8bit Cafe – Tokyo, Japan

For many who grew up playing video games in the course of the Eighties and Nineties, walking into the 8bit Cafe might feel like traveling back to your childhood. Hidden on the fifth floor of an unassuming office constructing in the midst of a busy Shinjuku Sanchome street, this small bar is filled with various games and gaming accessories from Mario figurines to Power Gloves to Nintendo’s 3-D gaming system and even Virtual Boy.

So-called in reference to consoles’ 8-bit processors, the 8-bit era of gaming began in 1983 with the discharge of Famicom (short for “Family Computer”) in Japan. In other parts of the world, this pivotal gaming system could be known by one other name: the Nintendo Entertainment System. Shortly thereafter, games comparable to Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, and The Legend of Zelda became household names world wide.

It’s no surprise that Japan, a powerhouse of the video game industry, especially in the course of the early ’80s, would have establishments celebrating this history. The truth is, the country as a complete and Tokyo particularly have a plethora of video gamethemed establishments, but not many quite just like the 8bit Cafe. Not only are you able to peruse various memorabilia, you may also pick any of the games from the shelves and play them while sipping on a drink themed after your favorite video game character.

Know Before You Go

Take the C5 exit from the Shinjuku Sanchome station, the bar is on the fifth floor of the constructing to your right. Open from 6pm to midnight on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. From 6 pm to five am on Fridays and from 6 pm to 1:30 am on Saturdays. Closed on Tuesdays. Don’t expect a lavish food menu: The cafe serves mostly snacks and sweets (mixed nuts, cheeses, cake).

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