By Jo Kim
When I was in elementary school in South Korea (back in 2001), I was, too, a part of this “arcade gaming culture.” Though as not as intense as one portrayed in this movie, I too had my taste of arcade gaming. Every time I got out of school, I would rush to the nearest stationery store (or Moongoojeom in Korean), and insert my coin in to the gaming machine. Normally, I would play something like Tekken or FIFA. Normally, when I played a game, other kids would surround around me just to watch me play games, and at times, other kids would join in the game from the other side to play against me.
Like portrayed in the movie, the Arcade Gaming Culture seems to be more group-oriented (or social) than the modern gaming culture, which revolves around computer gaming/console gaming.
This is not to say that modern gaming culture is not social. There are PC cafes and console cafes where people gather around to play their favorite games on the PC or game systems (shown below [an internet cafe]).
As seen by comparing the above photos, you can see that the modern gaming culture relies less on group communication and focuses on the individual’s game play experience. Because of this, there is less pressure playing games in the modern gaming culture than there was in the arcade gaming culture. In the movie, Steve was constantly pressured under the viewing eyes when competing for the Donkey Kong title. However, nowadays, unlike in the movie, one does not have to make oneself vulnerable to such causes by playing at home (online tournaments). There are times in the modern gaming culture where one has to play in front of large audiences (offline tournaments), but these are limited to the select few only.
In conclusion, the modern gaming culture has shifted away from the arcade gaming culture’s group-oriented way of gaming to more of an individual-based way of gaming. I personally favor this change, as I am more comfortable in a such setting than I am in front of a mass group. What about you guys? Which type of gaming culture do you prefer?