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Monthly Archives: February 2011


When I was able to visit Japan for a short time, one thing that stuck out was just how much video games are a part of daily life in Japan. Video game stores every other block, all with huge displays selling the newest games; 6 story video game arcades taking up a quarter of a city block (which is a huge deal there, since there is such limited space); riding the trains, you will see one in every 10 people playing on a PSP or gameboy. It’s awesome for a game nerd like me. I spent more than a few hours exploring these huge arcades and checking out all the video game store. 100 Yen is an upcoming movie about arcades in Japan and just how video games are a part of life in Japan.

Quick summary of the movie. Looks cool, I look forward to seeing it.

100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience is an hour long documentary focusing on the thriving, exciting, vibrant world of the arcades in Japan.
IMAGINE a world where video games reign supreme. Five stories of arcade cabinets, new and old, dominate the streets of downtown Tokyo. Welcome to Japan. A place where the arcades of the 80s and 90s not only still exist, but thrive and have evolved into elaborate environments of pleasure for any gamer.

Our 8-bit childhood has come a long way. A complete sensory overload is brought on by the multitudes of arcade games, they call out to you as you wander the vast expanses of these game havens. What was once a table top amusement has become an escape from your mundane existence. If you have a couple hundred Yen in your pocket, be prepared for The Ultimate Arcade Experience™

Following gamers such as DAIGO UMEHARA (arguably the world’s best STREET FIGHTER player) and speaking with gaming aficionado BRIAN ASHCRAFT (author of the book Arcade Mania!) we will explore the world of Japanese Arcades from a North-American perspective and compare/contrast the current trends of East and West gaming cultures.

Other experts include: Satoshi Numata, a professor of video games at the Osaka Electronic University; Ryan “Gootecks” Guitierrez another professional gamer from the Street Fighter scene; Bear Trickey, a game designer for Q-Games based out of Japan; and of course, we will be speaking to as many Japanese people as possible!

The overall arc of the story is as follows: The History of Japanese Arcades: 1978 saw a shortage of 100 Yen coins caused by the game Space Invaders. It is from this tidbit that we derived the name of this documentary.

Who is the arcade: The people who make up the clientele of the arcades in Japan; Daigo Umehara’s rise to fame and other stories that emerge along the way.

The Future: How are arcades evolving and changing to keep up with the new technology and how are they able to compete with home consoles. What is the corporate perspective on arcades in Japan?