Play, Communication, and Media in Japanese Videogame Arcades

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February 1 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm EST

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Lecture on Japanese videogame arcades at the Japan Foundation, Toronto on February 1, 2024.

How have videogame arcades maintained their social and economic relevance in Japan? How did arcade videogames influence play practices in North America, and how are they distinct from them?

Japanese videogame arcades, commonly called game centers, have been a mainstay of the Japanese urban entertainment scene since the release of Space Invaders in the late 1970s. They introduced culturally significant games such as Pacman, Street Fighter II, and Dance Dance Revolution, which have had a lasting impact on arcade and videogame culture throughout the world. This presentation will provide an overview of the evolution of videogame arcades in Japan, examining their social functions as alternative sites of interpersonal communication and as urban hubs embodying the interconnectivity of the videogame, anime, and manga industries within Japan’s media environment.

Jérémie Pelletier-Gagnon is an assistant professor in the Pôle d’études et de recherches en cultures numériques at the Université de l’Ontario français in Toronto, where he teaches both theoretical and practical approaches to the social issues raised by digital media. His work focuses on the study of videogames from a cultural, transnational and spatial perspective, mainly through the study of Japanese videogames. He is also interested in the analysis of textual data and the study of artificial intelligence in the context of videogames. He is the author of Space and Play in Japanese Videogame Arcades (forthcoming 2024) and co-editor of the anthology Japanese Role-Playing Games: Genre, Representation and Liminality in the JRPG (Lexington, 2022).



February 1 @ 6:30 pm
February 1 @ 7:30 pm
Doors Open:
6:00 PM
Event Category:


The Japan Foundation, Toronto
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The Japan Foundation, Toronto
2 Bloor St. East, 3rd Floor
Toronto, ON M4W 1A8 Canada
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