The jGames Initiative looks back on a good start and has been growing steadily in 2015. We have started to unbox the CERO game donation and have posted the first blog posts about the process and – most importantly – the games on the 1box/week blog. Other new projects include the international conference Replaying Japan 2016 and Gaming Japanese work group.

Most importantly, we have attracted Martin Picard to join us in Leipzig. An expert on Japanese video games and the media mix, Martin joins the Japanese Studies program and together we hope to start exciting new projects and consolidate the jGames initiative further. Welcome Martin!

From jGames to [j]Games

With the intent of setting a direction for the initiative in 2016, we are putting the “j” in jGames into brackets. This does not mean that our focus on “Japanese videogames” has changed. Rather, we feel the need to make our perspective on the attribute “Japanese” as a contested and conflict-ladden category explicit. As much as we acknowledge the importance of understanding Japanese games through their local history, contexts, structures, and genres (see Picard [2013] and Hichibe [2010] for great work on these issues), we are likewise aware of the problematic political implications and use of the label “Japanese” in Japan and elsewhere. On top of that, we see that the increasingly transnational character of game development is, as Wolf (2015) remarks in his introduction to Videogames around the world, gradually eroding the idea of a “national” industry. So rather than taking the “j” for granted, we aim to pay attention to its problematic and disputed nature in our research. At the same time, the bracket is intended to signal our commitment to connect with colleages working on “non-Japanese” games.

We look forward to the coming months. With warm wishes for 2016!

Martin & Martin

 

Sources

Hichibe, Nobushige. “Gēmugyōkai Ni Hirogaru Indipendento No Nagare.” In Dejitaru Gēmu No Kyōkasho, 289–308. Tokyo: Softbank Creative, 2010.
Picard, Martin. “The Foundation of Geemu: A Brief History of Early Japanese Video Games.” Game Studies 13, no. 2 (December 2013). http://gamestudies.org/1302/articles/picard.
Wolf, Mark J. P. “Introduction.” In Videogames around the World, edited by Mark Wolf, 1–16. Cambridge (Mass): MIT Press, 2015.