Take me down to Famicom City

Tokyo's game bars, where nostalgia flows as freely as the drinks...

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Over in Shinjuku, 8-Bit Cafe and Bar Plastic Model offer some more obscure treasures (PC Engine, anyone?), while Muteki Mario ('muteki' means 'invincible') serves cocktails themed on the world's most famous Italian plumber, beneath a framed painting of Mario himself fixing a martini.

Online gaming hasn't really taken off in Japan, where people prefer to play as a team. Thanks to the wildly popular PSP version of Monster Hunter, group gaming has spread to the streets and cafes of Japan, creating a new market for bars like Dogenzaka Cafe.

But while Famicom City does have all the modern consoles, it's more about the nostalgia trip, the idea of re-creating those childhood game sessions in a grown-up setting, or tucking into consoles we missed all those years ago. For example, this writer could never afford the arcade-perfect Neo Geo console as a kid. And Shimizu's comment when we ask him to hook it up for a game of The King Of Fighters? "Oh, I always wanted a Neo Geo, but it was so expensive." Bingo!


As the atmosphere fills with laughter and 8-bit sound effects, we hammer the Neo Geo's arcade stick and knock back a ginger ale. This wonderful bar is proof of that wise old saying: if you build it, they will Famicom.

Order NGamer here and have it delivered straight to your door

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