Screenshot from teaser trailer to inKonbini

This Indie Game About a Japanese Convenience Store in the ’90s Is My Whole Vibe

Every once in a while, an indie game is announced that makes the internet squeal with delight. A game that looks so cozy, so comforting, so incredibly specific, the buzz over its announcement spreads organically. This week, that game was inKONBINI, where you play as a convenience store worker in Japan in the early 1990s.

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If you’ve ever been to Japan, you can appreciate the centricity of the convenience store in everyday life. There’s a reason that your friends coming back from their trip to Tokyo are screaming about how ridiculously nice the 7-11s are. A convenience store is where most people grab breakfast on their way to work. It’s where you can grab some onigiri or a cheap oyakodon for lunch, or a pick-me-up coffee. And it’s where you can grab a salad, a beer, and a dessert that’s far better than it needs to be to treat yourself once the day is done. Beloved by tourists, a daily stop for locals—that’s the Japanese convenience store experience.

inKONBINI, which is developed and published by Tokyo-based independent game studio Nagai Industries, capitalizes on this worldwide idealization of the Japanese convenience store. The game also seems nostalgic—the layouts look familiar to the modern eye, but the designs and coloring all scream late ’80s/early ’90s. There’s a small handful of games that take place in Japan during this time period, Yakuza 0 being the most famous example. But inKONBINI will probably not involve street brawling, managing real estate, and dancing mini-games. Probably.

Instead, inKONBINI‘s Steam page specifically calls it “relaxing.” They’ve even worked to make the game’s audio an ASMR experience. inKONBINI will be narratively driven, with branching dialogue as you progress the story. You play as a college student helping out her aunt at the local store, which means you will also go through the traditional routines of a convenience store clerk and “restock products, make phone calls, scan goods, and checkout your customers.”

Following the release of the teaser, almost every post on social media mentioned the word “vibe.” Just one minute-long trailer illustrated that this game’s vibes are strong. It’s chill, it’s calming, it’s retro. The vibes are good. We want cozy.

Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until 2025 to play inKONBINI. But you can list it on Steam now, and the developers have also promised a Switch release. Until then, if you’re really desperate, you could try to get an actual job as a convenience store worker. Although the real thing is unfortunately significantly less cozy.

(Image credit: Nagai Industries)


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Author
Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.