On September 20th, Japan's Sega Ikebukuro Gigo arcade closed, more than 28 years after it initially opened. While Japan's arcade industry has been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, Kotaku and Famitsu both state that the closure actually happened because the building's lease agreement ended. Apparently, the nine-story building will be seeing renovations. A massive crowd gathered outside of the location on its final day of business, and a countdown was held to the arcade's closure. After, the arcade's manager climbed atop a ladder to discuss the site's history, and his feelings on the closure.
"If it were in my power, I'd want to stay open forever at this location and greet the happy faces of our wonderful customers," the manager said. "Unfortunately, at this time, the way it turned out was, the arcade has closed."
On the arcade's final day in business, employees wore t-shirts that thanked players for their patronage over the last 28 years. The arcade first opened in July 1993, and had been a staple of the region since. Given the size of the crowd that turned out for the closing, the arcade clearly meant a lot to a lot of people! A video of the gathering can be found in the Tweet embedded below.
池袋セガ閉店セレモニーw pic.twitter.com/RJ5gL5fNNg— MINI (@PUBG_MINI) September 20, 2021
Arcades were once one a major part of the video game industry, and their overall impact has been enormous, introducing gamers to franchises that still exist to this day. Games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Street Fighter II, and Mortal Kombat continue to have a profound influence on popular culture long after their arcade debuts. While the influence of arcades has waned in North America and Europe over the last 25 years, they've remained a big draw in Japan. The closure of Sega Ikebukuro Gigo will come as a big disappointment to a lot of gamers in the country, as well as tourists that visited the location while in Japan. Hopefully, the closure isn't a sign of more to come.
Did you ever have a chance to visit the arcade? Are you disappointed by its closure? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!