So, there I was. In Tokyo. The city, which I heard so much about. All my retrogaming dreams would finally come true. Well, at least that's what I thought. Many of my mates on the internet already warned me about Tokyo not being the retrogamer's paradise, which it used to be. I took a mental note but still thought, that it at least must be better over there than in my hometown in Germany. And well, it was. Sort of.
On day 2 of our visit, we went straight to Akihabara, to check out some retroshops. At first we had some trouble finding one, but then we found the quite famous "Super Potato" shop. We went up the stairs to floor 1 and the amount of retrogames you'll find there is a bit overwhelming at first. You have dozens of Super Famicom carts, even more Famicom carts and also Sega Saturn games. A whole shelf full of them! In a neat little glass showcase, they stacked up the really rare items. A little bit of hardware can be found here and there as well. So that sounds great, doesn't it? Well it was to a certain degree. What wasn't as nice, were the prices of the games. A Guardian Heroes did cost around 24 EUR there. I already bought that for 7 EUR on ebay.de! The other prices were mediocre at best, too. Especially the rare items were really expensive. So the only bargain you could obtain were 100 Yen (0,60 EUR) games like Virtua Fighter, Daytona USA or Fighting Vipers. I managed to get some great bargains here and there (Like Miniskirt Police for 13 EUR, which I have to review in some days!), but I was still a tad dissapointed. Other Retroshops in Akihabara (and there aren't too many of them either!) have roughly the same pricing, so if you are after the good Sega Saturn games, you might want to continue browsing ebay.
But hey, I was warned, wasn't I? So I had a look for some boxed hardware and... uhm... found nothing. The Super Potato shop had that boxed white Saturn, but with a 80 EUR price tag and a definitely not mint box, I had to pass. I bought the even more rare V-Saturn on ebay.de for around 70 EUR for example. I wasn't even able to find some boxed Joypads or something like that. Not to speak of truly rare and / or unique items like the Sega Saturn backpacks, SegaFan Issues or the Segata Sanshiro action figure. If you are a collector of unboxed Famicom games, then Tokyo is still your paradise. But regarding Sega Saturn games Tokyo is not a must anymore. If you are there to see the extraordinary city, then it's fine to browse some Saturn Games here and there and save some money whilst buying a shitload of 100 Yen games.
Raiden Fighters 2. The first thing you noticed was the music. In the 16 Shots bar the playlist was filled with videogame tunes like the Segata Sanshiro Theme (!), Virtua Fighter tunes and countless of other stuff, whereas the 8-Bit Café was mainly playing "ordinary" electronic music. The 16 Shots bar had a lot of gaming goodnes flying around here and there, as well. But the really great thing about it was the toilet, which had a pinboard with business cards on it. Those weren't normal business cards but business cards from people who work at Sega, Grasshopper Manufacture, Sony Computer Entertainment America, Famitsu, etc. Nearly the whole industry was there and I was peeing right next to them. When visiting the 16 Shots bar more often during our stay, we noticed why there were so many business cards hanging at the toilet pinboard. Those people actually visit the bar quite frequently! We managed to meet people from Climax (Dark Saviour anyone?), Grasshopper Manufacture, the guy who made Every Extend Extra and most importantly a very nice and friendly guy from Sega. We drank a bit, talked a bit and whoops, the next day we had an appointment at the Sega Headquarter in Ootori.
So there wasn't too much Sega Saturn related stuff involved in our conversation, but we got a glimpse of how it must have been to work at Sega at that time. The guy, whom we talked with, was actually working on Burning Rangers and some other big games for the Sega Saturn. He also saw Shen Mue running on stock Sega Saturn hardware, which brought some tears to my eyes, once I heard that. I wish I would have been able to ask more interesting questions about the Sega Saturn, but time was scarce and he wasn't able to answer the truly interesting questions, since he didn't work in the responsible departments. And besides, there is not much unanswered stuff left, I am afraid.
So there you have it. That was Japan for me. Few retrogames, the ones you find are either very common and thus only about 100 Yen, or very rare and very expensive up to 98,000 Yen (roughly 600 EUR for an "Heim Waltz"). The girls in Tokyo are incredibly gorgeous, with the majority of them wearing (no matter how cold it is) nothing but Miniskirts, high heels, stockings and crazy tops. 99 % of them are super skinny and very cute as well. Contrary to popular belief, Tokyo is actually quite cheap. A can of coke out of a vending machine is 120 Yen (0,60 EUR), a Big Mac is 240 Yen (1,50 EUR, WTF? It's currently over 3,10 EUR in Germany!) and you can get the cheapest Metro ticket for around 100 - 140 Yen. So, Tokyo isn't really expensive. You can actually live there and you can especially afford a vacation there. Our flight was around 600 EUR and the 2 stars Hotel 400 EUR for 9 days. And let me tell you, that 2 stars in Japan are like 6 stars over here! It was incredibly noble and just perfect. I'll definitely visit Tokyo again some day.