After 28 years of operation, SEGA has finally closed the doors on its Iconic Ikebukuro Gigo arcade. This arcade served as a popular destination the world over, hoping to experience Japanese arcades which still have large popularity in the country. These arcades became even more popular with the increase of awareness of the Yakuza Franchise as the Club SEGA’s of that games universe act as stand-ins for the SEGA-owned arcades of Japan.
As previously reported by Kotaku, the company had stated that the popular arcade would be closing its doors on September 20. When that day finally arrived fans flocked to the address to give it the proper send-off it deserved. With Covid-19 travel restrictions, this event was a more intimate moment for the people of Japan.
The Ikebukuro Gigo arcade was first opened in 1993 before being rebranded a decade later in 2013 under the SEGA label. During this rebranding, it was also given its Iconic red exterior. According to Famitsu, this closure was due in part to the end of the leasing agreement for the building. That coupled with the building needing major renovations were cited as the “unavoidable circumstances,” leading to its closure.
The arcade manager tasked with overseeing the Ikebukuro Gigo spoke to the gathering fans. He told them:
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. Unfortunately, at this time, the way it turned out was, the arcade has closed.
Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, SEGA was forced to sell off a bulk of their arcade businesses due to significant losses. They explained that they had to see a significant decrease in usage, which of course was to be expected in a pandemic such as that.
On a personal note, the last time I traveled to Japan was in 2018 where I spent several afternoons playing UFO Catcher at the Iconic arcade. These places severed as an amazing place to interact with locals and other Foreigners and I will always remember my time spent there fondly.