The highlight came when I found a used games shop in Motoko Five. Just approaching this place would make any red-blooded NES freak lose control of himself; the shop's walls are quite literally plastered with Famicom games, most of which I had never seen before in Akihabara.

The shopkeeper was a pleasant enough guy in his early 30s and we talked for a little while about Famicom culture. As we talked, my eyes kept on wandering away to some cool thing on the wall - various boxed things I wanted like Kyatto Ninden Teyande (you might remember its US incarnation of Samurai Pizza Cats), Nekketsu Street Basketball (last game in the series), the 1993 cartridge re-release of Castlevania, and several Hacker titles.

The rarest of what he had was stored in a glass case, with a sign telling prospective buyers to ask the manager for prices (ie. a little beyond my budget). On the right (hard to see in the photo) is something that Japanese collectors go crazy for - a Famicom whose controllers have perfectly square buttons instead of circular ones. These square-button Famicoms were made only during the first few months of sale in 1983-84, so are both a little rare and extremely sought after as the "original" Famicom.

On the bottom we have a golden Disk System disk in a holder shaped like the Disk System logo. This was a prize for winning a contest associated with the release of Golf - Japan Course for the FDS, and the disk contains a course unreleased anywhere else. There are ten thousand of these in existance, putting it again into the realm of hard-core collectors. And who can resist shiny gold disks...

Above we have some Hacker FDS titles, and in the middle comes what I think is the prize of this store - a preview demo cart, the first Famicom one I've ever seen. The label has Konami's old logo, a serial number, the word "SAMPLE" in English and (you can't see this in the photo) "Gradius" written in green flourescent marker. The cart is in the same style as other Konami releases, with a hole in the upper left corner.

I'm glad to know that there are people in Japan, just like elsewhere, who care about the Famicom's history and are keeping it for the future.