Good for what ails ya

Tokyo Game Show is done, and I’m back in Tokyo (as opposed to outside Tokyo, where I was for Tokyo Game Show) for a couple of days to (hopefully) drum up some work. I think today I’m just going to lay in my hotel and quietly let my body heal, though. It’s been a rough couple of days full of people. People are exhausting, as it turns out. I think I will avoid them for today. But it’s all been for the best: we have at least two episodes of Bonus Stage in the bag now, and shockingly enough the sound quality for the episode of Retronauts we recorded last night while sitting around an iPod microrecorder is more than good enough to use as an actual podcast.

Also, last night we were able to hit a bar in Shinjuku that I’ve heard about for years: 8-Bit Cafe. As you might guess from the name, it’s very video game oriented! It’s a fairly small place on the fifth floor of a scary and uninviting building — there’s a Russian porn shop on the main floor — but inside the bar is a huge collection of random old video game stuff. Sadly, they have a no-pictures policy, but trust me when I say it was vaguely like my definition of what the afterlife might be if I live a good life, except more crowded and with a lot more cigarette smoke. Lots of ’80s memorabilia, including tons of Takahashi Meijin merchandise and an abundance of Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku goods as well. And a couple of game systems hooked up to a TV in the corner.

Somehow Sam and his friends and I ended up playing through Final Fight 2 for Super Famicom, which was a total waste of an hour. But worth it for the way Sam breakdanced the final boss right through his dojo wall, I think. Also, it gave us an excuse to imitate Haggar for an hour.

They also offered a small number of game-themed drinks. A few others had the Princess Peach, which was overwhelmingly Peach flavored. Me, I had the Doctor Mario. It was…Dr Pepper, mixed with something fermented, served in a Pyrex flask with a side of candy pills in a petri dish. Amazing.

Next up: Tokyo’s other retro bar, 16 Shots.

11 thoughts on “Good for what ails ya

  1. “it was vaguely like my definition of what the afterlife might be if I live a good life”

    I spent a couple hours in 8 bit cafe on my last night in Tokyo. A wonderful, magical place where I got to relive my nonexistent Japanese childhood. I had both the Princess Peach and the Dr. Mario, and schooled some Japanese at Donkey Kong Country. They then schooled me in a crappy SFC DBZ fighter. We finished the night with some Super Bomberman 2. Why don’t we have bars this awesome in the United States? (If we do, somebody please tell me about them!)

  2. There’s a place in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area called “Chatterbox” that has old consoles you can play during your meal, including Atari, NES, SNES and Genesis…so that’s kind of similar. It’s not a bar though, and it’s not above a Russian porn place…and it doesn’t have cool themed video game food and drink either.

  3. Since watching the Points profile of 8-Bit Cafe and 16 Shots, I’ve sort of had this yearning to find a similar place around here that I think won’t be realized until I just start one up myself. It feels like a bar that makes perfect sense: small, homey, and filled with retro games. But maybe it only makes sense in Tokyo, and not here? That’s the fear.

  4. It’s too bad all the awesome funky/nerdy theme bars are full of smoke all the time. We braved it for the Zeon bar in Akihabara, but I can’t do it very often if I want to not feel like I’m dying.

    As for Jen’s idea – you *might* be able to swing it in the right college town or something, but I wouldn’t quit your day job and/or bet your retirement savings on it.

  5. Great, I’m reading this post an hour after I got off the train back home! Oh well, I will make notes of these places and consider them for my inevitable next visit to Tokyo sometime next year…

  6. “Me, I had the Doctor Mario. It was…Dr Pepper, mixed with something fermented, served in a Pyrex flask with a side of candy pills in a petri dish.”

    Now you really have me interested. Do they serve food as well? I wonder what they have on their regular menu…

  7. That Dr. Mario drink sounds fantastic. Hey parish, since I don’t know how to get a hold of anybody else from 1UP outside of it, do you know if they have been having any site issues lately? I keep getting a 502 Proxy Error which says this, “Proxy Error

    The proxy server received an invalid response from an upstream server.
    The proxy server could not handle the request GET /.

    Reason: Error reading from remote server” Any thoughts? Thanks!

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