Retro Gaming Store in Japan

There is the quaint little retro gaming store in Japan that sells the odd Famicom cart, the occasional Saturn disk, or even a few systems or two, then there are super-ultra stores like the one I am going to show you today.

This particular shop is about 20 minutes from my house, and it’s one of the biggest places I’ve ever seen here for retro gaming gear. There are others that are similar in size, but this shop actually has prices you want to pay. It is almost set up like a supermarket with isles, a little basket to carry around, and even a taster section with four or five systems setup for people to play.

Before I put any photos up, it has to be said that people managing stores in Japan are very reluctant to have photos taken. I took as many photos as I could, but it was impossible to get photos of everything. I missed not only the hardware section, but also the PS2, Gameboy, Megadrive (Genesis), MegaCD, Saturn (the list goes on actually) and most of the boxed games sections.

Anyway, now onto the photos….

I would love to get my hands on this giant Mario – Hmmm that sounds slightly odd now that I think about it. 😀


One of the loose Famicom cart Isles (pictured bellow). Yes I say ‘one of’, as there are a few. You can see at the end of the isle there part of the boxed games section for Famicom too.


Another really great thing about this place is there is a GameCenterCX section if you want to play the games that are featured on the show. If you are wondering what GameCenterCX is, then I suggest taking a look on Youtube. It is one of the coolest retro game shows anywhere! Unfortunately I couldn’t get any photos of the GameCenterCX section.

Mind boggling range of Super Famicom carts. Again, this is only one of the Super Famicom Isles.


Again I couldn’t get great pictures of everything, but what you see here is just a part of the cased PCE games they have on offer. You can pretty much find everything here.



Bellow is just a part of the DreamCast section. If you’re wondering, that whole top row is for NeoGeoCD, and you may notice that there are some big empty spaces in the NeoGeo section – this is mainly because I bought 20 odd on this particular day. 🙂


This terrible photo (bellow) is trying to show you one of the toy racks dedicated to game related merchandise. They have all sorts of gear here, from recent Mario themed board games, through to figures of Ken in Street Fighter.


A closer look at the boxed Famicom and Super Famciom section (bellow).


I really wish I could have shown you everything. Just looking through the pictures there is so much I missed. This place has so much stuff that I know it will bring a tear to any retro gamer’s eye – specially the guys I know back home who feel great joy just finding a dozen or so carts in the wild.

And just before I go. This place doesn’t only sell games too! There are huge sections for toys, clothing, electronics, and pretty much any other type of used goods you can think of. Not bad considering I actually live in rural Japan! 😮

Bandai Wonderswan – Gameboy, what Gameboy?

The Bandai Wonderswan is an interesting little handheld that experienced a fair amount of success, albeit for a short period of time. The Wonderswan series debuted in 1999, but was discontinued in 2003.

Did it shine bright for a short period, or did it simply have trouble keeping up with the Gameboy and NeoGeo Pocket? 😀


Developed in unison by Koto and Bandai, the Wonderswan did in fact have quite a bit of success over here in Japan, and although it didn’t knock the Gameboy out of the water it did take close to 10% of the market share away from the giant Nintendo.

An interesting fact when talking about the Nintendo/Bandai rivalry is that Koto (the comapny working together with Bandai on the Wonderswan) was actually Gunpei Yokoi’s company – Gunpei Yokoi being the creative mind behind the Gameboy. Gunpei Yokoi seemed to like a fight he could win – don’t we all! 😀



The first in the series was the Black and White version of the Bandai Wonderswan (pictured above) released in 1999. The controller setup allowed games to either be oriented horizontally or vertically. Quite an interesting concept, specially when it came to puzzle games and more action oriented titles.



The Bandai Wonderswan Color (pictured above) was released just one short year after the Wonderswan Black and White. The Wonderswan Color received a good amount of success, and had the support of large 3rd part developers at the time. It not only featured a colour screen, but also it was beefed up in every respect hardware wise.

bandai-wonderswan-game-2 bandai-wonderswan-bw Wonderswan Color – Left. Wonderswan Black and White – Right.

There was actually another Wonderswan released in 2003 called the SwanCrystal. Unfortunately I do not have this one to show you, but it features an upgraded screen, more ram, and a reduced battery life. It was so damn ugly compared with the previous versions as well. 😀

The Bandai Wonderswan series came in a wide range of colours. My small hoard shows you just a few of the colours available.


An interesting design idea was the way in which the single AA sized battery fits into the unit. It uses a housing that simply slots into the back of the Wonderswan giving the Black and White 40 hours of gameplay, the Color 20 hours, and the SwanCrystal 15 hours.

bandai-wonderswan-color bandai-wonderswan-black-and-white

Unfortunately there is an area in which the Bandai Wonderswan falls flat for most people buying, and that would be the selection of games available. It’s not that the games completely stink by any means, it’s just that a player would need a very good command of Japanese to be able to play most of the titles available for the system. There are some action and puzzle games that don’t require too much Japanese to be able to progress, but the majority of games available for the unit are JRPGs or text intensive titles like RTSs.


bandai-wonderswan-color-2 bandai-wonderswan-3

Admittedly the Bandai Wonderswan is the last machine I tend to turn to when I’m heading to the toilet for a quick game (well, quick game and number two release). It’s not that it’s bad at all, it’s just that the games available don’t really appeal to me personally – specially with my crap Japanese ability.

