So we’re hunting for arcades eh? Here’s my guide to the arcades in akiba. Frankly I’d stick to HEY but have a browse – you may want to explore… if you have time!
Here are my two maps (edit 2010: link to maps fixed): the first is the one you’ll really want as it lists the main arcades, the second has Fun Fun marked on it – but I can’t imagine you’d really want to go there!
When you’ve got the map, print it landscape (longest side horizontal) so it fits.
Fun Fun - You can’t really miss the two main arcades in Akiba but I’ll quickly mention this little side arcade that contains Fatal Fury Special and the odd SFIV machine – note that FFS is still going through a revival and is quite popular.
CLUB SEGA – Coming from Akihabara station you’ll see it on the main street, on the left. Ground floor has catcher crane machines, Basement Floor has all its fighters, I didn’t bother going upstairs. It should come as no surprise that their speciality is Virtua Fighter. When I visited, they had like 10 Virtua Fighter 5 R machines and some Gundam. I didn’t see any KOF machines.
TAITO’s HEY – It’s strange that this isn’t a Taito Game Centre like usual but it’s arguably the centre of fighting games in Akiba. Go up to the 2nd floor to find the fighters. To start with there is a 10Yen corner with ST and 98, which is of course constantly occupied. However, unlike Kyoto’s a-cho, the people were far more polite and would note the queue- the custom of putting your coin on the arcade to mark your spot in the queue doesn’t seem to be in place in Japan, as far as I’ve seen. You just stand close and look ready lol. When the challenger loses, it seemed that people would look around to check who was going next. I recommend, as long as you’re not actually jumping the queue, to move forward and motion to put your money in.
Blazblue, SFIV, Melty Blood, 2k2 UM x2, 98UMx1, 98×2, and lots of multigame machines which contained pretty much every SNK fighter. Lots of Tekken 6 and like one or two VF5R machines (no doubt due to Club Sega next door). It’s a big floor and I was very happy.
98UM wasn’t getting much play I have to add, perhaps it was due to the one guy I did see playing was spamming away with Krauser – good Lord it’s boring.
Button Layout – note that in Hey, all the KOF machines apart from XII have the 2×2 button layout. Urgh!
Tokyo Leisure Land 1 and 2
I didn’t notice these arcades and they’re apparently pretty big. The website doesn’t talk about two locations – so maybe one of them has closed? On my up to date map, TLL1 is NOT listed. TLL2 is, however, and is on the 6th and 7th Floor of the building which has Don Quihote on the ground. By the looks of the website I’d imagine their arcades are mostly non-fighters but if you have time, why not check them out? Note – the website says TLL 1 has games on the 3rd Floor.
Try Amusements Tower
I didn’t visit this arcade but might be worth checking out – The Akihabara Map site notes that it has lots of retro games and the latest releases.
Edit: I went in 2010. Have a look at the photos below! A nice little neo-geo corner!!! However, this arcade is more famous for its collection of shooters.
The info for Tokyo Leisure Land and Try tower were found on Akihabara Channel
As you’re facing Try Tower, there is another arcade to the left, although looking at it, you’d assume it was just a pachinko hall. I forgot the name, but it’s easy to spot by the black men sporting pachinko afros.