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Akihabara saying goodbye to landmark as giant Sega arcade announces it’s closing for good

12 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

As the biggest mecca in the world for anime and video game fans, Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood has an unabashed affection for new technology and fresh content. And yet, perhaps because of the wonderland-like atmosphere for fans, there’s also a lot of nostalgia for the most recognizable examples of Akiba architecture.

Unfortunately for everyone who wants Akihabara to stay as it is in their memories, one of the district’s most iconic video game arcades has announced it will be closing down, and with very little advance notice. The Sega Akihabara Building 2 arcade, located along the southern edge of Akihabara, will be shutting its doors on Aug 30.

Originally opened by Sega in October of 2003 under the name Akihabara Kigo, the arcade started welcoming gamers just as the otaku culture boom really began picking up steam, and has stood through the neighborhood’s transition from a solitary shopping spot to a full-fledged tourist destination drawing otaku both from across Japan and abroad. Standing on a corner directly across from the Manseibashi Bridge that stretches across the Kandagawa River, the unobstructed view of Sega Akihabara Building 2 made the skyscraper a prime canvas for massive murals promoting the latest video game release or anime tie-up.

News of the arcade’s impending closure started circulating on August 1, when visitors saw a sign posted inside the building saying:

“Notice of closure

Thank you for your continued patronage. We are sorry to announce that this branch, Sega Akihabara Building 2, will be closing.

Our last day of operations will be Sunday, August 30.

The entire staff wishes to express, from the bottom of our hearts, our sincere gratitude at the loving support you have given our establishment for so many years.”

Sega has not issued a statement as to why the arcade is closing. The obvious culprit would be a downturn in business due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has vastly decreased the number of visitors to Akihabara, and even among those who are making the trip, the prospect of sitting in an enclosed space while grabbing joysticks and mashing buttons without the machine having a thorough disinfection before the last person vacated it probably isn’t the most appealing prospect. Sega Akihabara Building 2 had been temporarily closed during the spring as the Tokyo municipal government declared a state of emergency in response to the health crisis, and though the arcade reopened on June 12, the reunion will be short-lived.

Even before the start of the pandemic, though, Japan’s arcade business was already in a steady, prolonged decline, as illustrated by the loss of the legendary Warehouse Kawasaki arcade last year. The improved performance and online capabilities of home video game consoles have largely eliminated the need to go anywhere farther than your living room to play the most technically impressive titles or find human companions/competitors, so it’s possible that Sega Akihabara Building 2’s days were numbered regardless of whether or not there was a global plague, especially since, as “Building 2” indicates, it’s not the only arcade Sega manages in Akihabara.

Source: Sega via IT Media

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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-- Akihabara then and now: Photos show how Tokyo neighborhood has changed over the past 10 years

-- Pretend you’re Sony or Nintendo as you devour Sega with Tokyo’s new Sega Logo-yaki sweet

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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Well, at least we've still got HEY just down the road and Mikado in Takadanobaba, right?

Yea, HEY is great.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is really sad. Such physical video arcade was absolutely kool/awesome. Let’s hope that actual physical video arcades NEVER become obsolete in Japan. The arcade scene in Japan should stay like it was in the 1970s and 1980s or alternatively become more gigantic. It is understood that such physical video arcades are one of the many niches in Japan (and also Mainland China) and therefore have the highest ratio of physical arcades in the world. Japan (and Mainland China) need to take action to ensure that the Physical Video Arcade scene never becomes obsolete and retains its character of the 1970s and 1980s or alternatively becomes more gigantic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@WA4TKG

handful of spots left (ham or otherwise) but most are not so easy to find. amazons dominance has been a gift and a curse.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

NOOOOO!!!! I hope this doesn't have anything to do with their horrible distributing a GameGear mini decision. SEGA!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

7J6CAT knows where you’re talking about now (Rocket Radio)...but that one building T-Zone, now long gone, was on the main drag...oh well.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Now, there is nowhere to see the newest Amateur Radios on the market in person.

Maybe we'll get at least ONE Ham Radio shop back now. Akihabara was infamous for it.

I am a licensed ham and there are many shops in Akihabara that sell the latest radio gear, I got my recent Yaesu handytalk before the rest of the world at "Rocket" amateur radio shop, just follow the viaduct from Akihabara station towards Ochanomizu station (search ROCKET Amateur Radio on google). In addition, right next to Akihabara Station in those small mazes of electronics shops are about half a dozen amateur radio sellers, plus near Rocket radio where all the maid's are standing outside is another HAM shop as well. I can tell you as a licensed ham Akihabara has no shorted of Amateur radio stuff.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

WA4TKGToday  05:00 am JST

Now, there is nowhere to see the newest Amateur Radios on the market in person.

Rocket Radio and the smaller one just up the street (Fuji ?) are still there.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@WA4TKG

If I'm not mistaken, this building, along with another right up the street from here, were both home to MASSIVE Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) shops. They both vanished and these types of shops opened instead.

Now, there is nowhere to see the newest Amateur Radios on the market in person.

You can still find everything in the maze of side streets and upper floors of seemingly indescript buildings. Akihabara isn’t just the main central street.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What?! No!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, at least we've still got HEY just down the road and Mikado in Takadanobaba, right?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Akihabara is always rapidly changing, and it won't be long till we find out what will replace 'Sega Building 2'.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If I'm not mistaken, this building, along with another right up the street from here, were both home to MASSIVE Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) shops. They both vanished and these types of shops opened instead.

Now, there is nowhere to see the newest Amateur Radios on the market in person.

Maybe we'll get at least ONE Ham Radio shop back now. Akihabara was infamous for it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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