“100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience” (2012 Canadian documentary) review

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Intro

As a member of the fighting game community (FGC), I felt obligated to watch this documentary about something that is dear to my heart, and that is video games, arcades, fighting games, interactive games, and good competition. I also watched it to see how the Japanese arcade scene is different from our domestic scene.

Plot

This follows the growth of the arcade scene primarily in Japan where it is not just a place to play video games, but also a place of social gathering as housing in Tokyo is often limited due to space. It focuses on the three stages of arcade growth: shooters, fighting games, and interactive games.

We also see the decline in the arcade culture somewhat in Japan but mostly in the United States due to consoles with great online accessibility, no new innovations, and handheld systems.

Another thing we see is what the arcade has brought us to such as the ability to make a living playing video games in tournaments such as Evolution Championship Series and making brand new friends through interaction and competition.

Good

As someone who has grown up in the arcade scene, I felt like it was sort of a trip down memory lane even though I didn’t grow up in the Japanese scene.  I did felt the lack of an arcade presence as I got older as someone who often places the interactive and fighting games.

Bad

I was saddened that other types of arcades weren’t mentioned like Dave and Busters in the American scene. I was saddened that they didn’t bring up the topic of those interactive gun games like “Time Crisis”, “House of the Dead”, and “Area 51”. Those games have also made a huge difference in various arcades. Other games that have made a difference were games such as air hockey, billiards, and ticket games.

Overview

I appreciated the focus on the topic that many of us have grown up with. We all have gone through our childhood wanting to play games at the arcade and hanging out with friends. It was like a trip through memory lane.

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Reviewed by: Mr. Timtastic

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