These can be picked up cheap these days, so they are definitely worth having in a collection, but they are more ornamental than functional. 😀

Saturn Bomberman SBom Joycard and SBom Multitap

Any serious Bomberman fan needs the Saturn Bomberman SBom gear in their collection, but it’s not only for the die-hard fans out there either. The Saturn Bomberman SBom Joycard and SBom Multitap are great bits of gear in their own right too. 🙂


The first thing I am going to take a look at is the Saturn SBom controller, or ‘Joycard’ as called by its creators. The quality of the Joycard is great! The buttons feel good, the D-pad feels solid (albeit a little different to the norm), and there is nothing to complain about in terms of build quality at all.

The interesting thing about this controller has to be the turbo section though. The speed at which the turbo section of the SBom Joycard can pull off is nothing short of incredible! According to the manufacturer it is capable of 26 presses per second, and I have to say I believe it. The first time I connected one of these to my Saturn and switched my Saturn on, my Saturn went nuts! I had to actually switch it off, play with Joycard turbo switches and then switch it back on.



The next item I am going to look at is the SBom Multitap. There isn’t a great deal I can say about this peripheral except it functions as you’d expect, and it does this with minimum fuss and hassle.

For those of you that are uninitiated into the world of Sega Saturn, the console itself has only two joystick inputs. Of course for most games two inputs is enough, but when it comes to Bomberman it is best played with four players, four beers per player per 4 rounds, and for four hours sessions – this is what the Sbom Multitap does for you (except the four beers part).



I would definitely recommend grabbing the Saturn Bomberman SBom Joycard and SBom Multitap if you get a chance. They can get quite pricey these days, specially if you buy them in a set, but even so I would say grab them before you can’t anymore. 😀

Konami Game Selector AV – Japanese Rubbish?

Now, it’s not often I dive into the waste of another human being, but considering that Japanese dumping grounds can be the source of amazing finds I just can’t help myself – don’t judge me here! This Konami Game Selector AV is just one of the amazing scores I have come across in the rubbish.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, Japanese rubbish can be better than Ebay. ?


The Konami Game Selector AV can be quite sort after here. I have seen these sell for around 4,000yen (about $47) on the auctions. Admittedly I have seen them sell for much cheaper than that too, but I like to keep the larger figures around just to show you guys that I’m not some uncultured swine who dives into the next door neighbour’s rubbish for nothing. ?


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I am not going to go into a lot of detail regarding this AV switcher as there really isn’t any point. It does work very well, but for the true retro gamer it having no RGB/S-VID/Composite means that it probably won’t get the use it should. Would I throw it out though? Noooooo.

I will definitely talk about some of the other finds I have gotten from the dump in some upcoming posts. You will be amazed!! ?

PC Engine Shuttle – Space, the Final Frontier!

The PC Engine Shuttle was released in 1989 for around 18,000yen, thus making it a cheaper alternative to the original PC Engine which was closer to 24,000yen at the time.

Coming before the Core Grafx, the Shuttle was the only stand alone PC Engine to have an AV output, but due to the Shuttle having a different expansion slot to the original PC Engine, it could not use the CD add-on. Needless to say, it didn’t really take off (bad joke intended). 😀

Who cares if NEC was 30 years too late to cash in on that whole ‘man on the moon’ thing, the PC Engine Shuttle still kicks arse in my opinion!


As the Shuttle did not have a standard expansion slot at the rear of the unit, there was no way to store save game data using the available add-ons for the regular PC Engine. NEC did release a memory backup unit only for the Shuttle (pictured bellow), but these are quite rare to come across unfortunately. If you want to store game saves they are a necessity, so keep that in mind when thinking of your PC Engine budget.

pc-engine-shuttle-memory-backup pc-engine-shuttle-backup

Although the Shuttle was a complete failure in the market place, it is quite sort after today by most PCE collectors. If you have the PC Engine Shuttle with the memory backup, original controller (not pictured with mine), and box, they can command quite a hefty sum of money – no where near what an LT would bring in of course, but too expensive for most casual buyers.


HuCards (the credit card sized game cartridges) would slot into the front of the unit just the same as the other PC Engines, but of course this one has a little window. Does this window help protect anything, or make the machine perform any better? Nope is the long answer for that. 😀




Definitely the PC Engine Shuttle is worth having, but I would say if your plan is to have only one PC Engine unit, you might want to look at something else – specially if you can’t find the memory backup unit, or you feel that you might want to play PC Engine CDs at some point. 😀


I finally found myself a Shuttle controller! I had to buy a heap of other gear with it, but it was well worth it. 🙂


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