Arcades may have died out in much of the world, but in Japan, arcades are still a huge part of gaming culture. One of my favourites is Game Center Mikado in Tokyo – it’s a great place to dive into legendary fighting games and retro classics in a relaxed atmosphere.
Mikado is a couple of stops from Shinjuku in Takadanobaba, a district that’s famous for being the place that Osamu Tezuka chose for his iconic character Astro Boy to be “born.” JR trains play the theme song when they stop at this station, and there are a couple of large murals of Tezuka’s work outside the station.
Game Center Mikado is just around the corner, on an unassuming alley that runs along the train line. This two storey arcade has been one of the central locations for Tokyo’s fighting game scene for more than a decade (it was opened in 2006 but has been in its current location since 2009), playing host to regular tournaments and known for high level play. It’s also – unlike the many Taito Game Stations and Club SEGAs around the country – privately owned.