Sega’s Akihabara Building No. 2 has begun the long process of ditching the branding in favor of the slate grey of a boring Tokyo skyscraper.
There’s very little to thank 2020 for. Massive wildfires fueling climate change, a global pandemic that’s caused untold economic hardship, and rising tensions from global superpowers are all just harshing the overall vibe of the planet, man. And that’s sort of putting it mildly.
The closure of a beloved Tokyo arcade hardly seems to stack up in the face of such awesome calamity, but it can be hard to measure one’s emotional response to all these world-ending crises. It’s far easier to feel a simple sad nostalgia for an arcade.
At the beginning of August, locals in Akihabara, Tokyo, received notice that Sega Building No. 2 would be closing at the end of the month. The iconic building, covered in Sega logos and anime characters, would shut down operations and lay off all staff, another apparent victim of both 2020 and COVID-19.
You can hardly blame Sega for pulling the plug. The ongoing pandemic has hit Japan just as it has hit everywhere else, requiring social distancing rules to be followed to prevent the virus’s spread. With people encouraged to quarantine at home, nobody is going out to a public arcade, and that simply spelled doom for Sega Building No. 2.
Today, a brief photo update from Twitter user @kaztsu shows workers removing the iconic Sega logos from the outside of the building. Now whatever surface wasn’t covered in reflective glass is just a boring slate grey.
”Another milestone for 2020,” wrote one Twitter user in response. More like another victim for 2020. Even in a country that loves arcades as much as Japan, public spaces devoted to gaming are a dying breed. There’s little chance that a new arcade will take this one’s place.
On the positive side, Sega has promised some new Sonic games in honor of Sonic’s 30th birthday, so there’s that.
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