Like other foreigners living in Japan, I’m a little addicted to video games. So, of course, I had to go see if Sega’s Joypolis was really worth a go.
The Joypolis amusement park in Odaiba is the company’s flagship, but it also operates more arcade-style centers in Umeda, Osaka and one in Okayama. The whole three-story complex looks like a cross between Blade Runner and a Star Wars–Star Trek hybrid. It’s a fun spot, not just for gamers, but even for those just looking for an interesting evening. Joyopolis is much more than a “game center,” it’s a destination, so most attractions here cost about ¥600 each — or you can just buy a multi-ride pass for ¥4,300.
Here are the rides that got my heart pumping — plus a few honorable mentions.
In the Biohazard game, you have to walk through a scary maze while being — cautiously — touched by actors as they try to strike a middle ground between scaring you and not inviting a lawsuit. Likewise in the Fortune Forest, you walk around a room being asked a bunch of strange questions like, “Do you button up your top button often?” (Seriously… ?). You then print off a “perfection percentage” for you and your partner. I’m not responsible for the conversations you may, or may not, have afterward.
5. Gekion Live Coaster (1 & 2F)
Let me put it this way: Have you ever wondered what combining Dance Dance Revolution, Sonic the Hedgehog and a roller coaster would produce? Well, this is your answer. It’s also one of the first things you’ll likely see (and hear) when you enter the park.
On this ride, you’re strapped into a pod, read your last rites and then shot off down a tunnel. On the bar in front of you are four buttons. As you’re hurtling down the track, you have to look at a projection in front of you and play a cheeky game of DDR. The loser has to clean up after.
4. Storm G (2F)
If you grew up playing F-Zero, then on this ride you’ll get to live out those memories once more. However, this time you and another person (presumably someone you know) will be inside the actual futuristic bobsleigh yourself — one in the front and one in the back.
You’ll have to coordinate your acceleration and turning, and if you match up perfectly, you’ll get a speed boost. The real fun comes when, at certain parts on the track, you get a chance to do 360-degree spins. Naturally, it became my mission to spin as much as humanly possible. Much to the dismay of my girlfriend in the front seat.
3. Initial D (1F)
If you’re a car fanatic, or just want to remind yourself how poor you are for not being able to afford a supercar, then this is the ride for you. You sit inside an actual sports car and drive around a track. Even if you’re not much of a racing fan, I’d highly recommend going. It’s certainly a unique experience being able to sit inside a car worth more than your yearly salary and race others.
2. Unsearchable: The Orb Hidden in the Basement (3F)
If you worry about waking up locked in a room, surrounded by objects that you don’t quite understand with random pictures on the wall and want some escape practice, then you can get it here.
You are placed into a room with various contraptions, markings and a lot of questions. Your mission? Find a way out. You’ll have to use your wits and brains to try and figure out how to win. And then, maybe, a little bit of charisma and charm to try and convince the staff to give you some answers.
For obvious reasons, I’m not going to tell you how to complete it, but I can inform you that it doesn’t involve a dinosaur costume, ketchup or singing Miley Cyrus songs. A friend totally did that. Yep. A friend.
1. Zero Latency Zombie Survival (1F)
This one. Inside, you’ll be given a briefing and some basic safety tips. Simple things really: No running, no breaking the equipment, no biting anyone once you’ve been turned into a zombie — you have to promise! You’ll get a backpack, a gun, a headset and some virtual reality goggles. You and your group will then have to fend off attack waves of zombies and then finally escape.
It might seem strange to describe this as intense, but it really was. You’re fully immersed in the experience — walking around the room, aiming and shooting. In fact, my first instinct when two zombies came a little too close was to drop my gun and punch out.
To play this particular game, it’s highly recommended that you reserve ahead of time (book in advance here). You can play Zombie Survival until July 9, after which a new game will be revealed. Needless to say, I’ve already booked.
Have you checked out a Joypolis amusement park? What other high-tech theme parks in Japan do you like? Let us know in the comments!