Gamer Cinema: 100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience
To say American arcades are completely dead is far-fetched, but whereas they used to virtually litter the landscape, nowadays you have to go a little out of your way to find one. After all, why waste possibly hundreds of dollars when you can get a similar if not superior experience at home with a one time fee and the you get to keep it forever? And that's of course just console experiences, there's also the portable stuff (phones, tablets, gaming systems) that fits right in your pocket/bag.
100 Yen is a crowd-funded documentary that takes a pretty brief look (it only runs a little over an hour) at the evolution of the Japanese arcade scene from it's huge beginnings and the trends to what they are like today and what challenges they face. From shooters to fighters to dancing games to the UFO catchers and horse racing of today (yes for some reason, horse racing games are freaking
And that's really the issue. I get that it's a documentary on a limited budget, but it just glosses over nearly everything so quickly when each topic has enough material for a documentary all on it's own. Maybe they should've gone with an episodic series, each covering specific era? Because as is it only serves as a very brief cliff notes version about the history of the Japanese arcade scene and the challenges it faces today. And yet it feels a little padded on, with weird detours in to the present American arcade scene (I guess for comparison but not really necessary since the subject matter isn't about that) and the Evo championship which is a fighting game tournament which is has some loose ties to the arcade scene but again not necessary and feels out of place in a documentary that is supposed to be focusing on the history of arcades in Japan. It's not bad if you just want a brief idea of the arcade scene in Japan, but frankly I was hoping for something meatier with more detail.
That's all for today, I should have another post up tomorrow or Wednesday.