100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience

Synopsis: "100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience" is a historical documentary about the evolution of arcades and the culture surrounding it - from the birth of arcades to the game centers that still thrive today. Featuring: Taito Inc., Daigo Umehara, Clover-TAC, Brian Ashcraft, Aaron in Japan, Sega Corp., Justin Wong, Chris Laporte and Many More...
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Brad Crawford
Production: FilmBuff
68 min


Taito was founded 60 years ago.

We started as an import goods company.

We would bring in items from

overseas like Pinball Games.

Our president then decided that arcades

seemed to be working well in America,

and that they would suit

Japan equally well.

We created our first arcade store

and it was a success.

That made us say, why don't we

start making our own games?


Space Invaders was born.

The programmer and Director

of the game was Nishikado.

In a standard arcade there

were Space Invader cabinets

and various other games,

usually around fifty

to one hundred games

throughout the arcade.

but customers really only

wanted to play Space Invaders

and the other games

were only taking up space

so we decided to make arcades

with only Space Invader cabinets

these became known as Invader Houses.

it turned out to be a great idea.

A game of Space Invaders cost

a single 100 yen coin per play

and customers would pump

their coins into the machines

spending hundreds of coins

per person, every day.

It became such an epidemic that Japan

actually ran out of 100 yen coins.

Historical records show that

while the banks did their best to keep up

they couldn't print coins fast enough

causing this incredible shortage.

Of course shooting games

are my first love.

Instead of a human

running around with a gun,

we have these futuristic

space ships shooting aliens.

That idea alone was so new

and such a romantic concept.

Of course Space Invaders is one of

the most recognized Japanese games.

but when you mention the word game

to someone who grew up at the time,

they immediately think of a space ship

moving across the x and y axis'

and shooting bullets.

Hi, I'm the owner of Game-Inn Ebisen.

Ebihara-san aka The Shrimp Boss.

This isn't your standard

Japanese Arcade,

we don't have modern

mainstream games,

it's more of a retro arcade

we focus more on the retro games.

I also provide a service

where you choose the game

you would like to play

and i'll swap it out in the machine.

At my arcade, vertical and

side scrolling shooting games

are the most popular, other than those...

maybe just Tetris.

Basically the people who play here,

I'd say about 90 percent...

90 percent of my customers

are hardcore...

Hardcore gamers.

My alias is Clover-TAC

I pretty much just play

shooting games.

The idea behind shooting games,

which of course was born

from Space Invaders,

are based on a concept

that is easy to understand

anyone who is watching can see

you shoot bullets to hit your enemies

and then at the same time

if you are hit by a bullet

you explode, ending the game.

These rules haven't changed

since shooting games' inception.

It is these simple rules

and ease of comprehension

that have kept these games popular

for so many years.

'That's good enough'

doesn't exist in these guys' vocabulary

down to the last detail,

they keep fighting.

Of course I feel a lot

of pressure to succeed

but once the game starts

the nerves disappear.

Not only that

but you can only reach your

peak performance from experience,

it's similar to a test you've

been studying for in school

you can't suddenly start playing

these games and be amazing.

It just won't happen like that,

you need to work up your skill level

to become good at these games.

Lately, you know...

How do you say...

the best shooting game players

don't necessarily have

insane reactionary reflexes

instead it's more about

logical thinking and strategy

that's more the norm now,

more the focus.

Find your strategy and

keep building and

building and building on that foundation.

After all that, you can't just wait

for a perfect score to arrive

you have to want it

and push for it to happen.

It is this type of mindset

that these players all maintain

especially someone like Clover-TAC.

Of course...

Of course I remember the first time

Clover-TAC came to Ebi-sen.

Naru-kun, a top player...

A really good shooting game player

who frequents this arcade...

He was the one who

brought Clover-TAC along

and right from the beginning

I could see...

this guy was really good.

Ahh... this guy... there's

something different about this guy.

I believe the first time that I had

one of my high scores published

was a score from a game

called ESP Ra. De.

My scores now, at least compared

to my first published high score,

while I've gotten much higher scores since,

that first published score is the one

that i'm the most proud of.

The one that I remember the most fondly.

Most recently my best score

is from the game "Akai Katana"

about 430,000,000 points.

When thinking about arcade games

and their design

you must consider that you

put in your 100 yen coin

the game begins and

the arcade gets its profit.

So the user is paying for

a chance to enjoy a game.

Paying for time.

They get X amount of gameplay minutes.

So with that in mind, one game

should be able to be completed

within about 30 minutes.

One other thing is, for the person

who deposited their 100 yen coin

in simple terms, there needs

to be some kind of satisfaction

within the first one to

three minutes of gameplay.

For this reason, RPG style

adventure games with long stories

where you work towards

getting to the final boss

and numerous events take place in between,

this style of game just doesn't work,

it's N.G. (no good).

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Bryan Verot

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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