While it might seem that some of Japan’s best arcades are already like museums, here is an officially branded one. Called The Game Center Museum, it opened this month in Nagoya.
According to FNN, the museum has around 70 amusement machines as part of its exhibition. This isn’t a hands off museum, and all the machines can be played after shelling out for the entrance fee.
Games available to play include iconic retro titles such as Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Xevious, as well as music games from the Beatmania and Pop’n Music series. Street Fighter II, Afterburner, and Taiko no Tatsujin all make appearances. (Of course!) There are also other interesting inclusions, such as older analog games like Sega pinball machines, as well as small trains people can ride on, the last of which are a favorite of little kids—at least, my kids when they were small.
You can even play The Keisatsukan (aka Police 911), a game I played the heck out of at the turn of the century while waiting for my wife, then girlfriend, to finish work at her company in central Osaka. Goodness, that game was fun.
While iterations of modern-day arcades go back before World War II, they started to come into their own during the 1960s and 1970s, with bowling allies, department store rooftops, and cafes all becoming places where people could go to game. (For more on the birth of Japanese arcades, check out Kotaku’s previous coverage. Or, if you like, you can snag and read the book I wrote on Japanese game centers. Or both!)
Arcades are struggling during the pandemic, with the face of Akihabara changing due to the shuttered game centers. After visiting the museum, I do hope people will also support their local arcade—or any game center, for that matter.
The Game Center Museum will run until August 29.