Secret Nintendo Café 84 Opens to the Public in Japan

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Secret Nintendo Café 84 Opens to the Public in Japan” – below is their description.

    84, a secret Nintendo café in Tokyo has opened its doors to the public after being closed just before the Covid-19 pandemic last year. For years, a former Nintendo employee ran a members-only diner at a secret location in the hip Shibuya district, frequented by movers and shakers in the video game industry.

    84 has quietly reopened as a café and this time anyone can make a reservation. It’s a one-of-a-kind industry institution filled with classic game memorabilia that insists on keeping its location a mystery.

    Tucked away at the back of a nondescript building, the establishment is the brainchild of Toru Hashimoto, who initially conceived it as a sanctuary for game developers to nerd out and relax.

    Entering the venue triggers a Legend of Zelda achievement jingle. On the walls are impromptu doodles by the creators of legendary franchises like Pokémon, Dragon Quest and Mega Man. And scattered around the place are precious artifacts from Hashimoto’s time in Nintendo.

    The name 84 — pronounced ha-shi in Japanese — is a combination of the creator’s last name, the year he joined the Kyoto-based games maker and the final stage in Super Mario Bros.

    The 59-year-old joined Nintendo a year after it launched the Nintendo Entertainment System domestically. Never expecting video games to become the cultural phenomenon they have grown into, the company wasn’t very careful about preserving its history, industry consultant Hisakazu Hirabayashi said.

    But Hashimoto, feeling sentimental about the products his colleagues created, made a habit of saving small items destined for the incinerator and bringing them home. He left Nintendo in 1995.

    “I moved a fraction of them for display at the diner, hoping my friends would feel nostalgia by seeing them,” Hashimoto said in an interview at his café. “That made my wife happy at least, as our house is more organized now.”

    Many of the items on display at 84 are unique and unlikely to be found anywhere else in the world, potentially not even at the official museum that Nintendo is building in Kyoto, said Hirabayashi, a longtime friend of Hashimoto and a regular patron.

    That includes an unused game cartridge sticker for Super Mario Bros. from 1985.

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