Replaying Japan 2014 Recap

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The Replaying Japan 2014: 2nd International Conference on Japan Game Studies took place at the University of Alberta, Edmonton from August 21st~23rd, and frankly, it was an insightful blast. In the above photo, I'm with the conference's first keynote speaker, Mr. Tomohiro Nihsikado, the original creator of Space Invaders. Back during the classic age of arcade games, game developers handled mostly everything by themselves--the asset creation, the programming (which was conducted in assembly, and according to Nishikado, had to be re-written from start to finish if there was a bug). The only thing Mr. Nishikado said he didn't make for Space Invaders was the iconic music. In terms of what he got for being one of the fathers of the classic arcade era of video games: a whole month's worth of pay as a bonus in the following month's paycheck.

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Above: Video game history: Nishikado's original sketchbook where he conceptualized the Space Invader aliens. He said he was inspired by the illustrations of the Martian invaders in H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, which he then converted to look like an octopus. After that, he designed the other aliens along the same maritime theme. When pixelated, the result is the aliens we know and love today.

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Perhaps one of my favorite pleasures in life is the North American-style breakfast. I can't tell you how many insightful conversations I've had with friends over just such a meal. On top of that, you just can't beat the flavor.

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During the lunch break of the second day, the conference organizers set up a game lounge which featured all kinds of games, from historical classic machines like Breakout to new student-made games.

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An original Breakout machine. This was an extremely hard game to play since the controller was just basically a very sensitive volume knob.

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The best thing about conferences--meeting new friends. The fact that this is the Game Studies field just amplifies the comeraderie, seriously. We are all passionate about games being far more than merely entertainment tools, we're all deep thinkers who are heavily entrenched in the publish or perish mentality, and we all love pizza.

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In summary, this is, to date, the best conference on Game Studies that I have ever attended. I got a lot of motivation from simply listening to and pondering the lectures and especially from trading new ideas and stories with new colleagues.

#conference #japangamestudies #gamestudiescurrently #trip

About the Author

PhD Candidate in Japan, researching Narrative in Games. Responds favorably to Thrash Metal, Karaoke, and Dungeons & Dragons.

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