Located only 10 minutes away from JR's Shinjuku station is a place where lovers of 80's and 90's gaming subculture gather together, toss back a couple drinks, and play retro video games until the last train. 8bit cafe is the place to go to in Shinjuku to relax in an atmosphere of like-minded people and play the games of yesteryear.
Opening its doors to the public more than a decade ago, bar owner Nao Fukuda has amassed an impressive collection of retro games and goods to share with the cafe's patrons. They have just about every gaming system that was created in the 80's and 90's.
The Power Glove
Famicom (Nintendo), Mega Drive (Genesis), Game Gear, a Huge Gameboy display, and of course: The Power Glove. It's so bad.
Getting the Atmosphere Right
One of the first things you will notice when you walk into 8bit cafe is the soundtrack. Chiptune music dominates the scene here, mixed with a little of JCORE, and everything in between. The cafe is dimly lit with LED lights hanging from the ceiling and the warm glow of televisions displaying title screens of various games.
A lot of figurines
Along the counter you can find a variety of figurines from anime and popular games. If you are interested in reading manga, you are in luck, as there are more manga, comics, game strategy guides, and instruction books than you can read in one lifetime spread throughout the cafe!
Power UP with a Drink
One of the draws of 8bit cafe are the unique drink cocktails that are named after classic games and characters. The most popular cocktail, Dr. Mario, is a drink composed of Coke, Dr. Pepper, Gin, and Vodka served in a beaker along with a test tube with 2 candy capsules inside. The taste is a bit on the sweet side but tastes great nonetheless.
Other popular drinks we had the opportunity to try were the "Puyo Puyo", a drink made of Midori, Blue Grenadine, and Pineapple Juice, and the "Metroid", which is composed of Midori, Vodka, and Tonic.
Select an Item from the Menu
Aside from their signature drinks, 8bit cafe offers a variety of whiskey, sake, shochu, and beers. If you aren't in the mood for alcoholic drinks, then you can choose from the selection of Hot/Iced coffees, tea, soft drinks, and juices on the menu.
For those looking for a bite to eat, there is a decent selection of snacks that range from mixed nuts, cheese, sausages, and salads. Food courses start at 2,000 yen and desserts such as ice cream, cheesecake, and more start at 500 yen.
Now You're Playing With Power!
Not to be overlooked, one of the best things you can do while at 8bit cafe is play games from their massive library. Pick up a Game Boy and Super Mario Land and rescue Princess Daisy, or join in on a game of Super Mario Kart with others and race to the finish line. With so many games to choose from, you can easily find yourself spending an entire evening here.
8 Bit Beats
Adding to the atmosphere and mood of 8bit cafe, events are occasionally held where musicians that share a similar passion perform live for the cafe's audience. It's a great way to meet both locals and international visitors that share a love for gaming culture, as the events are always popular. If you can't make it to an event, then you can always jam to the various music that plays throughout the evening.
Thank You For Playing!
Whether you are a hardcore gamer that has legitly beaten Ghosts 'n Goblins on the Nintendo, or a casual gamer that loves Flappy Bird, 8bit cafe is a great place to visit if you are in the Shinjuku area to relive and experience early gaming subculture in Japan.
- Address Bldg. 5F, 3-8-9 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo