Sega Akihabara 2nd, the multifloor haven filled with arcade cabinets and gacha games, closed in late August after being open for 17 years. The building served as perhaps the most recognizable landmark in Tokyo’s vibrant, gadget-filled Akihabara hub that attracts plenty of tourists. If you’ve played one of the great Yakuza games, you’ve probably spent time playing Sega arcade games in a virtual version of Sega’s Akihabara 2nd, or something reminiscent of it.
Now, this building’s closing isn’t a sign that Sega arcade cabinets and the like will disappear from Japan — just from this building. As so many on Twitter have noted since it closed, it’s just another log in the already-too-long “2020 sucks” book. Hideki Naganuma, the Japanese composer who created the beloved Jet Set Radio soundtrack at Sega, seemed to eulogize the building’s closing in a cryptic tweet shared earlier today.
I was fortunate enough to have visited the building during my honeymoon to Japan in 2017. The intersection in front of Sega Akihabara 2nd was filled with YouTubers capturing b-roll for what I’m sure were delectable video compilations. I loved the stark orange colors on the building, but it was more fun to look around inside of it, which felt so far removed from anything I could experience in the US — even if I sought it out.
Having only visited once for a short time, I’m not qualified to tell you about the impact that this building’s closing will have on Akihabara, but you should still visit the area if you have the chance. I promise it will be memorable. And if you’re into video games, there’s still Super Potato, along with a bunch of other mom-and-pop gaming shops. Hopefully what ends up taking this Sega building’s place will look equally cool.