Tired of arcades full of bright lights and clean neon features, all trying to lull you into a sense of false futurism? Well then Kawasaki, Japan’s Anata No Warehouse (“Your Warehouse”), a video arcade dressed up to look like the seedy back alley of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, is just the place for you.
The builders took painstaking care to recreate an essentialist version of the already pretty fantastical walled city, so it’s easy to forget that this is a modern video game arcade. Even on the outside, the facade of the modern commercial building in which the arcade is housed has been made to look like it is made of dripping, rusting sheet metal, abruptly reverting to the clean modern concrete of the adjoining structures at its borders. Once visitors pass through the rusty (that adjective can be used to describe a lot of the features in Anata No Warehouse) iron doors, they are transported to a back alley of the grimy fake Kowloon. Walking to the elevators there are windows that look into staged rooms where fake prostitutes lounge. All over the walls are moisture stains and ads for shady dental and medical services. All throughout the multiple floors of the facility, the theme never lets up save for the modern dinging and clanging of the actual games. Everything from the hallways to the bathrooms are covered in fake filth and authentically recreated ads and detritus.
While building the arcade, the designers really did their homework, studying old photographs of Kowloon and its “atmosphere.” In addition to hand painting replica signs, the designers even had trash shipped over from Hong Kong so they could get a better idea of what that would look like.
The theme holds true throughout most of the arcade until one leaves through the back exit which takes visitors through a few rooms that are straight up sci-fi-fantasy. From a strange tunnel bathed in red light, to a mist-covered pool that must be traversed via fake boulders, and a ying-yang door that would be at home in Big Trouble In Little China. Come for the video games, but stay for the Blade Runner role play.
Know Before You Go
Phone: 044-246-2360. Hours: 9AM–11:45PM. 5-minute walk from Kawasaki JR station