Akiba Arcade is...well, what is it? It's the premier Japanese arcade experience in Columbus, if not all of Ohio. It's the only way to shop for anime goods between Ohayocon and Matsuricon. And it's home to Akiba Idol Emily!
Akiba Arcade started as Gotcha Gachapon in 2014. Before that, the city of Columbus, Ohio, didn't have a place for anime fans or Japanese game aficionados. Rhythm gamers congregated around Dance Dance Revolution cabinets at local amusement areas. Narutards traded their DVDs in secrecy and bought their manga from Barnes and Noble. Meanwhile, two best friends bonded over a Police 911 gaming cabinet and needed a place to keep it, starting their gachapon store in Columbus's Short North, then relocating to bigger and better places as they accumulated games and merchandise.
In mid-2017, Gotcha Gachapon relocated to Eastland Mall on Columbus' southeast side, giving the arcade a more permanent location. With this move came a name change: the new, bigger, and badder Akiba Arcade was named after the Akihabara district in Tokyo. And it fits well: AkiAke feels like one just stepped straight into Akihabara itself. When you're in AkiAke, the rest of the world melts away, your troubles are left at the door, and you are surrounded by friends old and new. In short: it's home.
FAQ about Akiba Arcade:
Where can I find out more information?
Akiba Arcade's Facebook page is here; click on the map to access a map and directions. We are located near the old teal Kaufmann's building; for best security enter near this building on the other side of the building, away from the food court.
Eastland Mall's website is located here. While at AkiAke, feel free to grab food and do a little shopping as well!
What are the basics of Akiba Arcade?
Akiba Arcade is open during Eastland Mall's normal business hours (10 AM -9 PM M-Sa and 12 PM - 6 PM Su). All machines past the counter are free play. If you're stopping by for just a bit, it's $5 for an hour or $12 for three. Stay all day for $15, or play all day on Sunday for $10!
While you can certainly grab food at the food court, outside food and drink are allowed as long as they are kept away from the machines. Beverages are able to be purchased at the front desk!
How do I play (insert game here?)
Beginning in 2018, Akiba Idol Emily will be partnering with Akiba Arcade and Snow Phoenix to provide video tutorials on how to play each Bemani game. In the meantime, don't feel shy! Ask Emily, one of her staff, or one of the arcade staff, and we'll be more than happy to help you! Most Bemani games are easy to catch onto, even the hard ones (we're looking at you, IIDX). It's just a matter of navigating through menus and moon runes until we get to the fun!
If you suspect a machine may be broken or are having trouble with it, please alert the staff as soon as you can. We'll have it looked at and/or repaired as soon as we can.
Staying safe at Akiba Arcade is just like staying safe at any venue. Use the buddy system when you leave the arcade, and know where you're going. If you stay late, one of the staff members can walk you to your car. Security is on Eastland Mall's premises 24/7.
When does Akiba Idol Emily perform? Can I play games with her?
Akiba Idol Emily will be at Akiba Arcade on Saturday nights from 6-9, weather and time permitting. All appearances will be listed on her calendar. On Live at the Prism nights, she will arrive earlier to prepare for concerts and to do sound checks. She may also appear after hours out of costume, which is usually when she gets her practice runs in!
Live at the Prism nights will begin in 2018, featuring live stages by Emily in AkiAke's back party room, transformed into a small live venue. More information will be posted at a later date.