Sugoi offers an all-you-can-eat Japanese arcade game buffet for a nice price!
Sugoi is an arcade game hall concentrating on Japanese titles. It is situated in a spooky looking warehouse in an industrial area of Malmi, Helsinki, but luckily is only a 15-minute walk from Malmi Railway Station. It’s on the second floor but unfortunately it is not an accessible space.
I had not visited the establishment before and didn’t know much about it before hand. I didn’t know if it was super popular, so I decided on visiting the arcade hall on a Thursday afternoon. After a heavy dinner it was invigorating to have a brisk walk over to the arcade hall. The surrounding area wasn’t very appealing so I feared it might not be popular at all and perhaps even closed! To my surprise it was full of enthusiastic people playing games. Regardless of the crowd I didn’t need to wait to get playing – there was plenty for everyone!
Despite the rugged exterior Sugoi has an authentic arcade hall feel to it as the hall is jam-packed with arcade cabinets. It offers about fifty games from puzzle to fighting and from rhythm to driving games. I’m usually not into driving games but having an immersive wheel and pedal set along with an adjustable seat and a gear lever makes me think otherwise. It was fun to play titles such as Outrun 2, Sega Rally Championship and F-Zero AX even though I never made it to the goal in time. Not having to add physical credit each time helped to relieve frustration.
I also have feeble thumbs so playing fighting games with traditional console type controllers really hurts after a while, so I usually refrain from playing them. That in mind, it was a delight to discover the arcade joystick and buttons. Having played the previous title on a console, Soul Calibur III was surprisingly not as excruciating as I feared.
Another fun game was Taiko no Tatsujin 14, which is a real classic game series in Japan. It’s a rhythm game where you beat the taiko-drum with drumsticks. It offers a variety of different songs, although they are mainly from Japanese game titles, JPOP and anime with some classics such as Chopin. It was tricky to try find a song I liked within the relatively short 90 second time window. However, you can find the song lists online for some help. In any case it was super fun!
Like Taiko no Tatsujin most of the games are only in Japanese, but the games are simple enough to play anyway as arcade games aren’t known for being too story driven. Most games also allow two-player mode, which is easily enabled by just pressing start button for the second player. Some may have an in-game select-screen for that and it may require some Japanese skills. But as the games are not very long either, method of trial and error is a good way to go. No need to enroll for a Japanese language course in order to enjoy the games!
Two special mentions: Pac-Man Battle Royale is a four player Pac-Man where you either eat or get eaten by other players or the Ghosts. Last Pac-Man standing wins! The play area in the game is quite small making each round quite short. I only tried the two-player mode but perhaps the four-player mode could be very much fun. Another fun but infuriatingly hard game is Monkeyball, which also had the coolest banana-shaped joystick. It’s a digital marble labyrinth game where you steer a ball-encapsulated monkey to the goal on various narrow pathed courses floating in the air while also collecting bananas. If you fall over the edge, you must start the course again. It might also cause nausea and vertigo.
While Sugoi offers a great selection of different old and new arcade games I hope they might add some dancing game cabinets in the future too. I think the price is reasonable, because if the games were coin operated, I might’ve refrained from trying all those cool games, and the less cool and the horrible too. I did spend around three hours there and played about twenty different games. And on the other hand, without the endless free retries I might’ve ended up spending too much money on a ridiculous game just to see how it ends.
It’s definitely worth a visit!
PS. The arcade hall is also available for private events outside the normal opening hours.
Ormuspellontie 12, Helsinki
Thursday – Friday: 16:30 – 21:00
Saturday – Sunday: 14:00 – 20:00
Thursday – Friday: 9€
Saturday – Sunday: 11€