Sega Ikebukuro GiGO has been a landmark since the ‘90s’ golden era of Japanese arcades.
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 …continue reading