Must-Know Place & Tips for Gamers Visiting Japan: PLAY Original Arcade Space Invaders, Pacman, Mario Bros & more!

When we get interested in something, we also get interested in its history – Where and when did it begin? How was it like at that time and how did it develop? I believe that video game fans think this way, too.

Mario is in the beautiful screen of Nintendo 3DS and Wii U at home today, but we had to enter a game center to meet him when he made his debut to the world. Nintendo has been committing their business to hardware for home since Family Computer became very popular, so Mario Brothers are no longer seen in game centers now.

You think that it is impossible to try the old, original Mario games? But actually, you can!

Old Mario Brothers in a Game Center

I talked about 3 Coolest Indoor Activities in Tokyo in HOT Summer and one of them was Decks Tokyo Beach in Odaiba district. Do you remember? See it here

I keep my word that I’d write about the old arcade games.

We can PLAY the old video games that led the video game industry in 1970s – 80s in Daiba Icchome Shotengai area in Decks! Not just seeing them as if in a museum. Great news, isn’t it?

Old video games in Daiba Iichome Shotengai area in Decks Tokyo Beach

If you are visiting Tokyo Game Show in September or planning a trip to Japan because of your favorite video games, you are lucky enough to find Tokyo Direct Guide/Diary.

Don’t return home without visiting this place!

Visitors’ info is at the bottom of this post. I also listed up downloads of the Apps for those who hope to experience a bit of the original, classic games at home.

I’ll show you photos of 5 of the important video games there, explanations about the history and a little of my impressions. Let’s explore the history of video games!

First of all, I’ll explain the first photo.

VS. Super Mario Brothers (Nintendo, 1986)

The idea that the screen scrolls left to right was an innovation. Mario became a star by changing all the video games.
VS. Super Mario Brothers has 32 stages as well as the Family Computer version, but they are mixed up with Super Mario Brothers 2. (The original Super Mario Brothers for FC was released in 1985 and the very original Mario Brothers was in 1983.)

Don’t ask me whether I’m a good Mario player or not. I have played it on Wii and my Mario skills were… ah… honestly…. horrible. I admit it. And it is incredible that the original Mario games were even more difficult than Super Mario Brothers Wii that was said to be difficult.

Anyway, we can try the old Mario here.

Now it’s time to talk about the beginning of video games.

The flagship of the entire of them was undoubtedly this.

Space Invaders (Taito, 1978)

Space Invaders released by Taito was a simple shooting game. You shoot the squid-like aliens coming down. This is the REAL arcade version of Space Invaders that is in Odaiba now.

Space Invaders, 1978

The boom of “Invader Game” was so tremendous that many bowling alleys, shops and cafes put the games at the corner or even renovated themselves into game centers.

I was not in this world when the boom happened.

But I once read a book written by Satoshi Tajiri (Pokemon’s father) who was totally absorbed in Space Invaders and other games in his teenage, so I can feel the atmosphere of the days. It seems that he and his friends were great players who got so many scores, but what is interesting is that he had his life stories around games; They exchanged the latest information on how to score more with each other, many things happened in their friendship because of games, they feel dreams in the dark screens when SF manga “Galaxy Express 999” by Reiji Matsumoto and the first movie of Star Wars were popular in the society, and so on.

Space Invaders was a simple game from the viewpoint of today. And the SF surroundings were all purely pop culture; In my opinion, the old Star Wars movies are completely B-class. However, some players who deeply and creatively thought of them became leading game designers later.

Taito still produces Space Invaders and I played it on Nintendo DSi. Although it was a simple game, I was impressed that it was really comfortable to play. I feel that the “original invader game” had reasons to become popular. These days, the App version of Space Invaders seems to be quite successful again.
But for me, the most important thing is that the SF tradition in the video game industry led to my beloved tamagotchi world later in 1990s.

Space Invaders became “basics” for all the video games. When game designers (this job title didn’t exist at that time) were planning a new game at their office, they used to think of how to make “Original Invader Game” better. Is there anything to overcome about Space Invaders? Aren’t there additional ideas to make it more enjoyable for players? Some ended up being “fake invader games,” but others were successful.

Galaga (Namco, 1981)

Galaga, 1981

One of the successful game was Galaga. The new feature was that you can upgrade your plane during your play. It had been popular for 3 years, which was far longer than others lasting only for several months at that time.

