Journal of the Japanese Association for Digital Humanities
Online ISSN : 2188-7276
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Special issue: Bringing Together Japan Game Studies and Digital Humanities
Showing 1-6 articles out of 6 articles from the selected issue
Special issue: Bringing Japan Game Studies and Digital Humanities
  • Jérémie Pelletier-Gagnon, Geoffrey Rockwell
    2019 Volume 4 Issue 1 Pages 1-4
    Published: August 30, 2019
    Released: August 29, 2019
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
  • Masayuki Uemura
    2019 Volume 4 Issue 1 Pages 5-6
    Published: August 30, 2019
    Released: August 29, 2019
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
  • James Newman
    2019 Volume 4 Issue 1 Pages 7-36
    Published: August 30, 2019
    Released: August 29, 2019
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    This article focuses on Nintendo’s influential and much-celebrated 1998 videogame The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (hereafter OoT). In particular, it explores the often unexpectedly creative and wholly transformative ways in the game is played by ‘speedrunners.’ Seeking to race through the game as quickly as possible, speedrunners play in a distinctive way that combines mastery of performance execution with a deep knowledge of the game’s operation and how its systems may be exploited. Speedrunning performances are creative because they involve astonishingly detailed investigations of the minutiae of game behaviors. They are transformative because they disrupt and even invert much-vaunted aspects of the game as sequences that slow down progress are circumvented. As such, what would otherwise class as crucial moments in the storyline, key character development and even locales, are not only raced through but are actively skipped. Compared with the game’s narrative, the connectivity of its spaces, and the complex but clearly mapped passage of time as set out in Nintendo’s officially-endorsed ‘Strategy Guides’ (see Buchanan et al 1998; Hollinger et al 1998; Loe and Guess 1998), the OoT speedrun constructs an altogether different game with vastly altered priorities. And so, the offer to, ‘Join legendary hero Link as he journeys across Hyrule, and even through time, to thwart the plans of Ganondorf.’ (Nintendo 2017), is recast as a breakneck dash to the closing credits sequence evading and avoiding all but the essential moments of gameplay.
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  • Tsugumi Okabe, Jérémie Pelletier-Gagnon
    2019 Volume 4 Issue 1 Pages 37-53
    Published: August 30, 2019
    Released: August 29, 2019
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    The genre of boys’ love (BL), which generally refers to a body of works that depict fictional relationships between beautiful “boys,” is produced for and consumed mainly by women in Japan. Ludic expressions of sexuality and gender unique to BL have gained popularity on a global scale but have also drawn negative attention. In this article, we employ the concept of asobigokoro (playful spirit/heart) to highlight the importance of regional ideas of play and playfulness in game analysis. We argue that asobigokoro functions as a kind of counter-discourse as it privileges non-Eurocentric ways of knowing, understanding, and “playing” with representations of sexuality. Game analysis through an asobigokoro lens enriches the field of regional gaming by drawing on Japanese sociopolitical contexts to situate a reading of Japanese ludic representations. Asobigokoro stresses the importance of understanding cultural variations of “play” and “playfulness” in order to make sense of “taboo” subjects in culturally nuanced ways. In our textual analysis of Enzai: Falsely Accused, we discover that the simultaneous appropriation and subversion of violent and sexually explicit content, which characterizes the game’s asobigokoro, can be traced to Japanese feminist forms of asobi (play), which are rooted within the Yaoi tradition.
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  • Domini Gee
    2019 Volume 4 Issue 1 Pages 54-71
    Published: August 30, 2019
    Released: August 29, 2019
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Attempts to preserve retro game elements or ‘the classic feeling’ through remixing retro elements with modern ones are not a new method. However, it is an effective preservation method. According to Newman, videogame preservation goes beyond simply preserving hardware. In order to deliver “authentic play (and aesthetic) experiences”, it also necessary to determine what are the most significant, qualitative aspects or properties that make a particular videogame what it is (Newman 2012, 122–23). Part of the success of classic characters like Mario is how often they are reused and reimagined (Suominen 2012, 8). Even if you have never played the original Mario games, you have still likely been exposed to the franchise’s most ‘basic’ elements through their various iterations. However, while the game industry typically aims for continual innovation and reinvention (Newman 2012, 9), the changing market and gaming landscape is allowing for alternative opportunities for remixing retro elements. One notable example includes Mega Man 9, which garnered praise for their gorgeous, realistic graphics. While all three games were made for modern consoles, Mega Man 9 was made in classic retro style, not only to return the series to its roots but also to give players a new story and “the classical feel” (Takeshita 2008). By studying the approaches developers have used, it is possible to study what ‘feeling’ they were attempting to preserve, what elements were considered most essential, how these elements were translated, and what new meanings occur.
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  • Geoffrey Rockwell, Keiji Amano
    2019 Volume 4 Issue 1 Pages 72-89
    Published: August 30, 2019
    Released: August 29, 2019
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    No discussion of play and leisure in Japan would be complete without acknowledging the place of pachinko, a game so popular that it dominates the leisure economy in a way no other medium does, not even videogames. Even in decline, pachinko generates more revenue in Japan than any other leisure pursuit and yet it is rarely discussed in game studies in the West or even in the Japanese literature around game culture. This is largely because of the gambling associated with pachinko and because it is unique to Japan – a national industry with no export potential. Pachinko is at the disreputable edge of gaming—economically, culturally, and mechanically. Above all, pachinko machines stand out as monstrous hybrids that combine the electro-mechanical apparatus of a pinball machine with the digital screen of a slot machine in a curious mixed interface that seems to be an anachronism of a pre-computing era. And that is what this paper is about – the hybrid interface of pachinko.
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