28 years ago in July 1993, the Sega Ikebukuro Gigo opened in Tokyo. This sprawling, nine-storey amusement arcade has, over the decades, become popular with gaming-mad tourists visiting Japan and has been the site of many location tests for new arcade machines.
However, this September, the Sega Ikebukuro Gigo will close its doors for good due to a fixed-term building lease agreement coming to a close just as the building is due for renovation. The news follows the closure of Sega's Akihabara 2nd arcade last year, which means that Tokyo has lost two of its most iconic arcade centres in quick succession.
Japan is currently struggling to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and tourists are currently banned from entering the country, which goes some way to explaining why the arcade business is suffering at present. Last year, Sega sold off 85% of its location-based entertainment operations, and earlier this year split what remained of its amusement division from its video game business.
Of course, it's also worth noting that the arcade sector has fallen a long way since the Sega Ikebukuro Gigo opened its doors in 1993, with home consoles now far outstripping the latest coin-op machines in terms of raw processing power. While it's sad that the curtain has come down on yet another gaming landmark, it's clear that the industry has changed dramatically over the past 28 years.