World Premiere of 100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience at PAX Prime 2012

This movie was two years in the making and now it’s finally reaching its final stretch. 100 Yen: The Japanese Arcade Experience is a documentary that covers the evolution of the Japanese “game center” culture and how it is quite different than the arcade experience that most of us had growing up in North America.

Writer and director Brad Crawford unveiled the mostly finalized version of the film, hosting the world premiere at PAX Prime 2012 in Seattle and I had the privilege of attending. The documentary talks about everything from the “Invader Houses” of the 80s (and how it created a national shortage of 100 yen coins in Japan) to the rise of professional fighting game tournaments like EVO in Las Vegas. And did you know that there is an arcade bar and lounge in Las Vegas? It’s complete with real arcade cabinets that take quarters, plus cocktail waitresses to serve you drinks.

Crawford was able to secure some fantastic interviews with such notable gaming celebrities as Clover-TAC, Daigo Umehara, Justin Wong, Mike Ross, Brian Ashcraft, Aaron in Japan and more. I was blown away by some of the hardcore shooting game players (think Gradius taken to absolute extremes) and the DDR enthusiasts are always a joy.


Keep an eye on the film’s official page for updates. Crawford says that they’re still working out the logistics, but they’re shooting to have it digitally distributed through as many channels as possible. He mentioned Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes, for example. Here’s hoping that 100 Yen will be available for worldwide viewing in time for the holiday season. Watch the teaser trailer below, if you haven’t done so already. And yes, they are working a “special edition” that could include the soundtrack and full-length interviews too.

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