Xevious (Namco, 1982)

Xevious might be the one that is completed as a shooting game. It is the best for many old game players in the era.
Satoshi Tajiri was one of the big fans, and he writes that he has a bitter memory about it in his youth; He accidentally spread a baseless rumor about “Xevious planet” and lost his trust among his friends. Now, it is part of history of video games.

Xevious, 1982

I have played Xevious on Nintendo 3DS; I was just interested in the leading game in old times. I can’t get absorbed in it and I think that’s because I am a “new” video game fan who are interested in exploring the world in the screen rather than getting high scores. However, Xevious showed people an idea that games can be kind of arts like movies, and it leads to today’s video games that I expect. Video games have been developed by innovative ideas in its history and I like the adventurous spirit very much.

Shooting games used to lead the industry, but there were also other genres at that time. I’ll show you one of them.

Pacman (Namco, 1980)

You might have seen Pacman even if you are not a big gamer.

Pac-Man, 1980

The original arcade game is like this. It is rusting… If you want to touch and play it, you can in Odaiba district.

I picked up the important games among many in Decks Tokyo Beach. If you are a video game lover, they must be extremely attractive.

My personal opinion is simple to play some of them; The chair and buttons were too low… I can’t believe that old video gamers used to shoot aliens for hours in that position! It is so tiring for me. This is not about games themselves, but I think that it is important to find a good chair for our good health.
My opinions of the entire of video games have been talked above in this post.

Daiba Icchome Shotengai area in Decks Tokyo Beach is an amusement center to explore old local Tokyo in 1960s, not a place for video games originally, but I believe that it is a fantastic place for game fans. Fortunately, it is easy for Tokyo Game Show visitors to understand how to get to Odaiba.

Let’s play them with care. They are literally old. If you get so excited at your precious encounter with old aliens that you break the handles, you’ll get into trouble not only with Decks managers but with other video game fans!
Let me say this again.
Never return home without playing the REAL classic arcade games if you are a video game fan who travel a long way to Japan.
And remember this. In case you are short of 100 yen coins, you can exchange your bills into coins with the exchanging machines there!

Tip: If you are a manga fan, too, the walls around the old video games are definitely must-sees. The covers of Weekly Shonen Jump (a leading manga magazine) are all around. Some are old and others are relatively new.

Do you know any of them?

Hokuto, Dragon Ball, Slum Dunk…


Kenshin, One Piece, Shaman King, Hikaru, Death Note, Hunter Hunter, etc.

Visitors’ Information & Downloads

Decks Tokyo Beach General Information

Daiba Icchome Shotengai area: Sea Side Mall 4F
Opening Hours: 11:00 – 21:00

How to Get to Odaiba

There are 2 ways. Open and see The Easiest JR Train Map of Tokyo City by Tokyo Direct Guide.

1: Yurikamome Line

Your destination is Odaiba Kaihin Koen (= Marine Park) Station.

First, go to JR Shimbashi Station. Take Yurikamome Line there to Odaiba Kaihin Koen. Decks Tokyo Beach is just in front of the station.

2: Rinkai Line

Your destination is Tokyo Teleport Station.

Catch a Rinkai Line train at Osaki (Yamanote Line stops), Oimachi (Keihin-Tohoku Line stops) or somewhere. Or, some Saikyo Line trains go through Rinkai Line, so you can catch it at Shibuya, Shinjuku, etc. Get off at Tokyo Teleport. It is several minutes walk to Decks Tokyo Beach.

For Tokyo Game Show Visitors – From Makuhari Messe

Take Keiyo Line to Shinkiba and change trains into Rinkai Line to Tokyo Teleport.

cf: Tokyo Game Show 2015 schedule
Business Days: 17 – 18 September
Public Days: 19 – 20 September
At Makuhari Messe – See guides and maps

How to Get to O-daiba – See other ways and some sightseeing guides.

Link to Google Maps of Decks Tokyo Beach

See MORE of Decks Tokyo Beach

Blog Post: “Laziness Saves You” – 3 Coolest Indoor Activities & 6 Travel Tips to Spend Hot Summer in Tokyo, Japan – Indoor Amusement Centers in Decks Tokyo Beach – Tokyo Joy Polis, Odaiba Takoyaki Museum,Trick Art Museum, Madame Tussaud’s, Lego Land, etc!

Official Website: http://www.odaiba-decks.com/ (English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese)

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