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I'm interested to hear thoughts between the two because from the videos I saw about Japanese game stores, they seem to take better care of their games than most GameStops, I live in the USA btw. I don't really see too many comparison videos on the subject, but videos and articles of Japanese vs Western media comparisons are incredibly easy to find. The closest to getting those kinds of videos is a video from a YouTube channel called jcontra making a video about American game stores. Maybe Adam Koralik made some comparisons since he went to a lot of Japanese game stores, but I haven't seen all of those videos yet. Now some might say that Japan might go the way of backwards degeneracy like the West, but that's like saying stores like Book-Off and Super Potato might go to the route of GameStop, which doesn't seem to be the case.  Even though parts of their culture are weird also, but in different ways.

Speaking of which, since GameStop is struggling so much, so imagine how funny it would be if they try to buy Asian store chains like Book-Off, Super Potato, Mandarake, Toy and Game (Singapore game store), Halo Shop, and Mimigame (both are Vietnamese game stores), and they all reject GameStop without hesitation. 

I would like to know.

Edited by Alex Nguyen
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This is a very unusual post, it's hard to understand precisely what point you're trying to make or question you are trying to ask.

Book Off and Hard Off are basically thrift stores, not specifically game stores. Super Potato is not a chain store, it is a single location. Mandarake sells games, but that is only a small part of their larger business in selling all forms of anime and manga products, as well as models, toys and all sorts of other pop culture items.

None of the stores you mention are functionally equivalent to GameStop, which obviously focuses on new and used games for modern systems.

I also have no idea what you are trying to say with the tangent about GameStop buying those other businesses. This seems like some sort of fantasy scenario with no basis in reality.

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On 11/9/2020 at 1:11 AM, Alex Nguyen said:

Now some might say that Japan might go the way of backwards degeneracy like the West, but that's like saying stores like Book-Off and Super Potato might go to the route of GameStop, which doesn't seem to be the case.  Even though parts of their culture are weird also, but in different ways.

Also I would LOVE to hear OP clarify his thoughts on this statement! 🤣

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It's an entirely different culture. I love historical Japanese culture, art, food, etc., and I went to Japan last year. You're kind of hitting at multiple points here, but I'll try to break them down:

1.) The Japanese have a much different worldview than The West. As far as retro game stores dying out or a large corporation moving in, it's highly unlikely for that to happen. Japan is relatively small and chains, while they exist, are nowhere near as large as their enormous American counterparts. The Tokyo area has something like 50% of Japan's population living in it much like Seoul in South Korea. The chains are relegated to cities and even then there aren't tens of thousands of locations. Somebody mentioned Super Potato and that's not as large as Americans would like to make out, store-wise or location-wise. Super Potato even closed a few locations recently. Prices are high as hell and the workers looked miserable there during cherry blossom season (therefore, not that great of a place to shop or to work at). Retro games could be had for substantially less in smaller shops than from Super Potato. There's a Super Potato tax of upwards of 25% on games just to shop there and a place like Super Potato likely over expanded with the few locations that they have. So, no, I doubt any chain would do well. I live in Philadelphia and by virtue of living in a city large corporate chains have difficulty maintaining traffic. There are many more alternatives to chains when one lives in a city.

2.) The Japanese have a much better secondhand market. They take much better care of their possessions and often use, reuse, and resell all the time. There's a huge difference between the American secondhand market and the Japanese used market. Americans take much worse care of their possessions than the Japanese. The sense of ownership and care that the Japanese generally have still persists to this day. The secondhand market there will always remain strong because of this.

3.) As much as I hate to admit it physical media is dying. We can all debate that fact here, that there will always be a market, but the amount of gamers who want physical media are eclipsed by those who don't care. The majors recently releasing essentially consolized PCs without optical drives says how present this fact is. GameStop will die one day within this next decade. I am confident when I say that GameStop will not be around in 2030 unless it can majorly reimagine its business model in some significant way. GameStop is in no way in a position to jump into a foreign business venture and to open new stores in a market that doesn't want or need them there.

Edited by TheGreatBlackCat
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Just note that my last experience at any video game stores (and Mandarake) was in early 2018.

Animate: Not many know that they also sell pre-owned video games. My experiences with this shop in both parts of Osaka and Tokyo had me find a few interesting gems. But that is pretty much it.

Mandarake: My favorite among everything I have seen. They grade their CIB content very well, and are willing to re-wrap anything if asked. Their shop in Nakano Broadway is my favorite in terms of looks, but their Akihabara branch is also top notch. Plus their prices tend to be regionally consistent. When shopping, however, I should note that their displays kind of feel like a used book store. Meaning that you will see the spine of the games as opposed to seeing the front. Which is only an issue for those who do not know what to look for. And they do not always grade any bonus items (cards, etc.) as it seems. In one case I found one of the free cards in a CIB game I bought in poor condition. While the rest was in tip-top shape. So things like that have me feel iffy about buying CIB in the long run when it comes to my grading goals.

