Games In Real Life is a series of articles comparing locales in video games based on real places in Japan with the places they are based on. In this article we take a look at Tokyo’s Nakano Broadway, which is featured in the Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth series.

Nakano Broadway is a shopping complex located in Nakano, Tokyo. Opened in 1966, it houses a shopping center in its lower floors while everything above the fourth floor serves as private homes, with amenities such as a pool, golf practice area, and a park on the roof.

The construction of the building was wrought with trouble such as funding issues and opposition from local residents, and the design of the building itself is infamously bizarre- Corridors bend in unnatural directions, toilets and elevators are hard to locate, there are no windows, and there are escalators that head only one way, from the first to the third floor. Due to its history, it is also the subject of numerous urban legends ranging from rumours about its troubled construction to horror stories about ghosts in the rooftop pool and a secret fourth basement floor.

The subculture-centric used book (manga) store Mandarake opened a branch in Nakano Broadway in the 1980’s and then expanded to multiple branches on several floors within the mall, with there being over two dozen branches as of the 2010’s. This led to Nakano Broadway becoming associated with otaku subculture, and many other niche interest stores unrelated to Mandarake can be found in the complex as well.

Nakano Broadway is featured in the Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth series, with the protagonist’s base of operations in the first game being located in the building. Below, we compare screenshots of the game to the places in real life that they are based on.

The entrance to Nakano Broadway (exterior)
The entrance to Nakano Broadway (interior)
Mandarake (3F)
Escalator (1F)
Stairway (1F) – Though the private detective agency that serves as the protagonist’s base of operations in Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth does not exist in real life, the fortune teller in front of it does
Elevator (4F)
Nakano TRF game arcade (4F)
Stairway (4F)

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Johann C. K. worked in Tokyo as a corporate translator and interpreter for Japanese to English and vice-versa before he started writing for Frontline Gaming Japan. Video games are a lifelong passion for him.


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