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Mercredi, 19 Octobre 2011 12:00

Broke in Tokyo: Retro Game Shopping on a Weak Dollar

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Broke In Tokyo: Cocoron

Every year that I go to Tokyo Game Show, I assign myself a challenge that I made up: Scrounge in the bargain bins of the country's videogame stores and buy 10 videogames for a total of 1000 yen, which is roughly equivalent to $10.

Or, rather, it used to be $10. This year, the yen-to-dollar ratio was the lowest I'd ever experienced in 10 years of living in and traveling to Japan. A thousand yen wasn't $10 anymore, it was more like $13.

Could I still get 10 games and only spend 10 bucks? Yes — but this time I was going to have to cheat.

I'd never heard of this Famicom side-scrolling action game, but apparently it's got something of a cult following even in the U.S. The gimmick here is that you can actually create your own character when it begins, by picking a comical head and body. I put the face of a ninja on a tank.

What then transpires is a boring, rather difficult romp through a few repetitive levels. While it's fun to build new creations and see what they feel like when you play as them, Cocoron didn't really hold my interest. Next!

All photos: Jim Merithew/

Broke in Tokyo: Retro Game Shopping on a Weak DollarChris Kohler is the founder and editor of's Game|Life, and the author of Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life. He will talk your ear off about Japanese curry rice.
Follow @kobunheat and @GameLife on Twitter.


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