Photo: PR Times
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Sega closing iconic Tokyo arcade that’s been in business for almost 30 years

12 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Last year, video game fans and Akihabara historians were saddened by the announcement that Sega was closing its Sega Akihabara Building 2 arcade. Now, exactly one year and one day later, we find out that we’ll soon have to say goodbye to another landmark Sega game center.

On Monday, the Sega Ikebukuro GiGO arcade announced that it’ll be shutting down, bringing to an end nearly three decades of welcoming gamers, otaku, and fujoshi. The eight-floor (including basement level) facility opened on July 21, 1993, the same year Sega released such technological marvels as "Virtua Fighter," "Star Wars Arcade" and "Alien 3: The Gun," and with "Daytona USA" and "Virtua Cop" arriving in 1994, it must have seemed like the good times were going to last forever.

But as time went by, arcade games were surpassed by their home counterparts in terms of gameplay sophistication, and the audio/visual gap has pretty much disappeared as well. To its credit, Sega Ikebukuro GiGO made remarkable efforts to adapt and stay relevant, adding more sticker picture booths and then crane games stocked with anime character merchandise, synergizing with Ikebukuro’s rise as a center of otaku culture. The building has also housed karaoke rooms and a themed cafe based on Sega’s popular "Sakura Wars" game/anime franchise, and it now boasts a Sega Taiyaki shop on its first floor, selling Japanese sweets produced in cooperation with Yokohama-based sweet bean cake specialist Kurikoan.

Unfortunately, though, the multi-faceted party is coming to an end. Sega Ikebukuro GiGO’s lease is ending, and the building will be starting renovation construction, so Genda Sega Entertainment (the new name of the division of Tokyo-based arcade amusement machine rental company Genda which bought a controlling interest in Sega’s arcade management business last fall) is shutting the Ikebukuro arcade down for good next month.

With a prime location on a crowded corner of Sunshine 60 Street, the predominantly pedestrian pathway that leads to Ikebukuro’s Sunshine 60 entertainment complex, a lot of memories have been made at Sega Ikebukuro GiGO, and the news has hit Twitter commenters hard, with reactions including:

“I went there so many times during the golden age of arcades. Really gonna miss it.”

“I’ll never forget going to the Sakura Wars cafe on the top floor.”

“I’ve been going there to play crane games for the past 20 years. The Shinn Asuka and Rey Za Burrel [from Gundam Seed Destiny] plushies I got there are still two of my most precious treasures.”

“When they first opened, I was working in the neighborhood and the fighting game crazy was in full swing, so I used to stop by all the time.”

“I haven’t visited in a while, but this place will always be a page in the book of memories from my youth.”

Making the whole situation even sadder is that it wasn’t that long ago that Silk Hat, another major Ikebukuro arcade just a block away from Sega Ikebukuro GiGO went out of business.

If there’s a silver lining, it’s that at least Genda Sega Entertainment hasn’t said that Sega Ikebukuro GiGO was underperforming, so there’s a sliver of hope that the company might create some sort of successor game center in the neighborhood. Even if it does, though, odds are it won’t be on the scale of the sort of arcades Sega was building back in the ‘90s, and the last chance to visit Sega Ikebukuro GiGO will be September 20.

Location information

Sega Ikebukuro GiGO / セガ池袋GiGO

Address: Toshima-ku, Higashi Ikebukuro 1-21-1

所在地:東京都豊島区東池袋1丁目21−1

Open 10 a.m.-11 p.m.

Website

Source: PR Times via Hachima Kiko, Twitter/@SEGA_ikebukuro

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Tokyo losing another iconic video game arcade as Ikebukuro landmark is closing for good

-- Sega leaves arcade operation business, sells off management of all its 193 Japanese game centers

-- Sega leaves arcade management like retiring idol singer, confuses, upsets Japanese Internet users

© SoraNews24

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

12 Comments
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Sad. I used to love arcades back a couple of decades. And then they began to whither into purikura venues.

I never been one to spend hours over a game at home, but a few hundred yen killing zombies or driving a racing car in a the arcade did me fine.

They're all gone now. A lot of them still stand empty.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

That's a little heartbreaking.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Ah_soToday 07:25 am JST

Sad. I used to love arcades back a couple of decades.

Yeah, I used to enjoy playing the football games with friends and winning the World Cup with England.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Don't panic..

I am sure that after this crisis many businesses will return..

GO JAPAN !!..

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Sega has recently been pulled up for selling rigged machines in America. I wonder how many if the machines in their were rigged.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Don't panic..

I am sure that after this crisis many businesses will return..

GO JAPAN !!..

@Kentarogaijin… you new to Japan?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It is a sign of the times even before covid.

Pool Halls, Drats, video arcades, basically any social activity that requires human contact and social interaction have been dying for some time now, with the younger generation quite content in living in their rooms with their virtual friends Facebook friends and living their lives through instagram post by "influencers" and globetrotting instagram celebrities.

You realise how sad it is when someone like me who has ASD and in general does not do well in social situations and avoids physical contact, is now more outgoing and has more real-life interaction than most of today''s youth.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is only the beginning of something much worse on the horizon, economically.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

AntiquesavingToday  01:08 pm JST

It is a sign of the times even before covid.

Never played at the Ikebukuro one, but Akihabara, Shibuya. Japan will not be the same.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

And another Akihabara landmarks goes away. Akihabra is no longer what it used to be. I don't think there was anything quite like in the whole world.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@ArtistAtLarge

The game center is in Ikebukuro, but you're right anyway. Akihabara is just a big collection of Sofmaps and BicCameras now. All the personality is gone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bummer. Where am I going to sleep!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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