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Japanese Man Turns His Home into a Game Arcade

posted on by Kim Morrissy

Meet Kōichi Toya, or @myhomearcade on Twitter. He's building an arcade filled with vintage games from the 80s and 90s inside his own house. SUUMO Journal recently interviewed him about his motivations for creating a home arcade and the costs involved.

According to the article, Toya is a 42-year-old married man with keen memories of the golden age of arcades. He installed his first game cabinet inside his home 10 years ago, but it wasn't until 2016 that he began collecting cabinets in earnest. This required him to renovate his home to create more space; instead of dedicating one room to the arcade that he ended up extending it to his garage as well.

The costs of obtaining the cabinets have been steep. One of the reasons why collecting retro arcade machines is so expensive is because it's a global fascination. Toya said that he once won a cabinet of the 1987 Sega game After Burner through an online auction, only to discover that the sender was in New York. The cabinet had to be sent across the continent to the west coast before getting shipped to Japan. The shipping cost alone for getting two cabinets sent to him was 1.5 million yen (approximately US$14,000).

Depending on the rarity and demand for the games, Toya has seen prices on online auctions go up to a million yen per cabinet. It also costs money to refurbish old machines to make them serviceable again. Toya also made sure to install a money converter machine, as well as vending machines for cup noodles and drinks. "I'm too afraid to tally up the total amount I've spent," he says.

For people who are interested in making their own home arcades, Toya recommends starting with crane game machines (or "UFO catchers" in Japan), because it's possible to get them on discount through online auctions.

On Twitter, Toya has shown off video of his home arcade:

In the midst of all the buzz around Toya's arcade, other Twitter users have been showing off their own home arcades. This also inspired the hashtag #自宅ゲーセン (home arcade).

Home arcades might be thriving right now, but established arcades are experiencing trouble due to COVID-19. In April, the legendary retro arcade Mikado crowdfunded 26 million yen to make up for lost revenue caused by the economic effects of the virus.

Source: SUUMO Journal (Yuki Tatsui) via Otakomu

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