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How the Japanese Video Game Industry Found, Lost, and Rediscovered Its Way

Time & Location

July 28, 7pm EDT


Super Mario, Pac-Man, Sonic, Final Fantasy, Street Fighter, and Metroid. If you have ever played a video game, chances are you have probably heard of some of these titles. Perhaps these titles might even evoke fond, nostalgic memories of childhood to some players who grew up with them. While many of these Japanese games are widely recognized, loved, and still played by many fans worldwide today, players might not realize just how integral these games were in popularizing the videogame culture in the West, and influencing both the growth and course of the global videogames industry.

For our first episode focusing on the topic of videogames, we will be joined by Chris Kohler and Mia Consalvo, who will be taking us on a historical journey with their presentations; delving deep into the history of the Japanese videogames industry, specifically focusing on events which kickstarted this global phenomenon, along with some of the issues which caused it to lose its way and fall behind its western counterpart in the 2000s.

Rachael Hutchinson will moderate our discussion following the presentations, continuing the narrative of how the Japanese games industry recovered and rediscovered its position in the global landscape, once again becoming an influential powerhouse in the international games market from the mid-2010s.

The discussion will be followed by a live Q&A. If you have any questions about your favorite Japanese videogames, now is your chance to ask the experts! Please ask your question when you register for the event via Eventbrite. Live commentary will also be enabled on the YouTube stream, so you can participate in the Q&A session on-air as well.

This event is free. Registrants will receive the link to the stream via email.



Chris Kohler is a professional game developer, author, podcast host, and a former veteran journalist with an extensive background in videogame history. Since the late 1990s, he has been an active writer about videogames, authoring his first book Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life (2004) after receiving a Fulbright fellowship to Kyoto. Kohler has also worked as an editor at prominent gaming/tech journalism websites such as WIRED and Kotaku; his latest book, Final Fantasy V (2017), explores the development journey of a single Japanese role-playing game. He currently resides in California, and is the Editorial Director at game studio Digital Eclipse.
> Official website

Dr. Mia Consalvo is a professor and Canada Research Chair in Game Studies and Design at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. She is also the author of Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Videogames (2007) and Atari to Zelda: Japan’s Videogames in Global Context (2016). She has also co-authored and co-edited various books about videogames as well. Dr. Consalvo also runs mLab, a space dedicated to developing innovative methods for studying games and their players. She is a member of the Centre for Technoculture, Art & Games (TAG), and her works have been regularly presented at both industry and academic conferences such as the Game Developers Conference.
> Official website

Dr. Rachael Hutchinson is a Professor in Japanese Studies at the University of Delaware. She is the author of Nagai Kafū’s Occidentalism: Defining the Japanese Self (2011) and Japanese Culture Through Videogames (2019), which was nominated for the John Whitney Hall Book Prize at the Association of Asian Studies, and has co-edited publications focusing on the representations of Japanese identity. She has published essays in journals such as Japan Forum, Monumenta Nipponica, Japanese Studies, and Games and Culture, contributing various chapters to books on Japanese games, manga, literature and film. She is currently working on an edited volume on the Japanese role-playing game genre, the JRPG.
> Official website

Previous Sessions

EP1: Roundtable: Why Do We Study Anime and Manga?
EP2: Through a Glass Darkly: Identity Crises in Ghost in the Shell and Neon Genesis Evangelion
EP3: The Power of Music in Anime
EP4: Satoshi Kon: Tracing the Legacy of an Anime Giant
EP5: Sailor Moon: How These Magical Girls Transformed Our World
EP6: Anime Takes the Stage: The Rise of 2.5-Dimensional Musicals and Beyond
EP7: Hayao Miyazaki: Children Entrusted with Hope
EP8: Exporting Studio Ghibli: The Road to Worldwide Recognition

Watch all the episodes on YouTube.

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