Japanese video games released decades ago are making a comeback, gaining popularity among players of all ages in Japan and visitors from overseas, with retailers launching consoles compatible with old cartridges.

Secondhand retailers Bookoff Group Holdings and Geo Holdings have separately developed consoles capable of playing old games for Nintendo's iconic Nintendo Entertainment System, released in 1983 as Famicom in Japan, while the game reselling market is flourishing both in stores and online.

In August, Geo launched its Retro Game Computer console in Japan for ¥2,178 ($14.50), and its initial 3,000 units sold out by October.

Seeing solid sales even after restocking, the firm said it plans to make it a regular product soon.

Meanwhile, Bookoff launched its Famicom-compatible 8Bit Compact V2 console in December at ¥3,980 per unit.

The firm's used-game sales have also been strengthening, including those for Famicom's successor, the Super Famicom system. Sales of such games increased by nearly 60% in the year to May 2023 from a year earlier, it said.

Customers say they are drawn to the games' nostalgic soundtracks and low-resolution graphics, with some who enjoyed the games when they were younger saying they now want to play them with their children.

Retro games are also performing strongly at goods reseller Suruga-ya, with an official from its operator A-too saying, "Sales have doubled at some stores thanks to renewed awareness among young people and foreign tourists to Japan."

The popular Mercari marketplace app has also seen active trade in the games, with prices for cartridges ranging from a few hundred to several thousand yen, even reaching hundreds of thousands of yen in cases of rare titles or games that come in their original packaging.