Where generations collide and nostalgia reins supreme
Given the interest shown in my other article Fading Frontier: Kukje Electronics Centre, I thought I might as well continue on and re-visit the other final bastion of Retro Video Gaming here in South Korea, the legendary Yongsan Video Game Alley. I would be very interested to know the history of this place and how long it has been around. Suffice to say, its been there a long time and is the best known place in Korea to get your hands on some great retro (and also modern) games and consoles.
Located out the back of Yongsan Ipark Mall in Yongsan Y-Valley and across from the Sunin Plaza Building (your one stop shop for everything PC related, if your looking to get set up, check out the man himself Phil!), Video Game Alley is literally a small little alley at the bottom of an open mall type building that you would easily miss if you didn’t know it was there or where to look for it.
Vendors are packed into this tiny little space that spreads all the way from one end to the other, showcasing their products in very cramped booths often over flowing with games and goods.
While the majority of the booths tend to have similar items such as scores of Xbox 360 and PS3 titles, most booths have the newest offerings from the top 3 console brands. However, there are some booths that stock a large array of retro consoles and games from days gone by, it can be a real trip down nostalgia lane and this is where Video Game Alley really shines.
Unfortunately, like many other places, Video Game Alley hasn’t avoided the sting of online purchasing with some of the booths seemingly closed up permanently. Other booths have also turned to anime and manga related goods, much like Kukje has. While gaming and anime related products do often go hand in hand, it is still sad to see mechas of gaming fall to the wayside as mostly online purchasing takes their place. It is nice to see geek culture flourish but there is a sense of loss with gradual closing down of places like this which have influenced many a gamer over time. If you are looking to purchase games and peripherals for the latest generation of consoles, then you are better off looking online or going to Kukje. But if you are looking for something older and harder to come by, this is most definitely the place to check out first!
There are 2 main ways to reach Video Game Alley which is located in the Yongsan Y-Valley area.
Via Yongsan Station Line 1, take exit 3, then follow the signs directing you towards Yongsan Y-Valley. Follow the covered bridge which takes you all the way there. Don’t go down the escalator when you see it, instead keep walking around and to your left, then take the next bridge that heads towards your right, go past the covered car park, down the stairs to the road (where you will see a big intersection, then turn 180 degrees back where you came from and the entrance way is right there
Via Sinyongsan Station Line 4, walk out exit 5 and follow the road straight, go under the train tracks through the tunnel, come out the other side and keep walking until you reach the major intersection, cross at the lights and the entrance way is off to your left.
Marcus Powell has been living and working in South Korea since 2010. Aside from writing for small publications, he is also a popular Club DJ, Gamer, Community manager, esports fan and anime enthusiast.