite any retro-gaming enthusiast. An elderly Japanese woman recently purchased an aging building in Chiba, Japan just outside of Tokyo, and when exploring her new premises, she stumbled across the remains of a perfectly preserved two-floor 90s gaming arcade.
The unsuspecting woman obviously knew nothing about what she had found, and she instead turned to the otaku boyfriend of her granddaughter to check the place out. Over 200 photographs later, the young man reported on a forum that he found 55 cabinets of games ranging from modern hits of the time like Street Fighter II and Metal Slug to more classic arcades like Donkey Kong and Galaxian.
Of the 55, most are in perfect working condition that only needed a solid cleaning to be up and running. Others run with a darkened monitor, and a very small percentage are beyond fixing.
If the discovery of the game boards, some of which are worth a pretty penny nowadays, isn’t strange enough, it’s the state in which they were found which raises the most questions. The arcade looks as if it was abandoned overnight with no attempts to clear out the cabinets or sell them off. Insinuating further mystery is that the building’s records show it shut down in the mid-90’s, but some of the arcade games come from the late-90’s, meaning this place might have been abandoned more than once.
Arcades might be a novelty nowadays in America, but they are still going strong in Japan with towers of cabinets overshadowing urban areas like Akihabara, Den Den Town, and Tenjin in Fukuoka. Most are polluted with light-gun games, rhythm games, and “candy” photo booths called purikura. Not exactly the same image nowadays, huh?
This dank and dirty image gallery from a residential suburb of Tokyo is a look in the past at how the arcade scene used to be enjoyed in Japan before the glitz and glamour it might see downtown today. These places nowadays are where you can find the hardcore gamers and championship-caliber fighting game enthusiasts, and are far removed from Japan’s main image of a mainstream “game center”.” A two-floor time capsule, which is now being put up for sale to the highest bidder. Fascinating stuff.