Audience Formation/Game Center Representation in 1978

game_center_arashi_manga_vol_1_reprint

I finally came across some volumes of the original tankôbon of the celebrated series Game Center Arashi the other day. The series, which ran from 1978 (right during the time of the Invader House boom) to the mid eighties, was serialized in Shogakukan’s Coro Coro Comic and further published in 17 independent volumes. The series has since been reedited in various shortened formats retaining only the best chapters. Interestingly, Coro Coro Comic, which was first published in 1977, was a monthly magazine that originally focused on Doraemon manga and its media mix embodiment, which explains why some many of copyrighted characters from that universe appear in the comic.

Mitsuru Sugaya’s story depicts the adventures of Arashi Ishino, a young boy whose entire life revolves around video games and, at least according to the earlier chapters, Space Invaders in particular. Besides the standard shônen manga-inspired storylines and tropes, one page stood up as an interesting addition to the first volume.

IMG_1786

Sorry for the crudeness of the picture

At the end of chapter 2, the author (presumably) chose to write up a little introduction about the best method to achieve a high score at Space Invaders. This is a step by step process indicating the order of the shots, the shot-counting technique (shooting down the UFO gives more points a the 23rd shot) and even the famous Nagoya-uchi technique. As a paratext, this manga provides both the imagination (the storyline) and the means (guide) to immerse oneself into video game culture. Presumably, game center culture was more geared towards young adults in the 1970s (children are rarely seen in pictures of that time period), but one could wonder if manga could have been instrumental in translating the Invader Boom phenomenon into an accessible language for a younger generation.

I suppose the main question here is to determine the extent to which the representation of game centers, and game center culture, in other media can be repurposed to retroactively read spaces and practices. A comparative analysis of the treatment of space in Game Center Arashi and No Kon Kiddo, for example, would probably yield interesting discussions.

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