A Secret Nintendo Cafe in Japan is Opening to the Public for the First Time
Japan is no stranger to gaming themed cafes – there have been Kirby cafes, Super Mario cafes and Final Fantasy cafes to name but a few. But for the first time, a secret cafe only available to Nintendo employees and other game developers will be opening up to the public.
Reported by Bloomberg, the café known as 84 is owned and operated by ex-Nintendo employee Toru Hashimoto, and was created as a members-only cafe for video game developers. The cafe, located in Shibuya at a still-secret address, has been forced to re-evaluate its operating model as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and is now taking reservations and customers from outside the industry.
Toru Hashimoto originally wanted 84 to be a place for Nintendo’s game developers to relax in a video game themed environment that wasn’t in the company offices. It still very much retains a Nintendo focus, however, with art and doodles from various Nintendo games framed on the walls, and a Legend of Zelda jingle playing as you walk through the door.
The name 84 comes from the year that Hashimoto joined Nintendo, and many of the items and decorations in the cafe are related to his time there. Hashimoto left Nintendo in 1995, and opened the café ten years later in 2015. Apparently, he opened the café exclusively for friends because he didn’t have much experience in the hospitality business, and they “would be forgiving even if I make mistakes”. Brilliantly, even those invited to dine at 84 still had to solve a puzzle to find the address.
It isn’t just Nintendo employees that have eaten there. Famous Japanese developers like Dragon Quest designer Yuji Horii and Shigeki Morimoto from the Pokemon Company are also regulars, making the venue a hotspot for Japanese development talent.
Despite aiming to open the cafe up to a wider audience, there is still an air of secrecy around 84. The address is only shared with people who actually make a booking, and given the high profile clientele who have spent time there, bookings are likely to fill up fast. However, Hashimoto does want to see the cafe support the next generation of game developers, as he has floated the idea of hosting spoken word nights about video game history, and events around games development.
This isn’t the only way that Nintendo’s history and brand is being made more accessible. It was recently revealed that a Nintendo museum is in the works, and set to open to the public in 2024, and a Super Nintendo World attraction has opened up at Universal Studios Japan. For a company that has for so long been shrouded in secrecy, it’s a nice change of pace to see Nintendo opening up and sharing more about the company that helped push gaming into the mainstream.
In other Nintendo news, the company announced yesterday that a new Nintendo Switch OLED Model will be released on October 8, the same day as Metroid Dread finally releases after 15 years. Though it’s not quite the rumoured Switch Pro that many had been anticipating.
Liam Wiseman is a Freelance News Writer for IGN and will be making a trip to 84 as soon as it’s safe to. You can follow him on Twitter @liamthewiseman
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