So as I am studying abroad in Singapore, I had the unexpected privilege of attending the Anime Festival Asia convention this year. I say “unexpected” because I have never been to any anime conventions before and the thought of going to one never really crossed my mind. I could never attend any conventions back in the United States because they are all so far away from where I live that I almost practically gave up. Even then, I was only interested in attending one out of the three days the convention was open. I was never the kind of otaku that buys an excessive amount of pointless merchandise just because some random anime looks cool on the surface and am still not today; even the cost of just attending some conventions can be a financial obstacle at times. In this post, I will be recounting my day at the convention and concert on Friday, 8 November, 2013, and giving my impressions on the events that day.
Remember when I said in my previous post on the topic that I would still recommend going to arcades in Singapore as a “Japan away from Japan”? Well, I actually want to take that entire last paragraph back (except for the part where I said that I would rather live in Japan than in Singapore for the reasons I described). Certainly, there are many aspects of Japanese culture that can be found in Singapore, but there are many things that are lacking due to Singapore being a diverse society. For now, I would like to go more in-depth this time on rhythm games, the type of games in which I specialize in and play the most, particularly the series of BEMANI games developed by Konami. As I am in Singapore, though, there is a lot of variety when it comes to the different types of rhythm games by many developers that can be found, although I have many criticisms of all of these games, but that’s something I talk about for another time. This diversity, however, comes at the expense of continued support for each individual game, and Singapore currently seems to be unable to sustain both the quantity and quality of arcade games that the fans demand.
“Plant an idea into another person’s head.”
That is my conceptual art, because really, isn’t that what art is essentially all about?
[For more information on conceptual art, I recommend reading Sol LeWitt's Sentences on Conceptual Art.]
For those who have not heard the news yet, for my junior (third) year of college, I am studying abroad at the National University of Singapore, which seems unusual at first for someone who is studying Japanese culture. As my love for video game studies continues to grow, I realize that the scope of my understanding of video game culture cannot be restricted to within the United States and Japan. Japan also has a strong cultural presence in Singapore and I thought it would be interesting to see Japan’s worldwide influence and its role in a society as multicultural and complex as Singapore’s. So now that I am staying in a new country for a much longer period of time, I am back to writing on this site again to talk about my experience here.
For my first post on Singapore, I obviously want to write about my experience with the arcades in Singapore so far. In the two weeks I had before classes start, visiting many of the arcades in the area has been an adventure in itself. If I could make a one-sentence summary of what arcades are like in Singapore, I would describe them like this: compared to most arcades in America, arcades in Singapore are amazing, but compared to arcades in Japan, arcades in Singapore are horrible. Although after having experienced just how awesome Japanese arcades are, any arcade that is not up to that standard just feels downright horrible.
100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience (directed by Brad Crawford) is an independent documentary that provides an overview of the history of Japanese arcades as well as a glimpse of the resurgence of arcades in the United States long after the golden era of arcades. The documentary can be viewed as a film adaptation of the book Arcade Mania: The Turbo-Charged World of Japan’s Game Centers, albeit only the chapters devoted to video games are included. Understandably, there is a lot of hype surrounding the film, even though the 25 Canadian dollar price (and six dollars shipping in the United States) for the first public DVD release of the film is a pretty ridiculous price (or even for any DVD in general). To add insult to injury, the documentary was also disappointing the first time I watched it as it only scratches the surface of what it is like to be inside one of those arcades. This is nevertheless a great film for someone who is new to the arcade scene and wants some background information on the arcade culture in Japan, but as a source of information into the history of the Japanese arcade culture, the film is by no means exhaustive and, as the film is only a little over an hour, is in fact not even thorough in covering what Japanese arcades have to offer, even if it is in a biased manner.
Posted in Films, Reviews
Tagged 100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience, Amusement arcade, Arcade game, Coin-Op, Dance Dance Revolution, Documentary film, DrumMania, DVD, Games, Japan, Street Fighter, United States, video games