I don’t go out drinking much anymore, driving for three hours for some Ikea meatballs and crappy lager is about as Rock and Roll as I get nowadays, but when I can treat myself to a night out in Nagoya, I always make a point of heading to Critical Hit, a computer game bar right around the corner from Fushimi Station.
I love Critical Hit for a number of reasons, first and foremost, it is a jolt of nostalgia that never fails to hit the spot; discovering games you only half remember encourages long lost memories to flood back out of the deepest recesses of your brain. There are also games that are still a great laugh today, with or without the added bonus of taking you back to your childhood, NBA Jam, Sonic the Hedgehog, Bomberman, Mariokart and Goldeneye are always on at least one of the half-dozen screens that decorate the small underground retreat.
The owner and barkeep, Alex Frallolil, is a genuinely great guy, he has a deep passion and knowledge about every game in his possession, but doesn’t have a condescending or obnoxious bone in his body, having worked in a computer game shop during my Master’s degree, I can say unequivocally this is no light feat, my co-workers were either clueless yet nice, or knowledgeable and prone to loath anyone who knew any less than they did.
There are a few ground rules that need to be obeyed. First up, you must buy at least one drink every hour (it ain’t cheap keeping these machines running), secondly, it is a small place, so if you are coming in a group of 4 or more, call ahead to make sure they can accommodate you. Thirdly, if the place is full, accept your fate and head out into the cold world, there isn’t the room for standing patrons, so if the seats are all gone…so are you! Lastly and most importantly, don’t be a dick, there are loads of games and consoles that are easily broken and difficult to replace. I’m not sure how much trouble Alex has had with breakages or theft, but even one experience would be too many.
It would be easy for a bar like Critical Hit to have a very exclusive feel to it, but even for non-gamers it is extremely welcoming and always an amazing time! Be sure to like the Facebook page to get regular updates on events and competitions (link).