You know how arcades died off in the US at some point in the 90s? And I’m talking arcade arcades and not the corner of the local movie theater, laundromat or pizzeria.
As the newly-released documentary 100 YEN: The Japanese Arcade Experience explains, that didn’t happen over in Japan. Quite the opposite.
I had the chance to check out 100 Yen during a screening at Insert Coin(s) (as IC owner Chris LaPorte was Executive Producer of the film and appears in the documentary during the club’s earliest stages) last year and really enjoyed it.
100 Yen explores the factors that led to arcades instead thriving on the other side of the Pacific, going over their history, from their genesis in the 1970s to the mega-arcade clubs that exist to this day to the potential for an arcade revival in the US.
The big three of arcades – fighting games, shooting games and rhythm games – get their time in the spotlight and they take time to interview industry pros, designers and gamers – including familiar names like Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft and fighting game icons Daigo Umehara and Justin Wong.
Some of the history presented might be “common” knowledge to the most seasoned of gamers, but if you’re interested in Japanese arcade culture, enjoy stuff like Evo or just want to ponder what could have been, you’ll have fun watching this one.
100 Yen on DVD: http://100-yen-film.myshopify.com/products/100-yen-the-dvd