Where do you guys get your games?

I feel like we could all benefit from pooling good places to find video games old and new. Unfortunately I can’t contribute much in the way of finding American games but if you ever find yourself in Japan I can show you where to start!

Personally my go-to store to browse for games would be a chain called BOOK-OFF. Despite the name it’s actually a second hand thrift store that carries all kinds of stuff. The closest comparison I can think of is Good Will for people who have spending money. Now what’s available varies from store to store but from what I’ve seen every store has inventory from 5th gen and generally their stock stretches back into 3rd gen consoles/games. With a couple stores having selection from 2nd gen! Being a chain store there are locations all over the Tokyo Metropolitan Area. Added with the randomness that inherently comes from a thrift store I’m always seeing something new when I walk in.

As far as quality of used goods goes, I haven’t run into anything deal breaking. As long a what you’re looking for comes in a standard plastic case, most of what you’ll find is Near Mint quality. If there is anything wrong such as missing booklets or disk scratches there will be a sticker on the box that states so clearly and that usually also makes the game discounted from the asking price.

Speaking of stickers, surprisingly I have had zero issues with removing them from game boxes! The horror of finally finding that one game you were searching endlessly for, only for it to have a Gamestop sticker slapped on the front of the paper is nowhere to be found here. Price and Degraded Quality stickers are always attached to the outside plastic of the game box and always remove easy leaving minimal trace behind.

The overall quality of used games described above is universal in Japan from what I’ve encountered so far and what I’ve said in regards to quality will apply to the next two places I talk about. However, I should add the disclaimer that all of my searching for games so far has been confined to the Tokyo Metropolitan Area.

Another business that carries older games that I frequent is Surugaya Specialty Store. Sometimes shortened to Surugaya. There are alot fewer of these scattered about but the selection here also stretches back to 3rd gen. Finally there are a lot of smaller stores that sell games in Akihabara. The only one I recall from memory would be Game Potato.

One final disclaimer would be: as all of these stores are in Japan, they all exclusively sell the JP versions of games. Which are region locked to the JP versions of their respective consoles. If you’re interested in having an expensive collection most of the time it’s not worth buying the JP versions of games as there is far less demand for them and so they don’t sell for nearly as much. But if you can read Japanese buying from Japan could save you a whole lot of money in the long run.

Overall I’ve had a very fun and rewarding time walking around Tokyo and picking up JRPGS that I’ve never heard of. But until I get a better handle on kanji I’ll just be playing JP Kingdom Hearts.

So where do you guys buy your stuff? Any gold mines? Terrible buyer experiences?
I have an insatiable curiosity.

I’ll update this post with photos of the stores I mentioned next time I go out. If I remember to take some…

Some at gamestop, some on ebay/amazon, sometimes i will buy from Lukiegames.com.

My favorite place is GameTZ.com. It takes a little more work since it’s a user to user site meant to facilitate trading (though buying and selling is common too). But there are often pretty good deals to be found. Since there aren’t really any fees on the site (other than an optional subscription for bonus features), people tend to charge less because they don’t have the 15-20% ebay/amazon fee overhead.

it used to be a bigger community but there are often good deals to be had there


For whatever reason I am unable to edit the OP with pictures so I will simply post them here. If you would like photos of something specific, let me know and I’ll try and snag a shot of it next time I’m out.

The following images were all taken from the BOOK-OFF located at the Mikasa Shopping Plaza in Yokosuka Chuo.
First up the modern stuff.

No shortage of PS4/5 and Switch games.

But we can go older

The further back you go the harder it is to find. This store isn’t very big either.
There’s still good games to be found though. I’ve even done a price comparison based on Pricecharting, if you trust them.

We can keep going back though.

You might notice Japan has a Nintendo and Sony bias. Ironically enough for all the praise I give these stores it would probably be easier to find Xbox games in the US than it would be over here.

Depicted above is one of those “Degraded Quality” stickers I mentioned. They tell you if the game is missing anything or has any damage. This copy of Sakura Wars 3 is missing the instruction booklet. So the store has decided to charge you 10% less should you buy it. I should note that the discount isn’t included on the white label so in this instance you would save ¥90.

Also, let me reiterate that I have purchased several games from multiple different stores and I’ve never had any sort of issues removing these stickers. Nor do they leave behind residue.

I believe I should also mention that “everything being near mint” as stated in the OP applies to 5th generation onward and far less so to older titles.
These people sure do love their Playstation though.

And look what I found while browsing! CIB too.

Another price comparison to the US version according to Pricecharting.

Finally: 3rd Gen with a splash of Gamecube
You will notice that cardboard is not the easiest material to preserve for 30 years. As a result GC games are also really hard to find in CIB quality for JP versions. In Japan the cover art was a cardboard sleeve!

And that’s what a small BOOK-OFF looks like. This store was severely lacking in consoles and handheld devices (as in it had none at all lol) but I’ve seen the hardware scattered about in plenty of other stores. Again, if you want photos of something just ask! I’ll see what I can do.

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But you live in paradise? What luck, I think I will spend my days in these stores.