Super Potato: I prefer the one I visited in Nipponbashi (Osaka) versus the others I have been to. This one has personality and do miss their "Santa Snake" statue. But I also have found that the two Osaka stores I did find (in 2016) were inconsistent with their prices. In one case I was hunting down a reproduction Famicom for a friend as part of his belated Christmas gift. The one I got him was priced a few hundred yen less than what I could have paid a few miles away. And the one in Akihabara is fun when it comes to hunting down quirky video game items. All I can say is that I needed a game re-wrapped and they rudely declined. And the game turned out to have dirt on it despite getting a high grade from them. Again, making me feel iffy about future CIB purchases.

Every other video game shop: These all vary. The one I found in Osaka had a very impressive SNK collection. Where as others ranged from being colorful to having interesting selections. That is pretty much it.

In the end I felt that portions of the 'second hand' selections are top notch when it comes to Mandarake. And that Super Potato feels like a quirky Japanese version of GameStop at times.

Other than that I hope my opinion changes in 2021. Among a few other things. 😅

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/10/2020 at 9:15 AM, TheGreatBlackCat said:

It's an entirely different culture. I love historical Japanese culture, art, food, etc., and I went to Japan last year. You're kind of hitting at multiple points here, but I'll try to break them down:

1.) The Japanese have a much different worldview than The West. As far as retro game stores dying out or a large corporation moving in, it's highly unlikely for that to happen. Japan is relatively small and chains, while they exist, are nowhere near as large as their enormous American counterparts. The Tokyo area has something like 50% of Japan's population living in it much like Seoul in South Korea. The chains are relegated to cities and even then there aren't tens of thousands of locations. Somebody mentioned Super Potato and that's not as large as Americans would like to make out, store-wise or location-wise. Super Potato even closed a few locations recently. Prices are high as hell and the workers looked miserable there during cherry blossom season (therefore, not that great of a place to shop or to work at). Retro games could be had for substantially less in smaller shops than from Super Potato. There's a Super Potato tax of upwards of 25% on games just to shop there and a place like Super Potato likely over expanded with the few locations that they have. So, no, I doubt any chain would do well. I live in Philadelphia and by virtue of living in a city large corporate chains have difficulty maintaining traffic. There are many more alternatives to chains when one lives in a city.

2.) The Japanese have a much better secondhand market. They take much better care of their possessions and often use, reuse, and resell all the time. There's a huge difference between the American secondhand market and the Japanese used market. Americans take much worse care of their possessions than the Japanese. The sense of ownership and care that the Japanese generally have still persists to this day. The secondhand market there will always remain strong because of this.

3.) As much as I hate to admit it physical media is dying. We can all debate that fact here, that there will always be a market, but the amount of gamers who want physical media are eclipsed by those who don't care. The majors recently releasing essentially consolized PCs without optical drives says how present this fact is. GameStop will die one day within this next decade. I am confident when I say that GameStop will not be around in 2030 unless it can majorly reimagine its business model in some significant way. GameStop is in no way in a position to jump into a foreign business venture and to open new stores in a market that doesn't want or need them there.

Thanks, I have been thinking of getting into Japanese game collecting because I realized that the Western (specifically the US market) in general is a complete farce, people licking the Switch carts and COVID-19 prices were where I draw the line. The only good that US games are that they're good money if you get the right games at the right prices. However, I made an oath to not collect Japanese imports until I move to Asia because that makes more sense to me.

However, my main question is that is there a way to trade-in any import to any JP game store as a foreigner? Now I do not want to trade-in the game for the money, but to keep those Japanese imports in mint condition so they would not be ruined by the American market. I heard that you can't trade-in that country unless you have a Japanese ID. The only thing I can think of maybe renting a Japanese girlfriend/friend/family member to trade-in for me, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea.

But yeah, even though the imports have gone a bit more expensive, they still seem cheaper and cleaner than their North American counterparts. Which yeah figures. They also have some really cool boxarts. Which is also one of the reasons to get into JP game collecting.

Speaking of GameStop, I remember they had some stores in Sweden of all places, however, they close their stores over there a few years back. Yeah I can only imagine GameStop wanting to buy Asian stores like Hard-Off, Super Potato, Surugaya, Toy or Game (Singapore game store), etc., just to keep themselves relevant, like how they bought stores like EB Games, Funcoland, and Micromania-Zing (game store retailer in France), however, I can only imagine all of the Asian stores saying "no".

Edited by Alex Nguyen
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I’ve been to a lot of American retro game stores and exactly zero Japanese game stores (hopefully to change in the future). The American ones all have the less than $10 or so games thrown about on the shelves, possibly thrown there from 30 yards out after being peed on. Anything in the glass display cases may have had the pins cleaned and tidied up a bit. I’ve only been to one maybbbbeeee two game stores that took the time to clean every game and place in a nice plastic baggy (Game On, Smithtown, NY - cleanest store I’ve been in). 
 

I imagine the Japanese game stores care about their inventory as they are raised to value their possessions much more than us and all the game stores are neat and tidy as well as being cramped because space is limited in the cities. 

