Namco steps in with its first-ever Akihabara arcade.

Japan is one of the last places on earth where you can still find giant, multi-story video game arcades, or game centers, as they’re called locally. But even in Akihabara, the Tokyo neighborhood that’s the world’s biggest gathering point for game fans, arcades have been disappearing one by one, struggling as video gaming continues to shift to an at-home hobby and the lingering effects of the pandemic dampen the domestic and international tourism that’s so important to the district.

But game centers aren’t gone for good just yet, and Akihabara is about to get a new one with the opening of Namco Akihabara.

Surprisingly, this will be the first-ever Namco-branded game center to open in Akihabara, the company says. It’ll be found inside the Ichigo Akihabara Ekimae Building, right across the street from the southwest corner of JR Akihabara Station. That location might sound familiar to veteran visitors to the neighborhood, as it used to be occupied by Sega Akihabara Building 4, before the Sega-run arcade got bought out by amusement operator GiGO, who then called it quits and shut the whole place down last September.

▼ GiGO Building 4, prior to its closure

As the last few years have shown, simply stuffing a building with coin-operated video games often isn’t enough to keep a game center in business anymore, and so Namco Akihabara will be offering a variety of otaku-oriented entertainment options, leveraging Namco’s merger with Bandai for fun of both the game and anime-related varieties. In addition to “one of the largest numbers of video game installations in the area” with fan events and promotions for popular games, Namco Akihabara’s six floors (five above ground and one basement) will have crane games and Gashapon capsule machines stocked with Bandai, Banpresto, and Bandai Spirits prizes, an Ichiban Kuji store for Bandai’s paper-lottery prize drawing campaigns, and an official shop, Decks Stadium, for Bandai collectible trading card games.

This being Akihabara, there’s a special treat for otaku with well-trained ears, as the Banplayer Figure Collection crane game corner will feature machines with exclusive voice clips from anime voice actresses Aina Suzuki, M・A・O, and Miharu Hanai (pictured left to right in the photo below).

Namco says that it’s goal for the facility is to cultivate a space for the fan community and it hopes that by showing visitors the special kind of fun to be had at game centers, it can help revitalize the sector.

Namco Akihabara opens on March 1.

Game center information
Namco Akihabara / Namco秋葉原店
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Soto Kanda 1-15-9
Open 10 a.m.- 11 p.m. (Ichiban Kuji and Decks Stadium 10 a.m.-9 p.m.)

Source, images: PR Times
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s still waiting for Namco to make a new Ridge Racer game.