This week’s screening was Hi Score Girl which is a Japanese Anime series which was released in 2019 and was based off the Japanese Manga Hi Score Girl. I had very little expectations because I absolutely hate cartoon-like animated films because I feel as though I’m unable to directly connect with a character that isn’t a ‘real person’. I surprisingly enjoyed watching the first six episodes and noticed almost instantly a clear distinction between cartoons and anime. While my only issue was the storyline being slow and dragged on much more than it need, I did have a genuine interest in the games that were featured in each episode (especially street fighter).
Gaming was of course at the heart of each episode and featured various different types and styles of games. I wanted to further explore the popularity of games in Japan and its culture.
The Japanese gaming industry was reported to have generated $12.5 billion in 2017 according to a study by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency in 2018. With Japan being home to Nintendo Co. Ltd., Square Enix, Sega Sammy Holdings, Bandai Namco Holdings, and Konami (Japan-zone.com, n.d) there is no doubt that the gaming culture in Japan is huge. Some of the most popular video games in the world to this day emerged from Japan. These game titles include Super Mario Bros, Space Invaders, PacMan, Pokemon, Legend of Zelda, Street Fighter, Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy and Resident Evil (Day Translations, 2019). Arcade gaming in particular is considered to be a major influence amongst the younger Japanese generations. This can be reflected back onto the episodes of Hi Score Girl where the arcades were often filled with Primary to High School Students. While you may think that there has been a decline in arcade systems in Japan they continue to flourish to this day. In comparison to American arcades, Japanese arcades continue to evolve innovating to stay relevant. Whilst researching into Japanese arcade systems I read an blog post by Yuna Tataka who wrote about ‘Understanding The Gaming Culture In Japan’ who mentioned that the consistent popularity of arcade gaming systems stem from it being ‘a form of gambling’ (2018). I remember throughout each episode the constant motif of coins going into the games and upon further research one game or package would cost approximately 100-500 yen ($1.30-$6.46) depending on the game.
Personally, i’d love to see how relevant arcades will be in the next 10-15 years and how they will be able to innovate to stay relevant when the mobile gaming industry and console gaming industry is booming at the moment.
Rvo.nl. 2018. Game Industry Japan. [online] Available at: <https://www.rvo.nl/sites/default/files/2018/02/factsheet-game-industry-japan.pdf>
Tanaka, Y., 2018. Japan And Arcades: Why Arcades Are Thriving In Japan. [online] Expat Bets. Available at: <https://www.expatbets.com/japan/understanding-the-arcade-culture-in-japan/>
Japan-zone.com. n.d. Japan Zone – Japan And Computer Games. [online] Available at: <https://www.japan-zone.com/modern/game_developers.shtml>
Day Translations Blog. 2019. 5 Ways The Japanese Gaming Industry Impacted The World. [online] Available at: <https://www.daytranslations.com/blog/japanese-gaming-industry/>