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On 1/6/2021 at 1:39 AM, Alex Nguyen said:

Now I do not want to trade-in the game for the money, but to keep those Japanese imports in mint condition so they would not be ruined by the American market. 

Lul, wat?

You want to go to Japan to trade imports into the game stores so they will be kept in good condition?

I thought you said you don't have any imports yet? So what would you be trading in? And if you wanted to keep them in mint condition, why trade them in at all, why not just hold onto them and look after them yourself?!

This thread makes very little of what we humans call 'sense'! 😛

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Editorials Team · Posted
On 11/8/2020 at 10:11 AM, Alex Nguyen said:

I'm interested to hear thoughts between the two because from the videos I saw about Japanese game stores, they seem to take better care of their games than most GameStops, I live in the USA btw. I don't really see too many comparison videos on the subject, but videos and articles of Japanese vs Western media comparisons are incredibly easy to find. The closest to getting those kinds of videos is a video from a YouTube channel called jcontra making a video about American game stores. Maybe Adam Koralik made some comparisons since he went to a lot of Japanese game stores, but I haven't seen all of those videos yet. Now some might say that Japan might go the way of backwards degeneracy like the West, but that's like saying stores like Book-Off and Super Potato might go to the route of GameStop, which doesn't seem to be the case.  Even though parts of their culture are weird also, but in different ways.

Speaking of which, since GameStop is struggling so much, so imagine how funny it would be if they try to buy Asian store chains like Book-Off, Super Potato, Mandarake, Toy and Game (Singapore game store), Halo Shop, and Mimigame (both are Vietnamese game stores), and they all reject GameStop without hesitation. 

I would like to know.

But backwards degeneracy is the best kind!

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1 hour ago, OptOut said:

Lul, wat?

You want to go to Japan to trade imports into the game stores so they will be kept in good condition?

I thought you said you don't have any imports yet? So what would you be trading in? And if you wanted to keep them in mint condition, why trade them in at all, why not just hold onto them and look after them yourself?!

This thread makes very little of what we humans call 'sense'! 😛

Sorry for being unclear. I bought some imports, but just for Switch and PS4, and that's just to play the games, not to have a collection. I do not have any Japanese retro games. Now, I would rather trade if I happen to go to Japan, not go to there just to trade.

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38 minutes ago, Alex Nguyen said:

Sorry for being unclear. I bought some imports, but just for Switch and PS4, and that's just to play the games, not to have a collection. I do not have any Japanese retro games. Now, I would rather trade if I happen to go to Japan, not go to there just to trade.

Seems like a waste of effort tbh.

As I always suggest when visiting Japan, bring a full wallet and an empty backpack. Any time spent in the trade-in queue trying to negotiate a trade in a foreign language with disinterested store employees is completely wasted IMO.

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6 hours ago, OptOut said:

Seems like a waste of effort tbh.

As I always suggest when visiting Japan, bring a full wallet and an empty backpack. Any time spent in the trade-in queue trying to negotiate a trade in a foreign language with disinterested store employees is completely wasted IMO.

100% agreed. If you make it to Japan, go out and visit some temples or something, don't piss away the time on this.

 

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12 hours ago, fcgamer said:

100% agreed. If you make it to Japan, go out and visit some temples or something, don't piss away the time on this.

 

Nah, you do both!  When I was in Japan in 2013, I visited temples (and the world's biggest fish market), and I also brought a 120 liter empty backpack and a full wallet.  Of course, I got back with an empty wallet and a backpack that was overflowing...

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11 minutes ago, Dr. Morbis said:

Nah, you do both!  When I was in Japan in 2013, I visited temples (and the world's biggest fish market), and I also brought a 120 liter empty backpack and a full wallet.  Of course, I got back with an empty wallet and a backpack that was overflowing...

Well of course I'd do game hunting, but I wouldn't bother wasting time trading in western games for $$ just to "preserve" them, or whatever the op was suggesting. It's totally his thing though 😂

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1 minute ago, fcgamer said:

Well of course I'd do game hunting, but I wouldn't bother wasting time trading in western games for $$ just to "preserve" them, or whatever the op was suggesting. It's totally his thing though 😂

True story: while I was there I saw exactly one CIB NES game in Akihabara, a mint copy of Caveman Games by Data East, just innocently lined up in amongst hundreds of boxed Famicom games.  I couldn't fathom how on earth it could have gotten there, but maybe it was a Westerner trying to trade in some games, heh...

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39 minutes ago, Dr. Morbis said:

True story: while I was there I saw exactly one CIB NES game in Akihabara, a mint copy of Caveman Games by Data East, just innocently lined up in amongst hundreds of boxed Famicom games.  I couldn't fathom how on earth it could have gotten there, but maybe it was a Westerner trying to trade in some games, heh...

Yeah that's weird. I've seen some NES stuff occasionally here in Taiwan, but it makes more sense since there's a lot of folks moving back and forth between the States and the island.

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