Japanese sit-down machines: 60 in 1

Contemporary Japanese arcade games

We have four Japanese gaming machines in our exhibition. In Japan these machines are still being played. The machines are made up out of generic outer casings made by Sega. They're not bound to one game, like a lot of the older American and European machines. Rather, you can load the casings with any game you please.


18-12-2010 Bezoekers spelen bij Arcade - Mediamatic served as Arcade arcade for almost 4 months. The collection of old and new games consisted of interactive installations, arcade video games, computer games and handhelds. Arcade is a growing collection of old and new games, consisting of 5 levels. The collection included two brand new games, which could be played at Mediamatic for the first time. There were vintage game consoles from Atari, Commodore and Sega, but also new consoles like the Xbox Kinect and Playstation 3, 3D. Mar-Ina Uhrig

The Japanese video arcade machines might look the same on the outside, but on the inside they all sport different games. The game is plugged into the machine through a universal portal called a JAMMA portal. At the time, developers made a deal so that any game could be hooked up to the casing. The JAMMA portal sends the information from the game to the screen, sound system and the controls. This is very different from in Europe, where most arcade machines host a single game.

The other difference between Japanese gaming culture and European/American culture, is the type of games played. In Europe and America the games are for amusement purposes only, but in Japan the arcade scene takes on cult-like proportions. There is for instance a fighting game scene and a shmup (shoot 'em up) scene, along with games that are just plain weird, like dating games, mahjong and soft erotic games.

In the exhibition we try to give you a general overview of what Japanese arcades are all about.