Travel Report: 8bit Cafe – Shinjuku, Tokyo.
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February 2019. It was a cool February evening in Tokyo and Wonderboy and I had just finished another memorable dinner at the amazing Kill Bill Restaurant in Roppongi. Cunningly, we’d held off the urge to top off dinner there with coffee and dessert, instead heading to yet another of the city’s must-see themed cafés. This time we were visiting 8bit Café, probably the most impressive of Tokyo’s retro gaming bars. Located on the 5th floor of a Shinjuku tower block, we had to tackle the seemingly never-ending staircase (there’s no elevator) before emerging into a cosy, memorabilia-packed space straight out of the mid 1980s. We had arrived at 8bit!
February 2019. 8bit Café’s name comes as a reverent nod to the gaming consoles of old and their 8-bit processors. Settling down at a corner table, the café owner mooched over to welcome us and take our orders. 8bit is basically his man cave born from a veritable treasure trove of original consoles, games, collectibles and custom made knick knacks. When I asked to take his photo he readily agreed but was adamant that I wait until he’d put on that hat. What a character.
February 2019. Having already been swept up by 8bit’s contagious sense of fun, Wonderboy and I ordered coffee and ice cream and set about exploring our corner area with its cool props, all of which you’re free to play around with.
As a guy that used to play a bit of Super Nintendo and who’s old enough to have owned a Gameboy the first time around, for me 8bit was a very cool experience and more than a little nostalgic. But in truth Wonderboy is a much bigger gamer than I’ll ever be and for him it was like being a kid in a candy store. “Mate, Super Mario Kart!!!” and he was off… soon to be joined by a Japanese guy at the bar keen to race the excitable foreigner.
February 2019. With Wonderboy larking around on Super Mario Kart, I was content with simply digging about 8bit Cafe and its treasure chest of goodies. Among my many finds, an original Nintendo Super Scope light gun compatible with classic games like Battle Clash, The Hunt For Red October and Operation Thunderbolt. I also loved the display of game-themed coasters at the bar and was genuinely gutted to learn that they weren’t for sale.
February 2019. 8bit Cafe is open daily (except Tuesdays) from 18:00-midnight on weekdays, with extended hours on the weekends as late as 5am if it’s busy enough. As with many of Tokyo’s themed cafes a cover charge is applied to the bill and here it’s 500JPY (£3.40/€4/$4.50). The nearest Subway station is Shinjukusanchome, just take Exit C5 and look for the 8bit street sign.
For more retro gaming fun in Tokyo, check out my location report from Super Potato Akihabara.
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