inKONBINI is a cute slice-of-life game set in a Japanese convenience store

Posted on April 2, 2024

inKONBINI looks like my favourite kind of slice-of-life experience. Set in a Japanese convenience store in a small town in 1993, it’s a choice-driven shop assistant simulator that has you stacking shelves and talking with customers, learning their stories and piecing together a larger narrative about the community.

We had the opportunity to see the game in action at a special ID@Xbox Digital Session, where we got to hear from the project director and Nagai Industries founder Dima Shen about the game and what we can expect.

The main protagonist is Makoto Hayawaka, a college student who takes a break from her studies to help her aunt behind the counter. inKONBINI is set over a week, where you’ll meet diverse characters and help them navigate their lives. The developers wanted to capture the joy in ordinary routine, so there will be simulation elements like stacking shelves and making trips to the store room, along with interacting with customers.

What’s immediately apparent from seeing inKONBINI in action is the satisfying rhythm of clearing and refilling shelves with stock. There’s a reason why there are so many seemingly wacky “simulator” games released featuring seemingly mundane tasks. Satisfying and replicating a realistic experience – without actually having to physically do it – working in a Japanese convenience store in this era looks to be an amusing, chill time.


The rest of the game will be spent talking with customers, which is really where the heart and soul of inKONBINI lies. The essence is said to be reflected in the traditional Japanese concept ichi-go ichi-e, which translates to “one time, one meeting”.  Every single moment in life is completely unique and should be cherished as one, which is a vibe that inKONBINI hopes to capture. Choices you make in these interactions will allow the community to change and evolve, so finding solutions for customers to deal with their problems could have ripple effects.

“Once you step into Makato’s shoes, you’ll start to recognise how some of your smallest and seemingly unimportant decisions are able to transform your customers’ lives,” said Shen. Due to the game not having any severe challenges and focused on meaningful stories, I’m curious to see how these narrative threads may untangle.

The nostalgiac touch comes from the Nagai Industries themselves, who are attempting to incorporate their childhood memories, as well as snippets from their favourite video games, movies and anime. As a 90s kid myself (albeit in Australia, not Japan), I’m excited to play this relaxed time capsule; a period of time where there were no smartphones or online shopping to interfere with the simple task of popping down to the shops to get groceries.


With some quirky stories to be told and interesting characters to meet, inKONBINI looks like a shelf-stacking good time and a convenience store that I can’t wait to visit.

inKONBINI is currently set for release Q1 2025.